Cantina Michele Satta

Michele Satta, Bolgheri

L’essenziale è invisibile agli occhi”. 
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Michele Satta, un giorno in Cantina

I vini di Michele Satta sono l’essenza di Bolgheri e raccontano la Toscana.   La Toscana è maledetta, pensi di starci poco e poi ci rimani stanziale! Michele Satta, uno tra gli storici winemaker di Bolgheri, è stato vittima di questo incantesimo, quando appena diciannovenne nel 1974 , ci trascorre le vacanze di famiglia. Come biasimarlo, la Toscana rapisce anche me, che nel  mio peregrinare dalla Sicilia ci finisco per scelta,  galeotta  una gita scolastica del liceo a Firenze. Vi risparmio questo lungo aneddoto, e sono qui per condividere con voi la scoperta di un altro angolo di paradiso posto tra Nord e Sud , perfetto bilanciamento degli opposti!

Novembre 2019, una mattina soleggiata e si parte in macchina lungo le vie strette che in pianura si srotolano come tappeti d’erba puntellati da papaveri, trifogli e alberi maestosi.  Direzione Bolgheri, destinazione la cantina di Michele Satta, che mi inebria con il suo ‘Bolgheri Rosso’ qualche Pasqua fa a una cena all’ ‘Osteria San Guido’, vivamente consigliata per chi vuol perdersi tra i sapori , le meraviglie e i tesori  di questa regione centrale da annoverare  tra i patrimoni dell’UNESCO.

Michele Satta
Matteo Bonaguidi racconta i vini di Michele Satta 

Ad accogliere me e gli altri ospiti da Michele Satta è Matteo Bonaguidi, un giovane e brillante sommelier. L’ ingresso semplice e minimale della cantina  inganna perché la sua struttura invece si impone con tutta la modernità, la raffinatezza e la maestosità dell’architettura dei suoi due piani, quello sotterraneo per l’affinamento dei vini, e la terrazza panoramica prospiciente la famosa Costa degli Estruschi, dove siamo riuniti per ascoltare i segreti di Michele Satta. Appoggiandosi al muretto rovente della balconata, Matteo  ci  indica un punto preciso di Bolgheri tra acque trasparenti, cielo ed ulivi da cui inizia l’avventura di Michele Satta. Si tratta della ‘Vigna del Cavaliere’, il cui rudere è l’ombelico di quella che adesso è una superficie vitata di 24 ettari con una media di 150.000 bottiglie annue ottenute tutte da uva propria. In questa area benedetta da Dio il vino è nato molto prima dell’uomo, il vino qui è cultura, è tradizione, è l’anima stessa di Bolgheri che Michele Satta è riuscito perfettamente a svelare e che noi apprendiamo attraverso le parole di Matteo prima del banchetto!

Michele Satta, l’uomo

Sant’ Ambrogio Olona, un paesino vicino Varese, da i natali a  Michele Satta, che è di sangue mezzo sardo e mezzo piemontese. Dopo il Classico il giovane varesino si iscrive ad Agraria a Milano per un richiamo istintivo verso la natura, che da bimbetto in villeggiatura gli appare in tutta la sua magnificenza ora sotto forma di paesaggi nudi brulicanti di pecore e spiagge bianche della Sardegna ora sotto forma di girasoli e dolci pendii della Toscana.

E tra una punta e l’altra dello stivale con le sue diramazioni isolane, come la verità che sta in mezzo, Michele Satta si ritrova a vivere a Castagneto Carducci inizialmente metà estiva per un impiego occasionale da fattore propostogli da un amico del padre ingegnere. Nulla è per caso, ed evidentemente c’è una linea sottile, misteriosa, l’Io più profondo, che unisce tutti questi eventi e che spingono Michele Satta a spiegare le vele verso il suo porto. Così ventiquattrenne Michele Satta continua l’università a Pisa e sposa Lucia da cui ha sei figli, di cui Giacomo, l’enologo, e Benedetta, responsabile comunicazione, costituiscono l’asse portante dell’azienda agricola. Il 1983 è un periodo faticoso per  Michele Satta , che però lo tempra e lo fortifica nello spirito.  Per mandare avanti la baracca si sporca le mani, quelle stesse con cui sfoglia i libri da cui apprende con passione l’Ars Agricolae,  ma la poesia dura davvero poco!  Michele Satta  è infatti testimone di un’agricoltura che sta mutando a vista d’occhio, si sta ammodernando con il conseguente e negativo effetto di prediligere la quantità alla qualità e ciò fa abbassare i costi della merce. Non si guadagna molto con quella fattoria ormai fuori moda di appena settanta ettari coltivati a pesche, fragole, carciofi, grano, e un po’ di vigna rivenduti per una miseria ogni mattina all’alba ai mercati centrali limitrofi.  Michele Satta ce la mette tutta per fare funzionare gli ingranaggi di una macchina che però ormai è al collasso, come le sue finanze. C’è da affannarsi il pane tanto quanto basta per sfamare la cospicua prole. Un concorso in banca a Roma potrebbe essere l’ancora di salvezza, un peso troppo grande tuttavia da sopportare, allorché da parte del suo vecchio capo sopraggiunge la proposta di curare la parte commerciale e i proventi delle vigne della stessa fattoria che abbandona in preecedenza per sfinimento! Michele Satta non esita neppure un attimo e fa ritorno al solo destino cui è designato, il più nobile della terra, il vino! Da allora non si ferma più. 

Degustazione vini Michele Satta
Degustazione vini Michele Satta, Bolgheri

Michele Satta, i vini

Il nostro viaggio a Bolgheri   prosegue con la degustazione dei vini Michele Satta. Matteo  si fa notare subito per la sua classe e la sua professionalità e si capisce subito che fa quello che gli piace fare. Matteo  prepara i tavoli con dei cestini di pane sciocco e taglieri di salumi e formaggi locali.

