When thinking of Italy, I think of great food, great wine and great hospitality! Living in Georgia for more than 14 years, I can honestly say you think of all that and more, (although maybe with a little more barbecue and whiskey!) However, this past weekend my boyfriend and I took a mini road trip to the countryside of Georgia to a little town called Dahlonega, and my oh my, the scene transformed from city to suburbs to countryside all the way to a vineyard hillside view! It felt like Scotty beamed us up and we teleported to Italy! The food, the view, and the wine were simply amazing!
Just a little more than an hour outside of Atlanta, down many winding roads, once the landscape changes, we found a beautiful winery by the name of Montaluce. We were hesitant to visit due to COVID, however, after calling ahead and reviewing the website, I knew this would be an amazing trip. We called the day of hoping for a reservation, praying our last-minute trip wouldn’t ruin our chances of visiting the winery. The staff member who answered the phone warmly secured us a reservation for the wine tasting and restaurant.
Upon driving up, we saw BEAUTIFUL Italian styled villas and private rental homes that transported us from the hills of Georgia to the hills of Tuscany. Much like Italy’s architecture, each private residence was unique in itself. With three and six bedrooms each, these beautiful villas were extremely breathtaking! Seeing some of the small private vineyards that neighbored the villas didn't compare to the breathtaking view of the main Montaluce winery and restaurant! Imagine turning the corner and seeing a massive multiple-storied villa overlooking rolling hills of vineyards and hills with a beautiful lake beside it. We stopped in our tracks just to soak it all in!
As we walked up the stairs, we were greeted by the impeccable safety measures the vineyard had been implementing for both its staff and its guests. After checking in, we were guided to our private table for the five-pour wine tasting. The staff members were friendly, courteous, and although were getting ready to host a wedding, were still very attentive to our needs. Each of the wines we drank was exactly as described. My favorite wine was the Petit Sirah; it was extremely bold, very flavorful and very full-bodied! I tend to prefer more of the dry wines, so the Sirah was the perfect amount of dryness for either an outdoor stroll or viewing of the wine cellar. They made us feel so welcome with every kind gesture.
Afterward, we went upstairs to the restaurant and enjoyed the most delicious, well-prepared, flavorful meal! He ordered the Springer Mountain Chicken with a brown butter sage sweet potato gnocchi, fava beans, and a hen jus while I ordered the gluten-free Coriander Crusted Pork Tenderloin, alongside roasted fingerling potatoes, glazed carrots, dipped in a roasted fennel citrus saffron foam. Oh my gosh! It was beyond savory and mouth-watering! The outside had a slight crisp to it that complemented the tender, juicy meat on the inside. And yes, of course I picked off my boyfriend’s plate, and and his chicken was FANTASTIC! The fava beans were something I never tasted before, but they accompanied that tender bird so well!
After dinner, we strolled the vineyards and laid in the grass next to the lake and simply enjoyed the peace of the day as the warmth of the sunshine glazed over our skin. We walked along the vineyards hand in hand, allowing the cool breeze to rush past our faces! The view was incredible, and the weather was perfect! Most of the grapes had just been harvested, however, it did not detract from the vineyards beauty. We left that day with our hearts full, stomachs fed and a beautiful bottle of their delicious Tuscan Blend – Centurio.