The Covid-19 measures in Italy are somewhat eased since early May. Restrictions on travel within the same region will be dropped on May 18. Shops, restaurants, hairdressers and bars are being allowed to reopen. Two weeks earlier than planned.
Movement in your own region is permitted. Without any “autocertificazione”. Finally we will be able to visit friends as long as they live in the same region.
Both regional and international borders will open from June 3. The Italian government wants to allow travel between the regions and the Schengen countries. People will be permitted to enter Italy without any restrictions. Tourists can travel to Italy again. Awesome!
I am excited that things are getting back to normal. That gives me hope. As in the lockdown period it seemed impossible. But just the idea of having a fresh pizza with a huge beer in a trattoria makes me feel very happy.
Bars have already reopened for take-away service. I love an Italian coffee after lunch. Recently I got a take-away coffee at the Piazza Grande. The coffee was good and it was nice talking to the locals again. Nonetheless… nothing beats an Italian coffee ” al banco”.
Gatherings of large groups are still banned. Unfortunately some important summer events have been cancelled. For example Umbria Jazz in Perugia. The festival will return in 2021.
Over de last few weeks I have been busy with setting up my wine business. I am working on a new online wine project. It is something that I have created together with a little help of my friends.
It will be a project with my own “Italian” identity. It is a personal investment in local wine. I find it a bit scary to invest in this period. We live in a difficult economic situation. But I must do something. And this is what I like too! I don’t know if I’ll have success but I keep up the good spirit.
vineyards in Montepulciano
Besides this new project I have published a new virtual wine experience page on my website. I organize from mid June free online wine tastings at the winery of Gattavecchi. Every Thursday and Sunday in the afternoon.
I will use the Zoom application for the virtual wine tastings. More information about this will be followed.
I had a long period of knee problems. My right knee is doing much better. I go often by bike and I do my exercises to strengthen the muscles that support my knee. I am ready for a new running schedule. My trainer has sent me a new program for the upcoming two months. The priority is to restart. The runs are short and I have no idea how the results will be. But I am happy to start running again.
Virtual wine tasting
Last Saturday I had my first online Zoom wine tasting experience with a group of American people. I have a friend in NYC who organizes online meetings with friends. This time I was invited as a guest speaker.
Through the virtual wine tasting experience I showed two video’s of Montepulciano. I told the story of the winery and the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. I enjoyed!
The meeting took about 1 hour. Talking to people on the other side of the world was great. A feeling of not being alone for a moment. I did this online wine tasting from my home in Montepulciano. Next time I’ll do the virtual tour in the winery.
As we all know people in Italy have been staying at home since 9 March. Schools, shops, restaurants, bars and many offices are closed. Since then I only go out for a good reason: grocery shopping. I live nearby the Conad grocery. It’s only 5 minutes walking.
Not only people but also cars are in lockdown. Like my car. The battery is low. I cannot even unlock the doors by pressing the button. Not that I have plans to drive but for getting some heavy stuff home from the supermarket a car will do well. I don’t know how to fix this problem though but every problem has a solution!
It’s a very strange and hard period. I am doing ok. At the very beginning I watched the press conference at the Rai24 station every day. Now I hardly see it anymore. For me it’s fine now to stay updated by reading some Tweet news from two Dutch journalists in Rome.
The last two days I was trying to get some walks and short runs nearby my house. I am allowed to do that only if I stay 200m away from home. I have run a piece with a face mask. It’s inconvenient. You can’t get fresh air. A face mask is not for runners. But in case the police stops me I have one with me.
I haven’t been fully recovered from my knee arthroscopy. My meniscus was very bad damaged because of the runnings. As doctor Ceppi told me so. I do my exercises every day to develop my leg muscles. It helps but it takes much longer to be back to my previous running shape. I guess..
Wine and Food
I didn’t stop tasting wines and eating good food during the lockdown. Honestly since we are at home I prepare more often delightful dishes for myself.
I am not disappointed about my cooking! But I am always struggling with a good Carbonara… any tip?
