Poggio Antico is both a restaurant and a very good winery located outside of Montalcino. The first time I dined at Poggio Antico was for my 21st birthday. It was a boys’ day out of eating and drinking and touring wineries. However, it was a spur of the moment decision, and we spent much of the first half of the day driving and searching for some of my favorite wineries. At that time, many of the smaller wineries hadn’t caught on to the concept of tours, so we encountered a few disappointments. However, after a long morning, my father, my Uncle Matt, and I found Poggio Antico. We were tired, maybe a bit frustrated, and starved!
We drove up a long white road lined with cypress trees to arrive at Poggio Antico. The maitre d’ hotel Maurizio Tola greeted us. While Maurizio is no longer with Poggio Antico, and has gone on to explore his own opportunities, he was congenial, provided great service, and we later became good friends. We enjoyed a tasting menu that had creative takes using local, traditional ingredients and a 1985 Poggio Antico Brunello Riserva.
In conversation with the owner and founder of the restaurant Paola Gloder, she suggested a recipe for chicken liver parfait for this book, which made me smile because it took me back to my aforementioned 21st birthday dining experience. I remember when we asked Maurizio what we should try, he noted that people come from far and wide for the chicken liver parfait, which at the time made my father nervous: He knew my uncle (his brother) was such a picky eater that he did not even like seeing olives on the dinner table! However, to his surprise, my Uncle Matt was interested in it all, specifically the liver, and he finished every bit. The chicken liver parfait was the highlight of the meal, but the whole lunch was special. The service, wine, and company made my birthday a very special one, and the experience remains one of my fondest memories of my late uncle.