Treat the classic “Let’s do lunch” the same way; start early and stay late. Or longer. Overnight options here too.
Of course you’d expect the food and the wines to be excellent so here are six tips you might not be thinking about for stay-longer planning.
Streets with names like Plaza Pomino and Via Montaluce, evocative of Tuscany whether you’ve been there, or just dream of a trip. Wind through woodsy and wide-open byways, meadows too as you seek the restaurant and tasting room.
Then take a walk afterwards. Stroll awhile.
The glass-walled dining room and the open-air porch give sweeping views of the vineyard where ten varietals are harvested. Outdoors, the railing is wide enough to balance your wine glass comfortably and lean on your elbows to gaze.
Executive Chef Sean Fritchle is an artist. Plating is the term used often in culinary conversation, referring to pretty ways the food might be arranged. Devise a new word for his artistry, and order the beet root salad no matter what you think about beets.
Rainbow quinoa involves heirloom merlot lettuce, toasted almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, lemon, feta and a dash of sauvignon blanc.
Panna cotta and pound cake might sound like a bland-colored desert, but not here. Bourbon peaches, raspberry pulp and canteloupe sorbet provide this rainbow.
Same for the tomato macaroon with blackberry tomato jam, almond tuile, blackberry sauce and thyme ice cream — sumptuous.
Fresh, natural, real food
The Montaluce Winery & Estates gardens are Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) and that’s important. To me it means they’re committed, practical and honest in a world where organic claims are dubious with so many hoops to jump through.
CNG means real food, no genetically modified substances, no synthetic chemicals and local farming, rooted in community.
Admire rough-cut cedar raised bed gardens in a big field across the way from villas where the neighbors live. Tuscan kale grows here!
Also, heirloom lettuces and rainbow carrots, micro greens started inside in hydroponic Montaluce gardens, turnips, cucumbers and more.
Joy and curiosity permeated the luncheon guests throughout my afternoon, greeting one another, asking what another had ordered because it looked so spectacular.
The only electronic devices I saw interrupting meals were my own and my excuse is the professional need to share Montaluce wonders via real-time social media.
Full disclosure suggests I should advise you to employ the same disreputable table manners I used. I ate most of my delicate beet root salad with my fingers, wanting to separate each flavor instead of blending them with a proper forkful.
Spend some nights
Four privately owned villas can be rented with two-night minimum stays, housekeeper included. Three have three bedrooms and one has five. Prices start at $350 a night, or $500 for the largest.
Enticing names like Villa La Vigna Vista and Villa del Sole, or Villa della Luna and Villa Oliveti. Payments can be made directly through VRBO, Vacation Rentals By Owner, but the Montaluce website will provide the rental link and contact.
Le Vigne Restaurant serves lunch Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday brunch 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday dinner 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Wine tastings Tuesday – Saturday 11: a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Noon – 5:00 p.m.
Photos by Christine Tibbetts
Christine Tibbetts claimed Georgia as her home state in 1972. She covers Georgia destinations, and the world, always offering prompts for exceptional experiences and opportunities to muse. Tibbetts earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous gold, silver and merit awards from North American Travel Journalists Association writing competitions. Follow her at www.TibbettsTravel.com.