And yes I have good wines in my wine cellar. There’s no day without a good glass of wine. I do not only drink Sangiovese wines. As you might know Tuscany is known for it’s Sangiovese based wines.
To improve my palate I recently purchased some nice wines from winery Piandaccoli in Florence. They make excellent Chardonnay-Malvasia and Rosé wines. These wines pair well with fish dishes, antipasti and pasta.
In Holland we say every disadvantage has it’s vantage. That’s true. I got to know new neighbors since I am at home. They are lovely people. We got friends. This is wonderful. I can’t wait to have a dinner or an appetizer with them. Hopefully soon!
I also started studying my WSET level 3 wine exam. Every time when I read new things about wine I realize that I love the world of wines. It is interesting to discover new wines from all over the world. Knowing more about different grape varieties, how wines are made and how they might taste. I hope to be well prepared for the upcoming lessons and wine tastings.
And the good news is, I am working on a new wine project. A friend of mine suggested me to realize a new wine adventure now the tourism in Tuscany is shut down. An awesome idea! It is a lot of work, but I like it. I see this as a new career opportunity for myself with a lot of possibilities for Sylvia Italy in the nearby future.
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, WSET, provides education and qualifications in wines for professionals and enthusiasts. Level 2 Award in Wines is an intermediate level qualification.
During the course we studied about wines, grape varieties of the world, the regions in which they are grown and the styles of wine they produce.
Through a combination of (a lot) wine tasting and theory we explored the quality, the style and how to describe the wines.
Emily O’ Hare
Our teacher for WSET level 2 is Emily O’Hare. Emily is wine writer, sommelier and she teaches WSET courses in Tuscany. Originally she’s from London but is now based in Siena.
I personally enjoyed the wine study and the courses with Emily. We had a lovely group. Some participants were from my FISAR Sommelier course and some people were new. It was a nice experience and definitely a do thing. I look forward to start soon with WSET level 3.
I got my classification! I passed my exam. Result 94% and Grade Pass with distinction. Now I have two wonderful certificates, FISAR Sommelier and WSET level 2 Award in Wines.
I still need to learn a lot more about wines. But I have a lot of interest and I am passionate about wine. I live in a wine growing area and I work in the tourism and wine business.
Hand picking the grapes means that pickers go through the vineyard and pick the grapes bunch by bunch. They can choose the ripe grapes, or rather, they can avoid picking rotten or bad grapes.
The grape harvest in Tuscany usually occurs between September and October. The right period for harvesting is determined by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels. Also the weather is important by planning the time of the harvest.
Some winemakers determine whether to use hand-picker workers or mechanical harvest machinery. Some benefits of hand picking the grapes are:
Grapes are handled gently
The hand picked grapes are carefully laid out so that they arrive at the press intact
Hand picking means you care and care is what matters…
Winemaking process red wine
Wine making is a natural process that requires human intervention, but each winery guides the process though different techniques. In basic, there are five components of the wine making process:
Harvesting, Crushing and Pressing, Fermentation, Clarification, Aging and Bottling
After the grapes are sorted they are ready to be de-stemmed and crushed. Mechanical presses the grapes into must. Must is a freshly juice that contains the skins, seeds and solids.
After crushing and pressing the fermentation begins. The fermentation continues until the sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide CO2.
Grape skins and solids float to the top and need to be pushed back. The red wine juice is pomped from the bottom and splashed over the top of the grape cap.
When the fermentation has finished it is the time to clarify the wine. Filtration occurs by a filter. The clarified wine is ready for further aging in stainless steel, oak barrels or in bottels.
Poggio alla Sala
A group of workers at the vineyards of Poggio alla Sala picked the grapes with secateurs and put them in a basket. Then the grapes are put in a container and finally transported to the winery to be processed.
The most planted grape at Poggio alla Sala is the Sangiovese grape. Poggio alla Sala is exposured in the southern part of Montepulciano. Some Etruscan objects are found here.
If you want gorgeous views as well as a good glass of wine than head to Poggio alla Sala. From here you see the Monte Amiata which influences the local climate of the lands and the vineyards.