Matteo  sistema in fila tutti i bicchieri che riflettono una luce calda che entra attraverso le vetrate in modo gentile e che ci avvolge come il gusto del meglio della selezione dei rossi e dei bianchi di Michele Satta. Tra quelli che proviamo  mi hanno particolarmente colpito:

  • ‘Bolgheri Bianco Costa di Giulia 2019’: battezzato così dal vigneto da cui proviene oltre che quello di ‘Querciola’, è  una bomba esplosiva di 70% di Vermentino e di 30% Sauvignon e fa innamorare Michele Obama in occasione del suo quarantunesimo compleanno al  ‘Caffè Milano’ di Washington. Questo bianco  a contatto con le fecce fini fa affinamento lungo per circa sei mesi in tini di acciaio. Dal colore giallo paglierino, alterna i suoi profumi di pesca bianca e fiori delicati a evidenti sentori di  timo,  erba appena tagliata, miele , vaniglia. Dal finale lungo si presta a invecchiare qualche anno ;
  • ‘Syrah Michele Satta 2016’: 100% Syrah del vigneto ‘Vignanova’ è un vino mediterraneo sofisticato che non ha nulla da invidiare ai superbi rossi francesi del Rodano. Fermenta in botti di rovere da trenta hl ed affina diciotto mesi in barriques di secondo, terzo e quarto passaggio ed un anno in bottiglia con capacità di invecchiamento fino a venti anni. Nel calice si annuncia con un colore rosso rubino cupo, con note di frutta a bacca nera e si arricchisce di sensazioni speziate e nuance di erbe aromatiche. In bocca è di ottimo corpo, con un tannino maturo e termina con una chiusura persistente;
  • ‘Il Cavaliere 2017’: 100% da selezione di uve Sangiovese raccolte a mano nei vigneti di ‘Vignanova’ e ‘Torre’ fa cemento per diciotto mesi e può invecchiare fino a venti anni. Presenta un colore rubino ed al naso è molto aperto, con aromi di prugna, violetta, tabacco, cuoio e terra di bosco. In bocca è sapido e con tannini morbidi, con un retrogusto di liquirizia e un piacevole finale;
  • ‘Piastraia Michele Satta’ 2017: è un taglio bordolese di Cabernet, Merlot e Sangiovese che con l’aggiunta di una punta di Syrah prende il corpo  dei vini del Sud. Le uve provengono da cinque diversi vigneti che sono ‘Torre’, ‘Poderini’, ‘Vignanova’, i ‘Castagni’ e ‘Campastrello’. Ciascuna varietà è fermentata separatamente in botti di rovere troncoconiche da trenta hl.  Sosta in barriques di legni francesi tra i diciotto ed i ventiquattro mesi. Un vino smart con un colore tendente al porpora con riflessi violacei. Al naso emergono note di ciliegia, cacao, e fiori blu. Il vino è sapido, con tannini rotondi e finale lungo. Capacità di invecchiamento fino a venti anni.
DOC Bolgheri Consorzio di Tutela Vini
DOC Bolgheri Consorzio di Tutela Vini

I vini di Michele Satta stregano e fanno venire voglia di stare bene, di godersi la vita, di rilassarsi. Ogni commensale è fermo al suo posto a sentire Matteo  che si volta verso una foto gigantesca che ritrae  Michele Satta insieme a chi ha per così dire inventato il ‘caso Bolgheri’! Prendete un calice magari di bollicine, o di cosa vi pare, e unitevi a noi! Il silenzio cala, e la voce di Matteo è l’unica melodia che vogliamo udire.

Bolgheri, la Bordeaux d’Italia

Chiunque arrivi a Bolgheri finisce vittima del suo incantesimo non appena si percorrono i cinque chilometri dell’Aurelia fiancheggiati da 2500 “cipressi che alti e schietti quasi in corsa giganti giovinetti vanno fino a San Guido in duplice filar “. Questi ultimi sono i versi del poeta Giosuè Carducci, premio  Nobel per la letteratura italiana nel 1906, che immortalano questo antico borgo medievale fondato nel XI dal Conte Gherardo della Gherardesca, il cui stemma all’ingresso del castello in mattoni rossi   saluta migliaia di visitatori all’arrivo della bella stagione . Bolgheri è una frazione del comune di Castagneto Carducci, in provincia di Livorno, la cui  posizione strategica, tra le Colline Metallifere e la leggendaria ‘Costa degli Etruschi’, fa di questo villaggio un territorio unico al mondo per arte, cultura, tradizione vitivinicola e paesaggi mozzafiato.

Immersa in una vegetazione rigogliosa e con le sue torri  affacciate su un mare cristallino,  Bolgheri è il fiore all’occhiello della Toscana grazie al Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, la cui genialità si materializza in tre suoi capolavori e ora attrattive del posto:  il celebre vino Sassicaia, il purosangue Ribot, e il Rifugio Faunistico Padule . Cominciamo da Bacco, perché è una forza divina inebriante quella che invade il Marchese e gli fa realizzare il nettare, il purosangue e l’ oasi dei suoi sogni.

In principio è il Sassicaia, il Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta

Il Marchese nato a Roma e di stirpe sabauda, giunge in Maremma al seguito del suo matrimonio nel 1930 con l’affascinante Clarice, discendente del conte Ugolino cantato da Dante nella sua ‘Divina Commedia’. Agronomo, cosmopolita, visionario e di classe il Marchese  ‘colonizza’ Bolgheri, un centro agricolo di appena cento abitanti e dimenticato da Dio, e la trasforma in una corte stupenda con il suo entourage aristocratico.

