Snowfall in Montepulciano

Snowfall in Montepulciano

I live in Italy since 12 years and I have never seen it snow in Montepulciano.

This morning everything changed with lots of snow. As soon as I saw the countryside I rushed to get dressed to go outside for a walk in Montepulciano. There was nobody on the street. The temperature at this moment is below freezing.

I walked in the heart of the historic centre to the main square of Montepulciano: Piazza Grande.

Here’s a video from this morning’s walk.

Snow is rare and when it does fall, it usually smelts quickly. Of course by the time you read this the snow will have turned into rain and Montepulciano will be a slippery mess.

I am keeping this post short because I am preparing a virtual tour and tasting this afternoon. So enjoy these pictures from Montepulciano. Stay warm and healthy!

Piazza Grande

Cantina Gattavecchi

Vino Nobile vineyards

Pinot Noir Giacomo Baraldo Vigneron San Casciano dei Bagni

Pinot Noir Giacomo Baraldo Vigneron San Casciano dei Bagni

Giacomo Baraldo Vigneron

Giacomo Baraldo is a passionate winemaker from San Casciano dei Bagni (SI). What is a Vigneron? Vigneron is French. It derives from the word “vigne” which means grape vine. It is a person who cultivates grapes for winemaking.

Giacomo makes wine from his own grapes… He is a Vigneron!

Giacomo Baraldo

As a student of oenology Giacomo already started producing wine. After intensive experiences and completing his wine bachelor of science degree in oenology Giacomo became a professional winemaker.

He has a passion for making fabulous wines. He worked hard and didn’t stop until he achieved what he wanted… being one of the most greatest winemakers in the world!

Giacomo is a native Tuscan. He travelled around the world to discover the winemaking industry. He visited some of the best wineries in France.

France is the country of the most finest and expensive wines. For wine studies France is the country to learn the secrets of quality wine making. For a taste of fine work, training and educational programs Giacomo headed to Bordeaux (Margaux), Graves and Burgundy. All prestigieus wine regions in France.

Winemakers and wine growers in France taught him everything about wine and winemaking. In Burgundy he got to know the basics with white wine.

San Casciano dei Bagni (SI)

Giacomo lives with his family in San Casciano dei Bagni. San Casciano dei Bagni is a medieval town located in the southern border of Siena.

San Casciano dei Bagni

The village is known for its natural outdoor thermal springs and roman baths. The thermal waters contain sulphur, calcium and fluorides. A perfect opportunity to relax for FREE all year!

Vineyards

Tuscany is a region best known for it’s Sangiovese-based dry red wines. In San Casciano dei Bagni the family Baraldo owns about 3,5 ha of vineyards for the production of red and white wines.

They make red IGT as well as white wine: Grechetto, Chardonnay, Malvasia and Trebbiano.

Pinot Noir

Giacomo works together with the Greystone winery in Waipara valley, New Zealand. Here he put his knowledge of wine making into practice.

In Waipara valley Giacomo buys Pinot Noir grapes from vine growers. He makes his own premium quality wine from Pinot Noir grapes.

Pinot Noir Giacomo Baraldo Vigneron

Pinot Noir Giacomo Baraldo Vigneron

The front label of the wine bottle shows the Kiwi. And on the back label is the following tekst written:

Contains 100% of Pinot Noir
Contains 100% of my work
Contains 100% of my passion

In many wine shops in Italy you can purchase the Pinot Noir wines from Giacomo Baraldo. Even in Montepulciano!

With friends in restaurant Daniela

For our lunch in restaurant Daniela we ordered the Pinot Noir wine from New Zealand: 2018 18,5 K Pinot Noir Giacomo Baraldo Vigneron. The wine was not filtered and not fined.

By holding the glass the wine has a pale red color with charming red fruits of cherries, wild strawberries, pomegranates, coffee, cacao and herbaceous.

A special wine with an elegant texture. It is a great wine to pair with antipasti misti and pasta dishes.

Antipasti misti

Pappardelle al ragù di cinta senese bianca

Millefoglie con crema chantilly, fragole e panna

Screw cap

There is the romance and tradition with the classical cork. Almost all Italian wines have a cork.

New Zealand is a young and innovative wine country. New Zealand wine is sealed with screw caps. Whether they are cheap wines or among the best bottles in the country.

Ristorante Daniela

The family Baraldo owns and operaties restaurant Daniela in San Casciano dei Bagni. The restaurant serve local Tuscan cuisine. It’s not just a restaurant, it is a place where besides the good food, you will get good service and good wine.

Ristorante Daniela is a unique experience and really recommended. Siete i benvenuti!

