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.
Frantoio means olive oil mill or olive oil press. Many olive oil producers rely on an external frantoio. Il Frantoio di Montepulciano is established in Montepulciano and counts 600 members. It is a farmers cooperative that supply members various services for the production of extra virgin olive oil.
Olive oil production in Siena
The olive groves are cultivated in the province of Siena. The gently rolling hills around Montepulciano are suitable for cultivating olive groves. The altitude of the hills are about 300-650 m above sea level.
In the province of Siena are many small producers who cultivate olive trees. The farmers take care of the plants by pruning and harvesting for having good olive oil every year.
After harvesting by hand or with mechanical shakers the farmers bring the olives in boxes to the olive mill “frantoio”. The olives are washed to remove dirt.
When ready, the olives will be crushed and pressed cold (26-28 degrees) in a modern machine.
Thanks to the cold press the olives keep their properties for a high quality extra virgin olive oil.
After the extraction of the oil, the olive oil will be soon packed in bottles, cans or in small tins.
Different types of olive oil
Il Frantoio di Montepulciano produces different types of high quality olive oils. Olive oil extra virgin from il Frantoio di Montepulciano is obtained from the olive varieties Leccino, Frantoio and Moraiolo.
Olio Extravergine di Oliva 100% Italiano
Oil produced with a range of traditional Tuscan olive varieties and other Italian olives (Puglia).
Olio Extravergine di Oliva DOP Terre di Siena
DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) guarantees the area of production and qualitative characteristics of the olives. Olio extravergine di Oliva DOP Terre di Siena is a very high quality olive oil.
Olio Extravergine di Oliva IGP Toscano
IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) is similar to DOP. IGP olive oil extra virgin is obtained with olives grown in Tuscany. This oil is quality guaranteed.
Olio Extravergine di Oliva Biologico
Organic olive oil is olive oil produced following the European regulation on organic production and labeling on organic products. The olive oil must be obtained from locally grown organic olives. These olives are not treated by chemicals.
All products mentioned above have different flavors. But the fresher the oil is, the better it tastes. Above all extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants and consumption of olive oil may benefit your overall health in several ways.
Throughout the year you can visit the mill “Il Frantoio di Montepulciano” and taste the oils that are produced.
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!
The nicest part I love of the Wine and Food Experience is meeting people and sharing my passion for wine. I love tasting wines in good company.
All my guests come from everywhere: America, South Africa, Holland, Belgium, Italy… The Wine and Food Experience always starts by telling the history of Montepulciano and the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Montepulciano is situated in the center of an area rich in history, art and wine. The village is only at a stone’s throw away from Pienza and 40 minutes drive from Siena.
Did you know that the locals call themselves “Poliziani”? Which was the former Roman name of the town? And that Poliziano also the name was of a local humanist and famous writer (Angelo Ambrogini) living in Florence and born in Montepulciano?
Some identification detail of the Vino Nobile
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a precious product and was the first classified wine as DOCG. It is the “King of all Wines” : F. Redi 1685.
The local economy in Montepulciano is mainly agriculture and tourism. The wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a symbol of the village Montepulciano. Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) is the grape that gives the wine an identity. A wine that achieves an unmistakable taste, after 2 years of aging in wood.
Food is also an important item while drinking tannin wines. Tannins provide texture and structure in a wine. The flavors that appear in the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are mostly plums and cherries.
A pairing principle of the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano with food is that it interacts with rich, fatty and salty dishes, like wild boar, meat, pasta with ragù and old cheeses. They diminish the perception of tannins, making a wine like Vino Nobile more smoother.
In Montepulciano, Montichiello, Pienza and Montalcino is the most renown dish “I Pici”. A thick handmade pasta of local flour water and few salt.
In the Cantina of Gattavecchi the restaurant offers a wide choice of Tuscan specialties. I love the local pici, especially the Pici all’aglione. The “aglione” is a spicy garlic tomato sauce… yummy!
Yesterday I had a lovely group of American guests who had the chance to do an amazing experience with chef Lilian. She showed us how to make home made pasta.
Het is alweer juli en het is hier elke dag ruim 30 graden. Wat betekent, lange zomeravonden, ijsjes eten en overdag vooral binnen blijven of in de schaduw zitten. Maar dan is het nog (te) warm.
Hardlopen in de hitte is vrij lastig. Mijn trainingsschema van trainer Fulvio Massini voor de Amsterdam marathon is vrij intensief. Ik sla niks over. Alle trainingen leef ik braaf na, behalve dan de hardlooptijden. Daar moet ik op letten. Ik loop vaak te snel dan de tijden op het schema zeggen, en dat is voor een marathon in oktober veelte vroeg. Althans dat zeggen ze…. Ik moet mezelf nu niet kapot lopen. Ik doe mijn best daar rekening mee te houden, maar makkelijk is het niet altijd.
De trainingen doe ik in de ochtenden (vroeg) omdat het in de namiddag en laat in de avond vaak nog > 30 graden is. Vroeg trainen is bij mij al rond 6:30 uur, als de temperatuur aangenaam is, en niemand op straat zich begeeft. Dat is fantastisch.
Alsof het Trasimeense meer en Umbrië even helemaal van mij is… met uitzicht op Cortona en Montepulciano.
Misschien denken velen, wat vind je hier leuk aan? Dit is moeilijk uit te leggen aan mensen die niet trainen of nooit hebben getraind voor een marathon. Naast mijn werk bestaat mijn leven uit: schema’s, herstellen, trainen, rusten, stretching, voedingssupplementen (kalium, magnesium, carbolflow, gelletjes), energiedrankjes, liters water drinken, veel groenten en fruit eten, pasta, rijst en… Het lijkt wel alsof ik een prof ben, maar dat ben ik zeker niet hoor. Alleen als je sneller, en beter wilt worden moet je daar rekening mee houden. Je krijgt het niet cadeau, en daarvoor moet je heel wat laten.
Hardlopen is verslavend, dat zeg ik eerlijk. I am addicted to running.
Pienza Val d’Orcia
De Amsterdam marathon wordt een mooie marathon. Ondanks dat het nog wel even duurt, en de zomer nog lang is, maar de finish in het Olympisch Stadion zie ik soms al voor me.