Nei poderi ereditati il Marchese  apre un allevamento di cavalli da corsa da cui fuoriesce Ribot, che tra il 1955 e il 1958, vince sedici competizioni su sedici, dall’Arc de Triomphe, al Royal Ascot da San Siro a Longchamp. Ci fa anche una fattoria e in particolare a Castiglioncello di Bolgheri nel 1944 il Marchese semina delle barbatelle di Cabernet importate dai Duchi Salviati di Migliarino , che frequenta ai tempi dell’università a Pisa, e come il cappellaio matto tira fuori il primo taglio bordolese della Maremma. Il Marchese  non è del tutto soddisfatto di quella miscela di vitigni per nulla armonico, ma in fin dei conti gli sta bene, è un esperimento, il suo vino non vuole venderlo ma solo goderselo con chi gli sta intorno e con gli amici. Il Marchese  non si arrende e azzarda a regolare il tiro spostando il vigneto in un campo più alto che chiama ‘Sassicaia’ per il mix di sassi e ghiaia che la caratterizza in onore a Graves a cui si ispira,  e da cui ha origine l’omonimo vino che farà di  Bolgheri la Bordeaux d’Italia e un prestigioso centro di riferimento per l’enologia europea. Ci vogliono venti anni di perfezionamenti e vicende varie prima che nasca il rinomato ‘Sassicaia’ che ognuno di noi vorrebbe in uno scaffale in bella mostra! In questo arco temporale di fondamentale importanza è lo slancio e la lungimiranza del Marchese  nell’avere individuato in Bolgheri la base per la replica di quella tipologia di vini particolari francesi che sono di gran tendenza in Europa e oltre oceano,  in modo tale da offrire qualcosa di nuovo al mercato italiano che, da dopo il sofferente e disastroso dopoguerra alla lenta ripresa economica, dorme almeno fino agli  anni ottanta in fatto di vini! E senza dubbio lo scossone del terremoto  ‘Sassicaia’ con epicentro a Bolgheri si avvertirà in superficie e profondità lungo tutta la penisola ! Pazzo o pioniere, il Marchese  lascia il segno a Bolgheri. A differenza dei contadini della sua era per cui il vino è un modo per sopravvivere e da bere prima dell’inverno successivo, il Marchese è un nobile dentro e fuori , e vuole fare un vino di pregio, si interessa ai problemi agricoli evidenziando la necessità dì uscire dall’improvvisazione e di imitare i francesi dando un tono alla materia. Seguendo il metodo francese e in controtendenza con l’allora dominante produzione di massa dovuta all’avvento delle nuove tecnologie, il Marchese  impianta vitigni selezionati e sperimenta nuovi metodi di vinificazione; preferisce basse rese in vigna e vitigni alloctoni a quelli autoctoni, lascia perdere il torchio a favore di una pressatura più dolce, e introduce l’affinamento in botte. Tutti questi sforzi sarebbero stati forse vani se ad un certo punto di questo bel romanzo non ci sarebbero stati altri protagonisti! Da una parte il figlio Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta,  che, capendo la reale potenzialità di quel  ‘primitivo’ ‘Sassicaia’   osa commercializzarlo, e dall’ altra i parenti patrizi degli Antinori nelle figure di Niccolò e Piero , che si occupano del marketing. Questi ultimi fanno scacco matto facendo assumere il loro enologo,  il pater vinorum Giacomo Tachis, che, stabilendo tecniche  e tempi di affinamento, ingentilisce e struttura quello che sta per essere il primo cru del Bel Paese! Con l’inconfondibile etichetta della rosa dei venti dorata su sfondo blu disegnata dallo stesso Marchese  , il ‘Sassicaia’ viene imbottigliato per la prima volta nel 1968 e messo in distribuzione nel 1972 . L’oro rosso di Bolgheri è sgrezzato dalle sue impurezze a tal punto da abbagliare i big del giornalismo enogastronomico. Le prime luci del ‘Sassicaia’ colpiscono Luigi Veronelli , pietra miliare nostrana del  wine & food , che gli dedica un articolo intero su ‘Panorama’ nel 1974. Successivamente  con l’annata del 1978 il  ‘Sassicaia’ vola oltre i  confini quando la rivista inglese ‘Decanter’   lo proclama come migliore Cabernet tra quelli in competizione di altri trentatré paesi in un concorso tenutosi a Londra , dove prevale addirittura sui famosi chateaux bordoles . La vendemmia del 1985 regala al ‘Sassicaia’ 100 punti assegnati dalla penna di  Robert Parker,  guru della critica americana che lo consacra a fama internazionale.

Sassicaia

E se vi dico che il ‘Sassicaia’ star indiscussa del jet set planetario usciva con la denominazione ‘vino da tavola’? Un paradosso questo che scatena e indigna al punto che, per questa categoria di vini speciali che non si adattano  alle regole dei rigidi disciplinari di allora come le DOC del 1983 che tutelano i soli bianchi e rosé, si conia in America il termine di ‘super tuscan’, dove ‘super’ sta per ‘diverso’ e non ‘migliore’. Bisogna attendere fino al 1994 con la formazione delle ‘DOC Bolgheri’ ,  ‘DOC Bolgheri Superiore’ e ‘DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia’ per placare le ire funeste . La costituzione  del ‘Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Bolgheri DOC’ , di cui Michele Satta è uno dei soci fondatori, nel 1955 con le sue cinquantacinque imprese agricole, sigilla a fuoco una business venture che ricerca costantemente di preservare sapere antico congiunto a modernità  e innovazione con lo scopo  di garantire a Bolgheri  un futuro tutto in salita. In soli cinquanta anni Bolgheri  passa da 120 a circa 1300 ettari di vigna e assurge a  fenomeno di  vini da collezione che oltre al ‘Sassicaia’ vede spuntare nelle immediate vicinanze  mostri sacri del made in Italy quali ‘Ornellaia’, ‘Guado al Tasso’, ‘Grattamacco’ e  il ‘Masseto’ , Merlot al cento per cento che nel 2001 il ‘Wine Spectator’ celebra come secondo solo al ‘Petrus’ di Pomerol. Bolgheri non è una moda o un capriccio di qualche blasonato ma il ‘Rinascimento’ del vino in Toscana, nel momento in cui il ‘Brunello’ e l’Italia sonnecchia per poi svegliarsi del tutto a fine anni Novanta ed essere in classifica tra le potenze enoiche del globo . Bolgheri è il frutto del lavoro e il più dolce dei piaceri di uomini intelligenti e illuminati che, titolati con risorse o artigiani con pochi mezzi e tanta voglia di fare, hanno collaborato e dialogato ribaltando le sorti di questa deliziosa cittadina. Bolgheri ieri landa del deserto e considerata addirittura non vocata alla viticultura oggi chicca dell’enologia italiana e luogo densamente popolato e affollato di turisti, curiosi e investitori provenienti da ogni parte del pianeta.

Cantina Michele Satta
Cantina Michele Satta

Michele Satta, l’azienda

Michele Satta scommette tutto il suo essere e il suo avere a Bolgheri sin da quando ci mette piede. Genius loci , vate, o cosa? Michele Satta è certamente un imprenditore fuori dagli schemi, dotato di grande personalità, sensibilità ed intuito.

