Florence, owing to its peerless artistic heritage of glorious renaissance treasures, is a good place to get suckered on industrial wine. Almost no one cares, however, because almost everyone is a broke study-abroad student content to drink Santa Cristina from plastic cups on apartment stoops. I'm describing myself, actually, age nineteen. I spent a month there, ostensibly studying Italian, in fact just desperately attempting to hook up with fellow students and certain of our tutors. I recommend anyone visiting Florence at age nineteen do the same.
The rest of us - including me and my reunited high school cohorts, now approaching our thirties, in town for a destination wedding - needed something decent to drink last spring.*
While I had predictably maintained no connections from my previous stay in Florence, I had in the intervening years become friendly with the native owner of a fashion boutique in the city. He didn't claim to be a wine expert, but the two recommendations he gave me both proved unimpeachable. The first was a wine shop on the refreshingly non-touristy Via Gioberti, east of the city center, called Enoteca Bonatti, where upon glancing at the shelves I instantly realised I'd need another suitcase for the trip back to Paris. Among the pearls on offer were a masterful Montalcino Rosso by Francesco Mulinari, and Abruzzese biodynamic legend Azienda Agricola Emidio Pepe's rare Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo rosé, which latter wine, I later confirmed with the winemaker's niece, is still not sold outside of Italy.