Tenuta dell' Ornellaia is a name which challenges the notion that you need to be old in order to be a legend, especially in Italy.
Their story began in 1981 when the Antinori family decided to invest in the Bolgheri region, previously popular for its fruit trees but definitely not vineyards.
The village of Bolgheri is located in the Province of Livorno, part of southeast Tuscany on the Etruscan coast. As a wine region, it is part of Maremma and here comes yet another story that begins along a road of cypress trees.
The road to Bolgheri became famous thanks to the poem Davanti San Guido by the first Italian author to win A Nobel Prize in Literature, called Giosuè Carducci, written in 1886 it begins like this:
GPS coordinates: +43° 10’ 23’’ N; +11°55’ ’’59 E
Avignonesi is one of those wineries that are not afraid to challenge the status quo in a country of traditions. We chose them as THE winery to show you from the Montepulciano region in order to tell you about several splendid wines they offer and their just as superb customer service even in the eyes of the most demanding wine tourist.
This week we are turning back time to another famous Tuscan town that sheltered us in its hot embrace for a few hours before we had the chance to heave a weary sigh in the just-as-popular Avignonesi Winery.
Montepulciano will not surprise you with anything out of the box but this is to be expected having in mind the centuries-old traditions in this part of Italy. Don’t forget that Montalcino is not more that 40 km east so you can have a 2 in 1 wine trip in a day.
Camigliano is one of the wineries that you’ll probably never visit unless an insider let you in on its existence. Their unavailability on the Bulgarian market is sadly a fact but the moment we met the sincere and cordial wine-maker Sergio Cantini and tasted the legendary Brunello di Montalcino under his friendly supervision, Camigliano permanently fitted in that warm corner of our hearts meant only for the most special things in life.
If we weren’t clear enough let us repeat: a trip around Tuscany is full of wine temptations. The province is saturated with thousands of wineries, vineyards and historic landmarks. For a month in Tuscany we only managed to see the tip of the iceberg, but let us not talk about ice– it is cold outside anyways. Instead, jump in your imaginary means of transportation for a short visit to one of the most popular wine towns in the province, i.e. Montalcino. We will talk about Montepulciano later...
For Christmas, we are leaving you with one of the most special stories from our trip to Italy this year. Fattoria Nittardi was a cosmic discovery for us. A friend of a friend (because good stories begin that way once in a while), a charming Italian young man from Sicily, told us “Hey, you are going to Italy for wine tastings then go to my friend; his family owns a small castle and a beautiful winery, you will love it, I will make the call.” (Caro Mario, grazie mille!). Nittardi was not only one of the most charming and secluded wineries we visited but also the place we decided to stay at during our entire trip around Chianti Classico. In this article we will tell you about their wines, their winemakers and the amazing estate that may well be your next stop for an unforgettable vacation in Tuscany!
After spending a few hours on the road, taking pictures and
GPS coordinates: +43° 36’ 43.30’’; +11°11’ 29.76’’
The Marchesi Antinori! Chances are you have heard that name, you have tasted some of their wines and you already have an opinion about them. The Marchesi Antinori appellation can never leave you indifferent, no matter if you have a strong view on globalization or traditionalism. We knew that we had to approach this winery with information, not expectations, in order to present you with a realistic story about Marchesi Antinori and what they stand for. Easier said than done. We had read many stories depicting Marchesi Antinori as an empire rather than a family business and we wanted to learn more about them in person.
We wanted to present you with a truly boutique winery but saying “boutique” bears the danger of adding unnecessary pretense unless we explain that, in this story, we use the word “boutique” in the sense of “small, authentic and honest”. San Giusto a Rentennano (also known as San Giusto alle Monache in the past) is among the most down-to-earth wineries that offer top quality wine without a drop of pomposity. They are a sophisticated wine producer in their very nonchalant, “I did it my way” kind of …way. Unfortunately, wineries like these are hard to find and we had to do our research to discover San Giusto. The good news is that now you don’t have to spend more time looking for it.
We needed to open the bottle of Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 – Rocca Guicciarda, the wine we had brought back with us, in order to begin this story the right way. No introduction could do justice to our experience at Barone Ricasoli unless it tasted just the way it should.
This winery has a truly extraordinary history, some amazing wines and an outstanding list of wine tours that are certainly among the best you can have in Italy. Choosing to visit this particular estate was easy but without expecting it, this turned out to be the single best wine tour we experienced on our entire trip.
Ever since we began our research on what to visit in Tuscany, we knew that we had to show you an ‘agriturismo’ (i.e. agritourism) place. Agritourism is undoubtedly a growing trend worldwide but visiting one in a land that is globally recognized for its culinary treasures is a must even if you think it may not be your sort of thing. The only risks you’re taking is one, meeting some amazingly friendly people who exude tranquility and treat their land with tremendous respect and two, not having enough space in your trunk when you head back because you fall in love with their products. At home, you exhaust your reserves and go buy a regular jar of honey from the store. Suddenly, commercially available goods like honey, pasta, olive oil do not taste the same. Ah, if only you could go back to the farm and buy some of the REAL stuff.
It really is! Every answer to a questions we had about Italy or Italians began with “…it’s complicated…”.
We got used to things being right and wrong, true and untrue at the same time. Italians obsess over food, they talk more than your brain accepts to perceive on any given day and they measure large sums of money in Ferraris.
Only in Italy, ladies and gentlemen!
Dear amici felici,
There is just one week left until we leave the Balkan Peninsula for the splendid boot-shaped one to the West. In contrast to most TV shows that promise to come back in September right on time for school, we double promise to keep working all season long and dedicate our summer vacation to the tedious rhythm of drinking Italian wine, eating Italian dishes and exploring Tuscany’s most stunning roads. Apparently, it is a matter of dedication and our flawless work ethic.
THIS SUMMER is going to be different! We will dedicate it to the Italian way of life.
Tuscany is a very popular and much explored wine region that we are going to discover for ourselves and we invite you wholeheartedly to join us in the adventure this July. There is the possibility for us to visit together other provinces in the North of Italy but let’s not give out everything in advance. Well, certainly there will be mentioning of pizza, scooters and fashion but there are several topics that we will focus on, including: