Elisabetta Fagiuoli from the winery Montenidoli is what Italians call “una forza della natura (a force of nature).” She is a strong, vibrant and amazing woman who I got to see at both Slow Wine and Tre Bicchieri in February. The Vernaccia di San Gimingnano that they make and that is in the photo above is delicious, vibrant and nervy filled with minerality, a note of sapidity and of course, a bitter almond finish characteristic of the variety. This wine spends time on its lees and those aromas and flavors are evident in the glass. Montenidoli however is more than a winery but also a foundation and a place of respite. The foundation, named after Elisabetta’s late partner Sergio, the Patriach as he was known, is dedicated to helping others. According to the website, they offer the following,”We want to host, free of charge, elderly people in need of rest and love, for their well-being in the fields and the woods. We want to invite youngsters in search of their identity, so that they can find themselves and grow through the message of nature. They will be our guests for a month in original country houses, in the middle of vineyards, olive trees and woods, on the hill overlooking San Gimignano, in the heart of Tuscany. During their stay they will learn our way of life and our daily work, and they will find themselves part of the big family that lives and works at Montenidoli. They will have the chance to meet all the friends of Montenidoli: geologists, biologists, agronomists, vine growers, wine personalities.”
I loved meeting her, albeit briefly, and hope to spend more time with her at another moment. She raised, together with Sergio, nine children on their land along with their vines, hopes and dreams. Amazing stuff is happening in San Gimignano, a beautiful medieval town that had its heyday in the 12th-13th centuries. Tuscany never ceases to create awe, both for its landscapes and the people living there.