Address: Piazza Matteotti 6, 53049 San Casciano dei Bagni (Siena)

 

Entrance restaurant Daniela

With friends after the lunch

Exercising outside in Montepulciano

Exercising outside in Montepulciano

Exercising in Montepulciano

In this challenging time doing some sports are good. Running outside is what I do daily. I want to stay fit. Physically and mentally.

While running face masks are not required, fortunately. It is safe to run outside in Montepulciano. Fresh air benefits in many ways!

Montepulciano is a hill town. It is located at an altitude of 600 m above sea level. I know that running on hills builds muscle strength. In this period I do nothing else than running uphill and downhill.

Running here is amazing. But I don’t always enjoy training through the vineyards. Hill running is tough. Honestly I hate hills.

I usually train on a flat surface in Valiano. Valiano is a small town in the Comune of Montepulciano. To get there I need to take my car. Obviously the way we live now it isn’t allowed. We may only leave our home for work, necessity and health reasons.

The situation leave me no choice but hill running.

The days are getting shorter and the average temperature drops. It is autumn. Biking conditions are still excellent in Tuscany, but not for me. I think my bike will be stock until 2021. Not for being lazy, I just prefer to bike in warmer weather conditions.

Christmas

Time flies. Everybody goes through difficult times. Almost a year has passed. Soon we will celebrate Christmas again.

Clearly the holidays will be different this year. The Christmas markets are cancelled in Italy. I don’t know if Montepulciano will have a Christmas tree for us to see.

Let’s hope 2021 treats us better!

Covid-19 update Italy

Covid-19 update Italy

The latest news Coronavirus in Tuscany

Italy was the first country outside China to face a major corona outbreak. We went into a lockdown for at least 9 weeks in 2020. The restrictions against coronavirus were strict.

Last summer we managed to keep the infection rates relatively low. Unfortunately the end of the coronavirus is still not in sight.

Italy continues to update its coronavirus rules. Here you read some basic information about the current coronavirus situation in Italy.

Latest news:
On March 27 theaters and cinemas will reopen in yellow zones.
Until April 6 it is prohibited to travel to other Italian regions.
In red zones hairdressers must close.

Tuscany update

Tuscany has been classified as a red, orange and yellow zone.

  • From February 14 Tuscany is orange zone. Province di Siena (Siena, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza, Chiusi…) and province di Pistoia are code red from February 27.

Lunch with friends in San Casciano dei Bagni

White zone

A new white zone has also been introduced. A region must have fewer than 50 cases 100.000 habitants.

White zones will no have restrictions. Meaning normal life. Now no Italian region will be classified into this zone, but with introducing the white zone means hope for the future.

Maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask remains but bars, restaurants, cinemas, libraries etc. will reopen. There will be no nationwide curfew.

Maintaining social distancing

They say that Tuscany will be one of the first regions classified into the white zone. Let’s cross our fingers!

  • Form March 1 Sardegna is white zone. The first white region in Italy.

Me wearing a face mask

Three colors

Starting from November 6 Italy is divided into three zones: red (high risk), orange (medium risk) and yellow (low risk). The colors are designed by the government and Minister of Health.

Dpcm Italy

The code classification changes frequently in Italy. It depends on the local statistics.

The nationwide curfew is still effective today in Italy.

Social distancing must be continued in the three zones. And it is mandatory to wear a face mask unless you go solo outside for a run or a bike ride. For body and mind it is important to get outside and exercise. With the eased restrictions it is it is the ideal time to do them.

Biking in Tuscany

Travellers from and to Italy must fill in a self-declaration form. These documents prove your reasons to travel.

Yellow zone

A yellow zone in Italy is a moderate risk zone. The rules are more relaxed.

The government recommends you to limit movements.

You are not allowed to move between regions only when necessary (work, study or hospital).

No more than two guests can visit the same home. And visiting a private home is allowed only once per day. The place you visit must be in the same region.

Restaurants, bars, gelaterias and pubs are able to operate in weekdays and weekends. The opening hours are 5 AM till 6 PM. Takeaway for restaurants is possible until 10 PM.

Shops are opened on weekdays and weekends. Shopping centers (shopping malls) remain closed on weekends and public holidays.

Hairdressers and beauty salons are open.

Orange zone

The orange zone is a medium high-risk zone. Nationwide measures continues to apply with additional restrictions.

The government recommend to limit movements as much as possible.

Restaurants and bars are closed. Bars provide takeaway service until 6 PM and restaurants provide takeaway service until 10 pm. There is no time limit for home deliveries. Pharmacies and shops that sell essential goods remain open.

Caffe Poliziano

Shopping centres (shopping malls) are closed over the weekends and public holidays.