Non dimentichiamo però che se Michele Satta è un’autorità in fatto di vino non è solo per  i suoi studi, il suo carattere, le sue esperienze, e certe circostante favorevoli, ma principalmente per la devozione, la costanza , la  gioia e la serietà con cui ha perseguito  i suoi obiettivi, i suoi ideali. Tutto quello che dai ti torna indietro nel bene e nel male, e quanto è vero per  Michele Satta ! E si sa che la fortuna non è una dea cieca ma aiuta gli audaci!  Tutto questo associato a un rapporto quasi ancestrale tra  Michele Satta  e la terra, che è il leitmotiv della sua esistenza stessa, si traduce nella nascita della sua azienda nel 1983 e nel suo primo vigneto nel 1991. Michele Satta si distingue dagli altri fuoriclasse a Bolgheri  perché è una voce fuori coro nel dare largo spazio alle uve del posto quali Sangiovese e Vermentino (sia in assemblaggio che in purezza), e nel cimentarsi con altre varietà quali per esempio il Sauvignon Blanc, il Tempranillo e il Petit Verdot. Una mossa alquanto temeraria quella di Michele Satta in un ambiente di altolocati e di certezze stellate tra le quali primeggia quella del ‘Sassicaia’ , ma mossa del tutto inevitabile per movimentare l’identità territoriale di questo paesotto maremmano, rispettandone sempre l’inclinazione per i vini bordolesi. In linea con i bolgheresi classici,  Michele Satta ha una sua personale visione del vino in cui soggiace prevalentemente l’intenzione di esaltare al massimo la complessità aromatica tipica del terroir mediterraneo che Bolgheri riesce a sprigionare. Ciò si incarna perfettamente in tappe importanti della sua carriera enoica che dà alla luce nel 1987 il ‘Costa Giulia’ , 100% Vermentino,  e  nel 1994 il ‘Piastraia’ , blend di Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot e Sangiovese. A fine anni novanta, reduce di una consulenza presso l’ ‘Ornellaia’ e sotto la supervisione del prof. Attilio ScienzaMichele Satta pianta anche una piccola porzione di Teroldego, quest’ultimo ingrediente di un’altra opera d’arte di Michele Satta che è il ‘I Castagni’.

Michele Satta, Paolo Lazzarotti studio fotografico
Michele Satta, Paolo Lazzarotti studio fotografico

Scendendo giù nella cella rocciosa in cui i vini riposano, Matteo ci confessa che alcuni Wine Lovers & Experts snobbano i vini bolgheresi perché troppo freschi, fin troppo fruttati e non tipici, ed accontentano in maggiore misura il palato degli intenditori americani e cinesi. Lo ascoltiamo attenti lì tra le botti e le anfore di terracotta, e dopo avere assaggiato i vini di Michele Satta, nessuno dei presenti ha dubbio alcuno che il bello per Bolgheri  deve ancora arrivare. E come non credere ad un avvenire glorioso per questi vini marittimi, sontuosi, con una traccia balsamica indimenticabile che è il ricordo della macchia mediterranea, tratto specifico che li rende irripetibili.  Michele Satta vanta una superficie vitata di 24 ettari e affiancato tecnicamente e moralmente dai suoi affetti frutta attualmente 150.000 bottiglie ottenute da uva propria. Matteo ci fa fare un giro all’interno della bottaia ed è orgoglioso di quello che ci sta descrivendo. I suoi occhi brillano quasi a illuminare quegli spazi bui e freschi della grotta dove i vini di Michele Satta dormono per esprimere al meglio tutto il loro valore, che è strettamente legato a quelle specifiche peculiarità pedoclimatiche che stanno solamente a Bolgheri e che la fanno oggetto di invidia di tutti! Una alchimia naturale di sole, mare e terra questa è Bolgheri! Matteo ci spiega il motivo. Le vigne di Michele Satta sono tra quelle più a sud di tutto il comprensorio, il cui suolo è particolarmente fertile essendo  variegato per struttura (per lo più sabbia e in molti punti argilla e  limo) ,  di medio impasto,  drenante, e privo di sedimenti, cosa che facilita alle radici delle viti di scendere giù a fondo per alimentarsi.  Il nostro bell’Antonio va avanti narrando che i filari, trattati con pratiche biologiche, sono protetti dal vento a est dalle colline, mentre a sud beneficiano degli effetti del mare e dei fiumi Cornia e Cecina che li irrorano di luce favorendo la fotosintesi, ne mitigano il clima con estati fresche e inverni miti, e vi apportano brezze gentili che tolgono la dannosa umidità in superficie.  

Bolgheri, a presto
Bolgheri, a presto!

Una passeggiata tra le stradine ciottolate di   Bolgheri  e una cena a lume di candela nell’ intima e raffinata ‘Enoteca del Centro’ conclude magicamente il mio incontro con Michele Satta. Un sorso del suo ‘Syrah 2015’ è in poesia una frase di Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “E’ il tempo che tu hai perduto per la tua rosa che ha fatto la tua rosa così importante”. 

Grazie Matteo, Michele e Paolo Lazzarotti per il suo infallibile obiettivo fotografico! 

 ‘A chi ancora è capace di emozionare. La bellezza non si misura con ciò che possiamo apprezzare semplicemente guardando con il senso della vista, la vera bellezza  è un atteggiamento. ‘ 

Stefania

 

Federici Winery. Lunigiana in a Glass

“With Wine, Poetry, or Virtue, as you choose, but get Drunk!”
Charles Baudelaire

The Federici Winery. Lunigiana in a Glass

There is nothing like the regional products of a territory that can describe its history and culture. The fruits of the earth tell us how  people have shaped the landscape where they live. That is why visiting “Federici Winery” is a special way to discover Lunigiana, a mysterious land sandwiched between the Ligurian coastal towns of “Cinque Terre” and the Tuscan cities of Lucca and Pisa

On the 2nd November I visited the “Federici Winery” in Ortonovo, near the ancient ruins of Luni, the famous Roman port, where Roman merchant ships  used to transport precious Carrara marble along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Luca Federici welcomed me when I arrived at his wine cellar. He was ready to guide me through a tour of his  winery and dedicated his time to share with me the story of his family, his territory and his wines. Luca’s big smile warmed a rainy day, making me realise that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life! 

Federici Family

Federici Family, a Story of vineyards and men

The Federici family, originally from Ortonovo  boast a long tradition of winemaking that has been handed down from father to son. It all started in 1985, when Giulio Federici and his wife Isa, the third generation of the family restored a country property in Lunigiana devoting themselves to cultivating the local grapes and to making quality wines. 

