While you might typically reach for a red wine to pair with pizza, this white wine from the famed Italian female winemaker is a stellar alternative.
Elisabetta Fagiuoli and Sergio Muratori settled in the hills of San Gimignano, Italy in 1965 and started Montenidoli, on an abandoned estate that dated back to Roman times. They nourished it back to life and turned it into a 200 hectare organic farm and preserved it's very unique terroir. In the highest vineyards, there are terra rossa soils and some of the oldest Triassic soils in the country.
On the sloping hillsides, you find limestone, seashells, and marine sediments. It is here that the Vernaccia grapes are grown used to make this aged Il Templare white wine blend. Refined for 12 months in French barriques and 12 months in glass lined cement vats, it is then aged in the bottle.
In memory of the Templar Knights, who lived at Montenidoli. We vinify it in wood, as they did, with the three whites: Vernaccia, Trebbiano and Malvasia. A rich wine that refines in the bottle for a long time.Montenidoli Winery
Montenidoli means "mountain of little nests," and this white wine pays homage to the Knights that once lived at the vineyard site. The same place where grapes were grown for Holy Mass by the Knights Templar. According to the Rule of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the monks and Order of the Knights Templar were to "drink wine according to necessity to defeat the cold." The coldness could have come from coldness of the body, heart, or spirit.
Even if you didn't know anything about the winery, just tasting you can tell there is something so special about it. It didn't look or taste like any wine I've had before, and I really did think this is wine that Jesus might drink. Not too tannic, heavy, or acidic but still luxurious, like liquid gold.
I thought it would pair nicely with a wood fired pizza. Although a white wine, it could hold up to tomato sauce, cheese, and meat toppings. To round out the meal, I also pulled out a green salad with blackberry dressing and chickpea salad.
2013 Montenidoli Il Templare Toscana Bianca
80% Vernaccia, 15% Trebbiano Gentile, 5% Malvasia Bianca; strictly organic farming; $30
Visual: solid gold! almost like an orange wine, swirls thick and luscious
Aroma: caramelized brown sugar, juicy Bartlett pears, white nectarines, toasted almonds, sliced cucumbers
Taste: almost like a chilled red wine with a thick, velvet cushion; smooth, rounded finish; green pippin apples, meyer lemon, white pepper. I can see the age in the muted acid, really interesting, not strong, pungent or acidic at all.
Pairing: A white wine that pairs with rich pizza! The wine really perked up with the mushroom and olive toppings and rounded off the oiliness of the sausage bits and pepperoni. Held up nicely with the blackberry dressing and became a little more tart and peppery with the salad greens.
The winery recommends pairing with mushrooms, truffles, foie gras, or cheese after red wines.
As an organic practicing winery, Montenidoli is recognized in the 2022 Slow Wine Guide, available for purchase now.
Find more Slow Wine and Slow Food pairings from:
- Jennifer shares “Slow Wine and Food of Madrevite” on Vino Travels .
- Deanna delights with "Montenidoli Il Templare White Wine + Wood Fired Pizza" on Wineivore
- Camilla offers "Buono, Pulito, e Giusto: Lemon-Stuffed Chicken, Preserved Lemons, and an Umbrian Chardonnay" at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
- Nicole has "Old World/ New World Malvasia" on Somm's Table.
- Wendy does "Spezzatino d'agnello and a G.D. Vajra Albe" for A Day in the Life on the Farm/
- Terri pairs "Grassfed Meatballs and Caiarossa Toscana" on Our Good Life.
- On Wine Predator, we argue that "Organic Famiglia Febo Deserves to be in Slow Wine Guide Italy"
Jen Martin says
I met Elisabetta years ago when she visited the area. I loved her passion for her wines!
Terri Steffes says
This sounds amazing. The wood fired pizza and the wine together (chef's kiss!)
gwendolyn alley says
A 2013! I could see with some age this wine would work with these flavors. Thank you for the details on the winery and so cool that you found a 2022 Slow Wine Guide wine.
Nicole Ruiz Hudson says
That wine really does sound fascinating. And it's so interesting to read about its connection to the Knights Templar.
Wendy Klik says
You make this wine sound so wonderfully appetizing. I need to find a bottle.