Shops, hairdressers and beauty centers stay open on weekdays and weekends.

Closure of all museums, gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theaters. Universities, primary and secondary schools are closed.

You may receive up to two guests in your home, on one condition that they live in the same municipality.

Residents are allowed to leave their homes only when it’s for work, necessity and health reasons.

Outside physical activity in the vicinity of your home is allowed (hiking, running and biking).

Red zone

The red zone is the highest risk zone. This means strict rules. People are asked not to move around unless necessary.

It is recommended that you work from home.

The rules last at least for 15 days. Restaurants, bars, gelaterias are closed. Except supermarkets and other food stores. Takeaway until 10 PM is still allowed. Pharmacies and shops that sell essential goods remain open.

Traveling in between regions and cities is prohibited. Moving in your municipality is not allowed, unless it’s for work, study and health reasons. When traveling you must have a signed declaration form proving your reasons to travel.

Closure of all museums, gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theaters. Universities, primary and secondary schools are closed.

Hairdressers are open. Beauty centers are closed.

You may only exercise individually in the vicinity of your home.

Running in Tuscany

Up to two persons may visit another person’s home, on the condition that they live in the same region.

Wine tasting in Campania

Wine tasting in Campania

Wine region Campania

Campania is a wonderful wine region in southern Italy. It has an old wine tradition. It was one of the most famous wine regions of the Romans.

The vineyards in Campania are mostly inland, not directly along the coast. The soils are influenced by volcanism.

It were the Greeks who introduced Vitis Vinifera in Campania. Grapes such as Greco di Tufo, Aglianico and Falanghina have all Greek origins. But, it were the Romans who introduced the wines from Campania everywhere in the world.

Napels

Naples is the capital city of the Campania region. It is Italy’s third largest city. I know “Napule” quite well. I have wonderful memories of Naples. In 2003 I’ve stayed a month in this unique city to learn the Italian language. It was great fun spending the Summer there!

Winery Villa Matilde

The wine tasting in Campania was in the winery Villa Matilde in Cellole in the province Caserta close to Benevento. 80 km drive from Naples. 

The family Avellone is the owner of Villa Matilde. It is a three generation family wine business. In the sixties Francesco Paolo Avellone started with re-planting of old vines. He had a passion for ancient historical wines. With his new wine projects he gained support from local farmers and friends. 

The vineyards of Villa Matilde are in the limestone massif Mount Massico, the Roccamonfina volcano. Today daughter Maria Ida and son Salvatore are responsible for the production of their wines.

In the wine shop we had a lovely wine tasting. We didn’t visit the vineyards. But it was a nice experience. Maria is really a wonderful host!

Grape varieties

The wines in Campania are produced by Italian autochtone – unique grape varieties, such as Falanghina, Aglianico, Piedirosso, Fiano and Greco. The Agliano grape is cultivated everywhere in Campania. Aglianico is one of the great grapes of Italy. The wines made from Agliano are full bodied. It is worth a try!

The grape variety Falanghina is an important white grape in Falerna del Massico. It is born from ancient vines by the Greeks about 3000 years ago. Falerno del Massico DOC is the modern Falernum with whites from Falanghina.

The extinct Roccamonfina volcano contributes volcanic soils to Villa Matilde and the other Falerno del Massico regions vineyards. The taste of the wine is fresh and mineral. Very pleasant to drink. It is one of my favorite white wines!

They also produce a wonderful rosato wine made from 100% Aglianico grapes.

Friends

Amy and David are friends of mine from the US. They live in an apartment in Vomero. A chic neighborhood just outside the city centre of Naples. It is a wonderful location. The views over the Gulf of Naples and the Vesuvius are amazing!

I met Amy and David at the Wine and Food Experience in Montepulciano last year. They work at the United States Navy base. Tuscany wines are their favorites. As soon as they can they come to Montepulciano to get some Vino Nobile and Brunello bottles to bring home!

Cooking class

Together with people from the United Stated Navy base we did a cooking class. Two ladies from Naples prepared delicious local dishes for us. We were allowed to watch or even to help them!

The menu:

  • Antipasto: mignon mozzarella di bufala, bruschette with cherry-tomatoes and basilicum, local cheeses and cold cuts
  • Primo piatto: pasta with pumpkin, pancetta and ricotta salata
  • Secondo piatto: stuffed involtini with white wine sauce
  • Contorno: garden peppers with black olives
  • Dessert: almond cake

Super yummy!

Wine: “Falerno del Massico DOC” from Villa Matilde; Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2017 from Gattavecchi.

Buon appetito!

Virtual wine tasting

The best way to discover the Italian culture obviously is through the wine! Sign up for the Sylvia Italy’s virtual wine tasting.