Luca, the oenoligist, and his brother Andrea, the sales and marketing manager, represent the fourth generation of the “Federici family,“. Today together they lead their business with passion, professionalism and with care for their territory. The best result of the Federici family‘s love for what they do is  of course one of my favourite wines, the so called Vermentino: a dry white wine that is sleek, tangy and even a little bit sexy. There are hundreds of white grape types planted throughout Italy,  though the Vermentino for me is really the best  This old variety grows well  here , because  the climate is mild , and because the vines are planted close to the sea. I’m crazy  about the elegance of the Vermentino as well as the , minerality and  saltiness in its finish, and pairing it  with the local cuisine specialities , such as seafood antipasti and pesto sauce, is something you have to experience once in your life! 

Federici Winery
Federici Winery

Federici Winery 

“Federici Winery” owes its name to the sun shining in the ancient Roman port of Luni. The archaeological site is still intact and just a couple of miles from the winery, and commemmorates the thousand year old tradition of winemaking in this area.

“Federici Winery” is located near La Spezia in far eastern Liguria nestling against the Apuan Alps (with peaks reaching almost 7,000ft  only 5 km from the sea) and the river plain of the River Magra. This privileged position  provides an incredible microclimate, where the action of sea and mountain breeze, alternating between day and night, creates optimal  conditions for growing vines and producing wines of excellence. Here the soil in the valley is of an alluvial and sandy  nature with leaner clay on the hills. That is how the Federicis can experiment  different varieties of the Vermentino producing completely different taste profiles in the vineyard, along with other local (Albarola, Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo) and international grapes (Syrah, Merlot). Harvest usually starts  towards the end of  August and the beginning of September . Grape picking is one of the most important phases of work for the Federicis and is entirely done by hand just like it used to be when the winery was first set up.

Federici Family, from father to son

The “Federici Winery is a key player in the local economy and has the objective to constantly work to enhance the quality of its wines. The winery extends over  around 25 hectares with vineyards in prized locations both on the hillside and on the plain. The winery buys hand-harvested grapes from other small growers in the surrounding countryside paying for qualit, and  keeping alive both tradition and wine culture. The winery produces 200.000 bottles a year, including  whites, reds, rosé, sparkling wines, sweet wines and grappa.

Federici Family
Federici Estate

The Federicis invested a lot of money in the new winery in 2015, which now covers 1600 square metres and it is equipped with  state of the art technology, such as a special isobaric bottling system, which ensures  optimal care in the packaging of the wine . Moreover, the winery follows  bio-architectural principles in order to  reduce  the impact on the environment as well as maximise energy savings. The beautiful underground cellar, where the wines rest for their final refinement, is a perfect example of the  harmony that exists between the buildings and nature. The cellar is situated around a hundred metres below sea level, which helps harness the natural stability of temperature and humidity provided by the  presence of an underground aquifer. All this is further supported by constant control of every stage of the production process thanks to ecological  solutions in the wine cellar such as solar panels, natural ventilation and the use of wood, stone and brick. The Federicis are very proud of their magical reign and passion and patience and experience are key words of their philosophy.  For them viticulture is a family tradition, and their care for the environment, the climate, the vineyards and  their employees produces matchless wines, whose  flavour reflect the beauty of their terroir

Luca Federici

Federici  Wine Tasting 

Wine tasting in “Federici Winery” is an intimate and personal experience. The tasting room  is very  large, decorated with frescos and has two magnificent handmade chandeliers the design of which has been inspired by nature. Luca took me through his line of biological  wines and demonstrated the quality of his best bottles of wine by pouring me a glass of their Vermentino. He  is proud of his wines with good reason and I sipped through his wines with pleasure.  All showed great character and depth as well as a softness you rarely see with natural wines. They seemed stable, substantial and yet so expressively honest. Luca explained how the ideal climate for their white wines exists in the “Colli di Luni DOC Area”: “ During the day there is superb ventilation and optimal  exposure to the sun whilst the evenings are fresh and humid, always with moderate temperatures whether it be winter or summer.

Federici‘s  vineyards are situated within two to three miles of the sea, and here are the three versions of  the their  best wines made from 100 % Vermentino

I learned a lot about Vermentino thanks to Luca. The best Vermentino is medium-bodied, fresh and quite round, with a floral aftertaste, and its freshness is the result of the natural, lively acidity of the grape itself which provides balance as well as a marvellous affinity for pairing with a variety of foods. Vermentino grows not only in Liguria, but also in Sardinia and Tuscany, and in each of these three territories, the vineyards are very close to the sea,  giving the wines a special character that you don’t find in wines from vineyards in a warmer, inland area. Vermentino from a maritime climate tends to display a great minerality or saltiness in the finish. Vermentino is one of the most important varieties in Liguria, along with another white known as “Pigato“.

Federici Wines
Federici Wines

Lunigiana is one of the smallest region in Italy, but its white wines are among the most distinctive, like the other three wines I sipped at the “Federici Winery :

Lunigiana
Lunigiana

If you are a wine lover or a wine expert, Lunigiana could be your perfect upcoming destination.

Lunigiana, in north west Tuscany, has a lot to offer. It is a location to be enjoyed all year round, and above all it is easy to get to via flights to either Pisa or Genoa.  The wine region of Lunigiana is very beautiful, with vineyards on rocky  hillsides that  overlook the sea as well as vineyards higher up in the valleys  and small narrow roads that meander up amongst the vineyards.   With such a large number of grape varieties unique to Lunigiana, this can lead to some confusion though doing research before visiting and wine tasting in such a picturesque region is worthwhile. Lunigiana is also dotted with numerous stunning medieval villages and  is a pearl amongst the other international  and aristocratic hamlets  along the zone of the  “Riviera Ligure di Levante”, such as  Portofino, “Cinque Terre”, and the “Gulf of Poets”. Lunigiana lies between the northern Appennines, the “Versilian Plan”, and the “Gulf of la Spezia” and has real rural character as well as castles, Romanesque churches, and  old towns full scenes of rare beauty starting with Luni and Sarzana.

Luni

Luni  the ancient Roman port which gives the name to Lunigiana Luni is surrounded by a valley called “Val di Magra” in the Montemarcello Magra Park”, which extends from inland Liguria up to the Gulf of Poets. Points of interest include the remains of an Roman Amphitheatre (1st century AD) and the Archaeological Museum.

