On Wednesday night, we just wanted to chill out a bit. So we followed a local’s recommendation and drove up the nearby hill into Radicondoli, where we ordered some pizza at La Pergola, on Via Garibaldi. It’s a small, casual kind if hangout, with a back deck covered in a pergola, overlooking the hillsides from the edge of the hilltop. By eight o’clock, the place was filled and buzzing with a mix of locals and tourists. A bottle of Moris Farms Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2004 went down nice and easy, if a touch weedy, while our truffle tagliatelle hit the spot. If you want a cool, casual place, La Pergola is a nice spot.
We spent Thursday in Siena, a town that I much preferred to Florence, as it seems to have been able to absorb the tourist presence without being overwhelmed by it. Bakery and butcher shops are still present (along with the occasional Furla store) and you get the distinct sense that it’s a living, breathing city on its own. The duomo in Siena, with its intricate marble flooring and a quartet of sublime Bernini statues was a serious notch up from the duomo in Florence, for me at least. So was lunch at Osteria Le Logge, on the Via del Porrione, easily the best restaurant meal so far on this trip. The dining room is a small jewel box of a room, with glass and wood cabinets that showcase an elegant arrangement of wine bottles, books and other curio items. It had the feel of a private library without being dark or stuffy.
We sat at a table that edged out onto a narrow, winding street lined with medieval brick buildings highlighted by rustic wooden window shutters. I was really getting into the pace of things, despite my youngest daughter’s best attempt to go for all-time one-day whining record. I was dining on a plate of beef cheek with Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1997—the first (and so far only) blow away wine of the trip. Its aromas and flavors just poured out from the glass. The wine had graphite, incense, raspberry ganache and a blazing minerality that stretched out the finish endlessly. It had that great artisan feel to it, along with a torrent of superripe fruit. And at 110 euros (about $150 U.S.) for the bottle, it cost less than it would at retail back home. It went way too fast, of course, so we ordered a Bibi Graetz Toscana Testamatta 2001, a wine I had tried with James Suckling a few nights before (in the ’04 vintage). I was curious to see what an older vintage was like, and I really liked how it kept its fresh fruit but also put on some tarry grip. Osteria Le Logge’s wine list was also easily the best we’d seen on the trip so far, loaded with Super Tuscans, Brunellos, Chiantis and Piedmont wines, along with some Burgundies and Rhônes. If you’re in Siena, don’t miss out on having a meal here.
|Some Bernini statues are among the many highlights in Siena’s gorgeous duomo.|