The wine estate Dievole is located in the Chianti Classico area, one of the most popular wine region of Tuscany between Siena and Florence. Dievole overlooks the wonderful vineyards and olive groves. It covers an area of 400 hectares within the Chianti Classico territory in Vagliagli.
Dievole is an old winery founded in the 11th century. This Italian winery has a thousand year history. Today Dievole is owned by an oil tycoon from Argentina Alejandro Bulgheroni and is part of a network of wineries in Tuscany: Chianti Classico, Bolgheri and Montalcino.
The winery Dievole produces elegant wines such as Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Vin Santo and IGT white wine. But they make also other Italian great wines: Bolgheri DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.
During the wine tour we discovered the history and the taste of Dievole wines. We were with a small group of 9 persons (it is necessary to pre-arrange this wine experience).
Our guide waited for us at the wine shop. She started with a brief introduction to the wines and the history of Dievole. After a small talk we walked through the vineyards, the historic wine cellars and tasting rooms. After the tour we started with individual tastings of the quality wines including good cheeses and local meats.
Our guide was really knowledgeable and she answered all of our questions. It was a great wine experience at Dievole. The complex Dievole looks really amazing with good manicured gardens and great views over the vineyards. The is tour is about 2 hours long and we tasted 6 wines.
Everything from the wine, food pairings and lunch were top quality. We brought some bottles home. It was a wonderful experience. Therefor… I will be back for sure for an other wine tour!
A wine cooperative is where wineries buy in grapes from a network of grape owners and make their own labelled wine. Most of the co-ops are after volume sales. Often it seems that co-op wineries produce a lot of boring wines and that they are more after volumes than quality.
In Trentino Alto Adige cooperatives create extremely high value wines. Some wines are even nationally and internationally awarded. The wines are worth seeking out!
Cantina Mori colli Zugna
Cantina Mori colli Zugna is a wine cooperative in Mori Trentino. They are part of Cavit (Cantina Viticoltori del Trentino). Cavit incorporates 10 cooperative wineries in Trentino. They are the largest wine cooperative in the region Trentino Alto Adige.
In the mid fifties Cantina Mori colli Zugna was founded. It counts now 700 partners who cultivate about 650 hectares. They converts over 90% of the area’s production.
The vineyards of Cantina Mori colli Zugna in Trentino are between the valley of River Adige and Lake Garda, on the slopes of the Monte Baldo (Malcesine) and the Gresta Valley.
Today Cantina Mori Colli Zugna organizes food and wine tours. The special wines and the Spumante under the appellation Trento DOC amused me.
My tasting notes:
Morus Brut Millesimato TrentoDOC – this is a classic method only produced in the best years. Millesimato means that the grapes are harvested in the same year.
The Morus Brut sparkling wine is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Nero. The grape growing are on the hills of Monte Baldo. This elegant wine undergoes a long period of aging on lees, therefor the wine has an intense, persistent perlage, buttery and creamy texture. The second fermentation in the bottle has a period of aging at least 36 months.
The colour of the spumante is yellow-greenish with aromas of crusty bread and green apples. This wine is excellent as an aperitif and good pairing with national and international cuisine or delicate fish dishes.
Vicarius – Rosso Trentino DOP – this is a blended wine made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. The grapes are selected to guarantee a high quality production of the wine.
The wine making process of this wine involves a long maceration on the skins in steel. This is to increase color, flavor and aromas to the wine. Following the maceration the aging proces takes place 6 months in wooden barrique and later 6-10 months refinement in bottle.
The color is ruby red. On the nose a delicate and elegant bouquet. On the palate dry, structured with spicy notes. This wine is good pairing certainly with meat dishes and game.
As a result the wine cooperatives in Trentino Alto Adige are worth finding out. During the wine tour I’ve had been able to taste other local wines like Pinot Grigio, Müller Thurgau, Pinot Nero and Marzemino.
This wine tour is a superb experience, for that reason I recommend a visit to this winery to everyone who loves wine!