Sarzana, piazza Calandrini
Sarzana, piazza Calandrini

Some are born in Sarzana and love it for life, others choose Sarzana as their place. The latter seems to be the case with the family Bonaparte, who were welcomed there in exile and from  where they left to conquer the world. The Bonaparte family left an important witness to their presence in the form of the “Bonaparte Tower House”, which is located in the first section of the “Via Mazzini”, a few steps away from the ancient church of “Sant’Andrea”. Sarzana is a quiet city, tourists don’t go there much. You might peek into some of the antique shops in the historic centre, or into the terrific  main square “Piazza Matteotti” . There are many restaurants in Sarzana, and all of them are good. It’s like the town is waiting for tourists who seldom come.  Sarzana has two nice castles:  ” Cittadella Fortezza Firmafede”, which is right on the northeast border of the old town, and the “Fortezza di Sarzanello”, which is just north of town. It also has a fine Romanesque/Gothic cathedral, the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral”.

Federici Wines are perfect for each moment of your Life
Federici Wines are perfect for each moment of your Life

Save your appetite my friends . Stay thirsty. Passion and humility create balance in the heart and balance in the glass. Luca knows this and you can see it in his eyes and taste it in his wines.

Alla vostra!
Enjoy it!
Stefania!

 

 

 

 

 

Chamber of Commerce Pisa

 Terre di Pisa Food & Wine Festival 2019

“There is no sincerer Love than the Love of Food”, 
G. B. Shaw

“Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019“. Why to come? 

Don’t miss the Outstanding Enogastronomic Event “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”, now at its 8th Edition! “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”, will take place at the “Leopolda Station” in Pisa from the 18th to the 20th of Ocotber 2019. It becomes a Moment to experience Tuscan Lifestyle! Thanks to a Wine-Gastronomy Tour, You will discover the Flavours of Tradition in Pisa and its Province.“Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019” provides a Varied Calendar of Activities to enjoy an Unconventional Weekend  with Art, Culture, Top Food & Wine. A Real Pleasure for the Body and for the Spirit!

Chamber of Commerce Pisa
Chamber of Commerce Pisa

“Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019“. What to find? 

After the Succes of Last Year  with 8000 Visitors, “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019” confirms  the “Chamber of Commerce of Pisa” Commitment to promote Pisa and its Province together with the collaboration of Professional Associations and Institutions (“ConfCommercio”,CNA”, “CIA”, “Confesercenti Toscano Nord”, “Coldiretti”, “Confagricoltura”, “IPSAR Matteotti” ) . At this Beautiful “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”, a Warm Welcome awaits You! There is  the Best of Pisa and its Province: 

  • 75 Producers; 
  • Wine, Oil and Food Experts; 
  • Restaurants;
  • Pisa University Nutritionists; 
  • Show Cookings; 
  • Oil Tastings; 
  • Wine Tastings 

Free Entrance for an Unforgettable Weekend! What are You waiting for ? Special Guests, Show Cookings, Oil & Wine Tasting!

Free Entrance for You at the “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”! Get out the Most of it! There is only a 10/15 euro Ticket  for booking the several Show Cookings and Olive & Wine Tastings Off Line or On Line ( www.pisafoodwinefestival.it). Don’t Throw Away your Ticket! From the 18th October to the 3rd of November 2019, Your Ticket gives you the possibility to get a Discount on Entrance to “Pisa’s Old Vessels Musem”, to the “Walkway of the Pisa’s Walls”, and to the Exibition “Futurism” at “Pisa’s Palazzo Blu” . Moreover, You will meet the Special Guest Rubina Rovini, the Pisan Chef, who is known for having competed on the fifth season of “Master Chef Italy”. She is also a Brand Ambassador, and a Food Consultant !

Pisa Food and Wine 2019

Pisa Cuisine. What to eat ? 

Pisan Cuisine is Simple and Delicious. It varies from Fish and Seafood Specialties to Game Dishes. It offers Countless Famous and Traditional Must-Eat Foods. At the “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019” , You can taste all the Typical Dishes , and  Protected Products, such as “Monte Pisano Olive Oil”, “Pecorino Cheese”,  “Pisan Beef”, “San Miniato Truffle”, and much more. These Traditional Pisan Dishes are deeply rooted in the Pisan  Culture, and Recipes are often passed down between generations and are cherished for their Authentic Origins.

Friday 18th October Menu

Saturday 19th October Menu

Sunday 20th October Menu

Pisa Wines

Enjoy it ! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrighi Winery

Arrighi Winery

 the most important thing is not what you find at the end of a race, but what you feel inside while running”  
A. Arrighi 

Elba 

What’s your idea about Tuscany? Yes of course, Rolling Hillsides, Sunflowers, Cypresses and Beautiful Towns, but there’s much more! Where? Go towards the “Tuscan Archipelago” islands: Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri, Gorgona and above all Elba, where I stayed for a weekend to escape into another word as Napoleon Bonaparte did! Why did Napoleon choose this Gem  for his exile in 1814–15? Have an holiday in Elba  and then you’ll see it or you’ll live there forever! 

Elba Island is a Hidden Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where, according to a legend, Venus, the Goddess of Beauty and Love, lost her necklace, giving birth to the  “Tuscan Archipelago”. Elba is located 6.2 miles from the coastal town of Piombino, and, with an area of 86 square miles (223 square km), it’s an unspoilt Tuscan Paradise: Clear Blue Waters, Sandy Beaches, Wonderful Landscapes, Mild Climate, and Varied Vegetation of Mediterranean type, with rich Olive Groves and Vineyards. Being a spot off the Beaten Path , Elba is not a Typical Tourist Destination, so you’ll not find Hordes of People or Lines and Crowds like in other Mediterranean Islands, such as in Sicily or in Sardinia. Elba is mostly frequented by Tuscany Residents and, if you want to avoid them too, book a trip in Spring or early Autumn to Enjoy the Silence. Moreover, Elba is a land full of History: remains of the Etruscan, Roman and Medieval Ages testify a Fascinating Past and a rich Wine Cultural Heritage . Elba is well worth being seen for the Flavours of its Cuisine too, which is made from Simple Dishes adn Fantasy. Being an Island, Elba has several Fish Restaurants. Every morning, Fishermen go offshore and fish all day; in the late afternoon, they bring their catch to the Island’ s Restaurants.  If you haven’t visited Elba yet, Yyou Need to – Right Now! This Lovely small Island is destined to be turned into one of your  Must-See Places !  

