Wine tasting in the Orcia DOC territory

Wine tasting in the Orcia DOC territory

Poggio Grande winery

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.

wine tasting

wine cellar

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.

meat dish

A visit to Poggio Grande in the Orcia territory is highly recommended. You’ll find friendly owners, good wines and lovely views.

Contact details of winery Poggio Grande: info@aziendapoggiogrande.it

Orcia DOC

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.

Pienza is my favorite place and I am spoiled for the choice with delicious food and wine…

Orcia wines come in different key styles:

  1. Orcia DOC (Sangiovese based wine)
  2. Orcia Sangiovese DOC Riserva (Sangiovese based wine)
  3. Orcia DOC white (Trebbiano – Malvasia)
  4. 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

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.

Val d’Orcia

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

Val d’Orcia

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

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!

Pecorino cheese

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!

 

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!

Piazza del Pebliscito

Galleria Umberto I

Castello Nuovo

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

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!

Vesuvio

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!

Friends

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!

Cooking class

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!

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.

 

Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta in San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany

Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta in San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany

Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta

Between San Quirico d’Orcia and Pienza is the Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta. It is an amazing territory, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta is a tall bright building surrounded by cypress trees.

How to get there

To visit the chapel by car you need to follow a dirt road until you reach a free parking place. From the parking place it is 10 minutes walking to the chapel. The chapel can also be reached by a hiking trail through the hills.

Spring 2020 | Val d’Orcia Tuscany

The surrounding landscape is really awesome. The rolling hills of the Val d’orcia offer an incredible sight. It is one of the most wonderful places in Tuscany!

Story

The chapel was built around 1550. The “Capella della Madonna di Vitaleta” used to be the home of the Madonna sculpture made by the artist Andrea della Robbia. The chapel was restored in 1884 and the statue was moved to the Church of San Francesco in San Quirico d’Orcia where it can be seen today.

Spring 2020 | Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta

San Quirico is a small and nice hill town in Tuscany.

San Quirico d’Orcia Tuscany

Today

The chapel is locked, you cannot go inside. It is private property. The facade is decorated with stone from Rapolano and a small rose window.

The Chapel of the Madonna di Vitaleta is one of the most photographed locations of Tuscany. I have visited the Capella della Madonna di Vitaleta two times within the last months. Last spring, just after the lockdown and today September 20.

I am determined to visit the chapel again, perhaps accompanied by a good red wine in the neighboring fields.

September 2020 | il Convento Rosso di Montepulciano DOC

 

New Covid-19 measures in Italy | life in Montepulciano

New Covid-19 measures in Italy | life in Montepulciano

New Phase 2 measures in Italy

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.

Wine business

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.

Running

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.

You can fallow my running activities on Garmin Connect.

Running in Montepulciano

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 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.

Will I see you then?

Virtual wine tasting

 

Wine and Spirit Education Trust

Wine and Spirit Education Trust

WSET

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.

Review

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.

Diploma

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.

The best is yet to come!

WSET diploma level 2

 

Wine tasting at Cantina Mori colli Zugna in Trentino

Wine tasting at Cantina Mori colli Zugna in Trentino

Wine cooperative in Trentino

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.

Cantina Mori colli Zugna

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.

Cantina Mori colli Zugna

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.

Riva del Garda Trentino

Wine tasting

Today Cantina Mori Colli Zugna organizes food and wine tours. The special wines and the Spumante under the appellation Trento DOC amused me.

Cantina Mori colli Zugna

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.

Cantina Mori colli Zugna

Conclusion

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 and tasting is a superb experience. For that reason I recommend a visit to this winery to everyone who loves wine!

Sylvia Italy

Torbole Trentino