If you are a wine lover be sure not to miss out the beautiful Val d’Orcia wine region in Tuscany. The land of Sangiovese.
Winery Poggio Grande lies in Castiglione d’Orcia. Castiglione d’Orcia is a small town immersed in the nature of Val d’Orcia. The property is located nearby the ancient medieval “Castello di Ripa d’Orcia” and the village of Bagno Vignoni.
Poggio Grande is a family-run farm that produces wine and olive oil in Castiglione d’Orcia. A visit to their vineyards, tasting room and wine cellar is a unique experience!
The winery is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. The total surface of their vineyard is about 6 hectares. The care and cultivation work is done manually. The grapes are also harvested by hand each year.
The Zamperini family is the owner of Azienda Poggio Grande. They have been living in this idyllic Tuscan countryside since 1907. Farming is their way of life for generations.
Through years of experience, passion and knowledge, the Zamperini family produces wines with great body and high quality. In addition to wines based on the Sangiovese grape other international varieties are used in the production of fine wines.
Quality olive oil is also made (D.O.P. Terre di Siena certificate).
Wine and olive oil tasting
The wine experience takes place in a tasting room, set in the middle of vineyards and rolling hills. The unique panoramic views of the Tuscan landscape will amaze you!
Poggio Grande is the best place to enjoy local wines. A wine tasting at Poggio Grande consists of one white wine, three (or more) red wines and two different types of olive oils. The wines are served with a selection of local meats and pecorino cheeses.
The wine production has increased over the last years. Winemaker Luca Zamperini and his daughter Giulitta Zamperini produce seven different types of wine.
All their labels on the wine bottles tell a story. One red wine is named after a horse of the famous Palio di Siena: “Scorbutico”. This wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. A wonderful, elegant red wine. Good to pair with local pasta and meat dishes.
A visit to Poggio Grande in the Orcia territory is highly recommended. You’ll find friendly owners, good wines and lovely views.
The Orcia DOC denomination is young, born on February 14, 2000. The grapes used for the Orcia wines are cultivated in the Val d’Orcia area.
The Val d’Orcia has a long history of producing wine. The wine production area is nestled between Montepulciano and Montalcino.
The main production areas are within the communes of Castiglione d’Orcia, Pienza, Radicofani, San Giovanni d’Asso, San Quirico d’Orcia, Buonconvento, Trequanda as well as parts of the municipalities of Abbadia San Salvatore, Chianciano Terme, Montalcino, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sarteano and Torrita di Siena in the province of Siena.
San Quirico d’Orcia
San Quirico d’Orcia
Pienza is my favorite place and I am spoiled for the choice with delicious food and wine…
Orcia wines come in different key styles:
Orcia DOC (Sangiovese based wine)
Orcia Sangiovese DOC Riserva (Sangiovese based wine)
Orcia DOC white (Trebbiano – Malvasia)
Vin santo DOC (sweet wine).
Each year the Novello wine is available in the Val d’Orcia territory. Novello is a wine made from the first grape harvest.
The Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes are the most important white grape varieties in the Orcia region. The white vin santo is blended from Trebbiano Toscano (50%) and other white authorized grape varieties.
Wines labelled “Orcia” must have 60% Sangiovese with at least a year of bottle aging, while wines labeled “Orcia Sangiovese” (Riserva) must consist of 90% Sangiovese with at least two years of barrel aging.
The Orcia Sangiovese wine is not a wine to drink when young. This wine will improve with age.
The blending grapes in the Orcia territory can be Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or native varieties like Foglia Tonda, Canaiolo Nero, Colorino, Ciliegiolo, and more.
Val d’Orcia is a Unesco World Heritage Site. With its curvy roads and rolling hills and cypress trees Val d’Orcia has become the iconic image of Tuscany.
The Val d’Orcia landscape is covered with vineyards, olive groves and the zigzagging cypresses. Alternated with wonderful country houses, abbeys and villas.
Abbey of Sant’Antimo
The region is also popular among hikers. The historical trail “Via Francigena” crosses the villages San Quirico d’Orcia, Radicofani and Bagno Vignoni. All small charming towns worth a visit.
Bagno Vignoni is a unique town with thermal water in the centre. It is a tiny village with typical stone houses.
Bagni di San Filippo
Bagni di San Filippo is one of the most beautiful free SPA resorts in Tuscany, immersed in the hills of Val d’Orcia.
Nowadays this region is famous for its enogastronomic production such as pasta i pici (wheat pasta), honey, pecorino cheese, olive oil, wild boar and wine. It is home to some of Italy’s best wines and food!
Val d’Orcia is also very much appreciated by artists, writers, poets, photographers and cinematographers. Famous movies such as The Gladiator and The English Patient have been shot here.
Capella della Madonna di Vitaleta
Val d’Orcia is one of the magic places to explore whilst on vacation in Tuscany. This is one of the most beautiful scenic landscapes. Val d’Orcia is a region you absolutely have to see!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
Pappardelle al ragù di cinta senese bianca
Millefoglie con crema chantilly, fragole e panna
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.
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)
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.
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!
Piazza del Pebliscito
Galleria Umberto I
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!
Villa Matilde winery
Villa Matilde winery
Villa Matilde winery
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.
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!
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!
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
Wine: “Falerno del Massico DOC” from Villa Matilde; Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2017 from Gattavecchi.
Cooking in Naples
Cooking in Naples
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.
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.
Fiat 500 in Montepulciano
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 webshop. 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 tasting experience page on my website. I organize from mid June free online wine tastings in Montepulciano.
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.
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 Gattavecchi 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 do the virtual tour in the wine cellar.
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.
Walking in Montepulciano
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..
Risotto agli asparagi
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?
Risotto agli asparagi
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.
Poggio alla Sala “il Parceto”
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.
@ Home in Montepulciano
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.
WSET study level 3
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 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.