Elba History

Being inhabited since Pre-Historic Times, Elba was discovered early on to be ripe with Iron-Ore Deposits. Elba attracted a Lot of Ancient People, such as the Etruscans and the Greeks,  who call it  “Aethalia” (which means “Smoky Place”, probably because of the smelting furnaces). Later the Romans, renaming  it “Ilva”,  established a naval base on the Island. 

Over the centuries Elba underwent many other invasions and dominations. In the early Middle Ages, Elba was ruled by Pisa, in 1290 by Genoa, in 1399 by the Dukes of Piombino, and in 1548 by Cosimo I de Medici of Florence. From 1596 until 1709 the Eastern Part of Elba was under the Spanish Empire controll for about 150 years, then the whole territory was conquerred first by Naples, and finally by the French in 1802. When Napoleon I abdicated in 1814, he was exiled to Elba, where he landed on May 4. Since then, Elba was recognized as an Independent Principality with Napoleon as its King until February 26, 1815, on which day he returned to France for the Hundred Days. Napoleon left his Mark with his Noble Residences in Portoferraio, Elba’s chief town : “Palazzina dei Mulini” and  the “Villa di San Martino”, both of which are now Museums open to the public. Thereafter, Elba was restored to Tuscan,with which it passed to Unified Italy in 1860.  

Elba
Elba

1st day ,23th July. Top Elban Winemaker Antonio Arrighi.

I’ve been living in Pisa since six years, and Elba, being so close to my adopted city, is one of those places I’ve always promised to  myself  I’d get to next time around! In the middle of my summer holiday my curiosity was piqued, as my Tuscan friends always craved about Elba, having a house or going sailing there! Before going to Sicily and always longing for Sunshine, Salt Air, Blue Sea, Exclusive Wine and Food, I decided to allow myself  a quick three-day getaway in this beautiful Tuscan Island!  

During my stay in Elba, I was fascinated  by the Lush Natural Beauty of the Island, by its Crystal Sea, and by its People Sweetness. Though I am hardly in a position yet to recommend ‘the Best’ of Anything, I experienced enough to suggest an enjoyable Two-Day Itinerary, which  will give you a glimpse of the Treasures that Elba has to offer. To begin with I can tell you that most of the Island is very panoramic, helped by the fact that there are no ugly buildings to be found (strict building regulations have been enforced since a lot of time ). Moreover, in recent years Elba has become a magnet for Visitors from all Over the World thanks to its Fine Weather from April to October. Elba, is surprisingly easy to reach as well! I took a train from Pisa to Piombino Marittima (about 40 minutes), then a short walk  to the ferry and I was in Elba in 45 minutes! You can also drive directly to the Port in Piombino,  and pay about 10 euro a day to park (you can bring your car on the ferry, but it might be cheaper to rent one on the Island). “Toremar” and “Moby” ferry passenger to and from Elba every day and tickets at the port office are around 32 euro roundtrip for the one-hour ride.

Porto Ferraio
Porto Ferraio

Approaching Elba, I was amazed at how massive and densely forested it was. After disembarking in pastel-hued Portoferrario, Elba’s largest city  founded by Cosimo I  de’ Medici in 1548, I headed down the red pedestrian pathway towards the town with a  tour of Napoleon’s Residences above mentioned. I took lots of photos strolling around the cobbled streets of the cute Portoferrario, both in the City Center and in the Old Town. I kept walking taking a hike to the “Medicean Ramparts”, which the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo l built as a defence against the Turkish attacks, and to the “Fort Falcone” , where I enjoyed  breathtaking panoramic views. “Fort Falcone” has an area of 2360 square metres, and along with “Fort Stella” and the “Linguella Tower”, is one of the three “backbones” of the defence system of the town of “Cosmopoli” , which is how Cosimo l named Portoferraio. The day was really sultry, so I had to rest drinking a cold Cola in one of  the many beach cafes which dotted the little port . 

Antonio Arrighi
Antonio Arrighi

My Cola ice cubes turned into water, while I was waiting for  the best part of my Trip: Antonio Arrighi. Antonio is a Multitalented Wine Entrepreneur , who welcomed me in Elba for my interview with him. Antonio picked me up at the bar with his car to reach Porto Azzurro, which is the second most important inhabited center of the Island. It was a fortune Antonio drove me to this quaint hamlet , where I spent the rest of my long weekend, as I preferred not to use any mean of transport to go around Elba. This was not only just because of my not  brilliant driving skill, but also because it was not needed as my nice and very well-equipped “Belmare Hotel” was at my fingertips and easily available to me. By the way, for excellent “pilots” and for longer holiday periods in Elba, there are motorbikes (which are the best solutions for exlporing the whole Island and navigating through the traffic, which can be very heavy in July and August!) and cars to rent  at decent rates everywhere . After I unpacked my bags in Porto Azzurro, Antonio and me had our lunch at “Sopravento” Restaurant to speak about how to arrange my time with him for my post about his incredible Winery in Elba . First  my attention was captured by our succulent seafood dishes: “scialatelli” (a type of thick and short fettuccine or linguine-like pasta made in Campania) with lobsters, and a wide range of starters and crudités paired with his Fruity White Wine “Eraora”, made from Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni (Riesling and Pinot Blanc) grapes. Then, as he started to talk about himself, I was asborbed in his Life Story definitely!

