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.
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.
Grape harvest Poggio alla Sala
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…
Poggio alla Sala
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.
Crushing the grapes
After crushing and pressing the fermentation begins. The fermentation continues until the sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide CO2.
The crusher – destemmer
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.
Hand picking Sangiovese grapes
Poggio alla Sala
Poggio alla Sala
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.
Winemaker Luca Gattavecchi
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.
Poggio alla Sala
Youtube video “hand picking grapes”
Sangiovese is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. Prugnolo Gentile is a clone of Sangiovese and is mainly grown for the expansion of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.
The grapes are high in sugar, tannin and acidity. Winery Gattavecchi produces high quality wines.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has potential for aging. After 3 years up the wine can be sold.
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.
Wine tasting at Cantina Gattavecchi
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.
San Biagio church Montepulciano
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 wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a precious product and was the first classified wine as DOCG. It is the “King of all Wines” by Francesco Redi 1685.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
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.
Local pasta “i pici”
In Montepulciano, Montichiello, Pienza and Montalcino is the most renown dish “i pici”. A thick handmade pasta of local flour water and few salt.
Pasta i pici
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.