If you're an orderly type of person, visit Montalcino in March when vineyards look all spick and span, because not just winter but also the pruning of the vines has come to an end.
But it won't last. Give Vitis Vinifera a few weeks and she'll be all over the place again, helter skelter together with the rest of Tuscany's nature, which goes berserk in April and May.
GOOD TO KNOW
Properly opened up with Benvenuto Brunello in February, wine fair season is in full swing in March and your most admired vintners may happen to be in Toronto or Duesseldorf, whilst you've finally made it to Montalcino to meet them in person. To avoid closed doors check the dates of ProWein in Germany and the ones of the Brunello tasting the Consorzio organizes in Canada on Montalcino's vintner's association's website. Or just book your winery visit well in advance, so as to know whether the vigneron will be home.
To match the March temperatures pack warm socks, your UGG boots and a swimsuit; March in Tuscany is a bit like April in Northern Europe.
The second half of March is also a great time in Tuscany for terroirists (the lovely type of people who prefer terroir to terror). If you want to see for yourself what a difference a tiny patch of land makes, go for a drive and check out the terroir of Brunello vineyards on different height and with different exposition, e.g. to the north of Montalcino and to the south-west of Sant'Angelo in Colle. You don't need to be a specialist to note the distinction. Have a look at the Palazzone winery's photos of the 2014 bud break in their three differently positioned Brunello vineyards to understand what I mean.
ALL PHOTOS © Raffaella Cova, cook and caterer in Montalcino. For more information about Raffaella's work check out her Cooking Lessons in Montalcino and Val d'Orcia website.