The Magic of the Vineyards and of Italy
Good or excellent wines are found in places that make it since the Troy war or from the Noha’s time, as well as in places where the vines where brought centuries, or generations ago. You find good wines flat plains, in romantic rolling hills, like the Langhe or the Chianti hills, as well as in dramatic, extreme conditions like in Val d'Aosta or in Cinqueterre. Tasty, various, and intriguing cuisines, instead, belong to few lucky places, instead. But very few countries can propose, indeed, harmony and of that all and of an ancient, slow tradition, and of art of living like Italy. When you land down here, you will feel at home somehow. The nature all around, not too wild, not too tidy, but present there as a kind of civilized habitat, where fields and hills are like designed and slowly shaped by generations of men. The cities, the language, the people’s manners are impregnated by their taste and by familiarity with art and beauty, if you can see it.
The wins, in the old world, where the wine was a sacred libation first of all, is for everyone and for everyday. In our tours we travel with serendipity, we drink at lunch a little, and at dinner mostly, the wine is an everyday presence, like bread pasta or olive oil. You learn to taste like a most normal pleasure, by sampling, eating and meeting the winemakers too. We like to propose tastings in all kind of wineries, to get a real complete picture of the whole story: the best family estates, which are always a popular reality, the classy boutique wineries, the futuristic designer estates, the prize winner wines, that spread their fame all over the world, and that we rarely drink, and, eventually the time honoured ancient abbeys, or the noble estates - barons, counts, marquis - that have made wine for centuries and that luckyly today share their best one with us too.
CHIANTIS and CHIANTI CLASSICO
Sangiovese is a very popular grape grape in central Italy, and of course the prevailing grape in the Chianti wines, which include seven geographic zones:
Classico, the historical birthplace of this wine, and Chianti Colli Senesi, Fiorentini, Aretini, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, Montespertoli and Rùfina.
The origianl Chianti Hills, betwen Florence and Siena is the area where the old, tannic, rustic farmers wine evolved into “Chianti”, over two centuries ago, and where now hundreds of advanced, dedicated winemakers make the “Chianti Classico”. Decades after the end of the familiar straw-lined bottle, the Classico is a strictly controlled, high qality red wine, with many varieties, ranging from few . Our tastings may include Chianti Classico and Riserva, form Castellina Radda and the Panzano “Golden Bowl” valley, all gifted terroirs, with many top estates. You will experience to line up young, ruby, drinkable wines, darker full-bodied ones, and powerful, structured riservas. You will compare traditional Chianti, and Supertuscans, with the “international” ones, blended with French grapes, and barrique aged. All this without let alone a tasting of the “Vin Santo”, the traditional dry “dessert” wine, sometimes turned into one of the finest meditation wines.
The dark, long ageing, full bodied Nobile di Montepulciano is the real, and the original Supertuscan - if this name makes any sense - since 1500 at least. It was selected and aged as a rich, oaky, and exclusive wine, and it takes its name from the Florentine noble to whom it was sent. In the old cellar, built under a “palazzo”, or a fort, we can possibly find niches, or caves which are older Etruscan tombs, while in teh countryside we explore the best of the smaller old and new wineries, with an eye on teh beautiful views of Valdichiana, Pienza, and of the Crete all around us.
The highlight are, however, the Rosso and the Brunello di Montalcino, the prestigious, dark, full bodied Brunello sanctuary: Sangiovese grosso 100%, 4-5 years aging, low yields, great terroirs and micro climate, big investment and top techniques. Last but not least, - a new appelation - the Montecucco, produced immediately to the south of the Brunello, and recalling its style, with a rich extract, powerful, though with a definitely younger style and affordable prices.
The Ansonica dell’Argentario, made only here and in limited places, is a fresh, white wine, generally alchoolic, and a bit salty, revealing the warm and dry microclimate, and the seabreeze in which its grapes grow. Its origin is from the Eubea island in Greece, from where it perhaps stopped in Sicily, before reaching the Etruscan coast.
The Morellino di Scansano is the local style of the classic Sangiovese based Tuscan reds (Chianti, Nobile, etc...). In this warmer climate, where each grape can only get ripe, it appears smooth and naturally strong, not too concentrated or oaky, since some people perhaps, still like normal wines. It matches flexibly the game which, given the abundance of woods, likely fed on its grapes, as well as a juicy steak of tunafish, caught in the sea nearby.
Alicante here? A curiosity, more or less: made in very small amounts, it recalls that once Spain too ruled the seas, owned the Porto Ercole harbour, and built the amazing forts above it.
Vermentino, is a mellow, gently aromatic white, ideal with a rich fish dish. Gently aromatic, it’s made all around the Thyrrenian sea, in Sardinia, in Liguria, and on and on, in Provence, Spaind and Portugal, from where it seems to have made its way to here as late as 1800.
Syrah, with its unusual spicy touch, is a niche production here. It has been experimented only recently here, following a rather global trend, and, I suspect, the global warming too, who knows?