My Trip to Italy and New Italian Wines!

The ancient Greeks called Italy Oenotria, the land of wine.

This past May I did something a little different and traveled solo to Italy for a friend’s birthday. After a long trip I was happy to find a cool cafe just a couple blocks away from the train station in Rome and treated myself to a great arugula, speck, and cheese pizza along with some espresso! I read, recharged my electronics and took in the sights.   After a couple of days of sightseeing locally in Pisa and Lucca the wine travels began in the beautiful Tuscan countryside.   First stop was Felsina.  Maybe two hours away.  I did miss much of the landscape as I had no coffee and took my catnaps every time we ugly Americans were on tbe bus.  I told everyone I am spoiled as Tuscany and Columbus look exactly alike.  I carry Felsina wines  and love them.  The  winery is really magnificent and  state of the art.  Closest with such sleek modern architecture to Quintessa.  The wines are very elegant and a great representation of the land.  Of course the reds are stellar and the Chardonnay is one of my favorites ever.  The main house has been undergoing a redo to keep it authentic, this is what the owners use, all else is new.  There is a still a consecrated church where weddings, owners niece, etc occur.  Great spot for a destination wedding!

The tour guide and I, Elena, talked about combining our resources and doing something tour-related.   She is a bit younger, has an art history degree and used to own an art gallery in Florence but with two young girls said the travel was too much.   Always thinking…
We then went to Montepulciano, had a tour and lunch, lovely but bigger production than I carry.  I had the pasta with  hare as I figured I should.   Bit gamey, but when in Rome…
I would really like to return there and to Montalcino, an hour away, with my family.  First stop in Montalcino was amazing, Il Palazzone.  The  Ex CEO of Time Warner owns it .  A Scottish woman, Laura Gray, is the winemaker.  She hired an agriculture expert to run the property and married him!  She has been there sixteen years, and has three red haired, Italian children!    Her wines were incredible and I can get them in Ohio without preordering!   Her olive oil too, awesome.  Gorgeous infinity pool by owners little place, he has no wifi in his!
Mostly sends his most inner helpers, driver, assistant, etc to use it!
Last place in Brunello was huge production.  Again state of the art and Grandma gave the tour. Her kids are younger and there were very little ones running around.  Saw a lot of that in Italy, young working Moms and Grandma as the daily caretaker.  She made a cookie type biscuit only mildly sweet which I am working on figuring amounts for each ingredient.  Red wine, sugar, flour and olive oil.  Stracchettelli maybe? I remember a store made version by stella doro, no comparison,  but similar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A  highlight of my trip was going to Greve in Chianti to Villa Calcinaia.  I have been carrying their wines since their first days in Ohio. Before I went on the trip my distributor contacted Sebastiono, whom I had met here in the states and knew as “The Count”.  After some interesting travels to get to  Greve in Chianti, I met Melanie who runs the wine tasting room and sampled their lovely wines, both those I carry, some new to the states and sadly, some we cannot get here.  Then, I was taken to see the estate and meet up with the Count.  The property is breathtaking with 22 acres planted with more than 50 year old vines.  I think there are thirty other acres planted.  I still do not know what this flower is the Count called it fake Verbena.

I stayed in the cutest hotel, had a phenomenol meal, the pasta was called Pici? Clean plate for me!  The next day, I purchased several different salamis and cheeses before setting out for Florence.  That night, back at Casa Bini we chilled the wine from Villa Calcinaia, both a rose and a red done in an open fermentor and unfiltered.  I never had anything like it! We enjoyed them with the salami and cheese from the heart of Tuscany.  Others made the rest and one of the best dinners of the trip, crespelles with spinach and prosciutto and a big pasta with meatballs and…Tiramisu.   It was a great way to end my memorable trip in Italy. I cannot wait to go back!
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