Antonio Arrighi
My interview with Antonio Arrighi 

Antonio Arrighi was born in the room number 13 of my “Belmare Hotel” in Porto Azzurro, which belonged to his father, what a happy coincidenceAntonio was raised in a family of experienced hoteliers and restaurateurs with a long tradition of  hospitality in Elba. In 1960, when tourism was booming in Elba, the  Arrighi Family started the hotel business, and in 1970 run a farm for its hotel clients producing different types of meat (pork, rabbit, etc), flowers, peaches and grapes. As a child Antonio was always involved behind the scenes.  In 1980 Antonio became  a Sommelier (he is still being part of the Elba Delegation of “AIS Toscana”) not only to take care of  his vineyards, but also for making excellent Wine! In 1995 a great opportunity knocked on his door , when Antonio undertook an ambitious project in collaboration with the Tuscan Region and with Paolo Storchi, Senior Researcher at CREA (Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural) of Arezzo. It was about understanding which International Grape Varieties along with the local ones could grow in Elba. The answer for  this question was:  Syrah, Sagrantino and Tempranillo for Red Wines and Incrocio Manzoni, Chardonnay , and Viognier for White Wines. Antonio went on with planting these selected International Grape Varieties in his land, being drought and diseas resistant, they complied with high quality standards and delivered consistent results time after time. Since 2000 onwards Antonio was fully dedicated to his Winemaking Passion, which turned into his main activity helped by his supportive and close family. Antonio is very proud of his partner Giada, his two daughters Giulia and Ilaria and his son Matteo, and they represent a point of reference not only for himslef but also for the family business future. Antonio had his cold limoncello and went away for his job tasks and I went back to my hotel to sleep a little bit. Late in the evening after my little nap, I wandered through the narrow streets of Porto Azzurro, along “Via Solferino”, “Via dei Martiri” and “Via XXV Aprile”, which were coloured by the balcony flower pots,  by the souvenirs shops and by the moon which had risen over the harbour. I admired  the main square called “Piazza Matteotti”, this is  a magnificent  meeting point for the locals and the heart of social life in Elba. I relaxed ther having a delicous “apericena” in the  nice “Bar Corinto” with a tasty Seafood Sandwich and a wonderful Spritz ! From “Piazza Matteotti” I continued down the main streets of the harbor “Via Vitaliani” and “Banchina 4 Novembre” , looking  all around and noticing how much Beauty was in every corner of this old fishing town.  Nothing was left to chance, like a terrific Brazilian pub “All’ Arco Antico” , where I had my last drink, a sparkling local White Wine. I was a little bit tipsy to remember its name, sorry! 

Belmare Hotel, Porto Azzurro
Belmare Hotel, Porto Azzurro

2nd Day. Arrighi Winery and Wine Tradition in Elba: Vinification in Amphora

Being Sicilian, I am used to waking up in a Mediterranean Islet with a Delicious Breakfast and a Black Hot Coffee! My morning buffet with fresh bread, marmellade and my Espresso at my cheerful “Belmare Hotel” in Porto Azzurro stirred up my homeland memories!

I set outside on the terrace looking out to see the first light of the day, while the sea-gulls were playing with the wind and  the  fishermen where spreading their nets. I was embraced by a warm  and Mediterranean Atmosphere, and  soon after , as the heat was closing in on me, I took a refreshing dip  in a small cove near Porto Azzurro city center. Nothing better than this, it set me up perfectly  for the upcoming Wonder of my Your in Elba, my visit to “Arrighi Winery”

Porto Azzurro
Porto Azzurro 

At about eleven o’ clock Antonio collected me from the hotel to see his estate in “Piano al Monte”, an area in the eastern hills of Porto Azzurro, within the Tuscan Archipelago National Park . We arrived at his Winery after only a  few minutes drive, then Antonio and I rode on a Quad to go around  his Amphitheatre of Grapevines and his Trekking Wine Paths in “Piano al Monte”. While we rode  he talked about his tremendous existence! From what he said it’s clair that Antonio is very fond of his Family and of his “Arrighi Winery”, whose secret ingredients are Passion, Tradition, and Innovation. With a production of about 40,000 bottles per year Antonio‘s property extends over 12 hectares, of which 7 are vineyards with 300 olive trees. The Goal of Antonio‘s Enterprise is to produce Wine from its Own Grapes and to experiment with New Ones, which are best suited to the Elba  Terroir, an Island which is made from Iron (Elba has always been a font of Iron Ore, and while extraction ended in 1960, it’s  still the richest source in Italy for Iron), Clay, Sea, Sun and Mild Climate all the year long (the average annual temperature is around 17° C with relatively limited precipitation, generally concentrated in autumn and winter). Elba is full of Wineries and Vineyards , which occupy different terrains from distinct geological formations, and because of these varied soils Elban Wines flourish with unique organoleptic characteristiscs.

Arrighi Winery
Arrighi Winery

Antonio pointed out that Elba’s Geography was very interesting, as it was the largest remaining portion of land that once connected the Italian Peninsula to Corsica. Elba boasts a wide variety of Terrains and Landscapes with High Mountains, Valleys, and Small Costal Plains. A third of the surface area is above 200m, and the Highest Point, “Monte Capanne”, is 1019 meters above sea lavel. Elba can be separated into distinct growing areas with varying soils, which is why such a vast array of grapes are grown on the Island, each one suited to its distinctive Terroir. The West part of Elba is quite Mountainous, while the Central one has Sandy and Clay Sedimentary Soils. It’s here that most of the Beaches and Flatter Plains lie. In the East part, there are two Mountain Chains separated by a plain called the “Mola Plain”,  which stretches for about 2 km until the beach resort  “Lido di Capoliveri”. This area is largely cultivated;  in fact along the main road that crosses the plain you can meet various stalls where you can buy fruits and vegetables. The area of “Mola” takes its name from its gulf, a natural and shining  bay, which is always crowded with coloured fishing boats.

Antonio ArrighiArrighi Winery’s Philosophy

Antonio reminded me that the origin of Elban Viticulture was very Old, and this sector together with Farming, Fishing and Iron and Granite Mining Activities made up  a significant portion of the economy before Tourism’s environmental and social affected the Island.  Antonio‘ s best quality is Creativity. He has the Imagination to create in his Mind a Wine and later he knows how to  realise it in his Winery. That’s because as Antonio says: ” Winemaking is an Art  as well as a Science, and having the ability to think outside the Box and to Improvise, when needed, are Critical Skills to be successful”. Antonio is intuitive and perceptive enough to be able to understand Elba ‘s  Terroir and coax out its Maximum Potential, so that his Wines reflect their Origin and have their Own Personality. As Antonio‘s aim  is to produce Wine from his Own Grapes and to experiment with the New ones, which suit better the Island Terroir,  it has led him to develop two lines of Wine Production:

Arrighi Wines
Arrighi Wines

Listening to Antonio tall about his Passion for Elba makes you wish to return again and again. I absolutely believe it , especially after tasting his labels in his Winery with other Wine Lovers , all there aiming to grap Elba‘s Spirit. Besides Antonios  Aleatico Winegar “Ace di Ale” , his liquors “Limoncino” / “Arancino”, and his Olive Oil, here my Top 9 Reasons for your Next Travel to Porto Azzurro

  • “Ilagiù Elba White D.O.C.”it’s a mineral and fruity Wine, which is made from 80% Procanico and a small amount of Biancone, Ansonica ; its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature  ; 
  • “Era Ora White  IGT”: it’s a round and dry White Wine with good acidity, which is made from Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni; its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature , and part of this Wine has been aged in French oak barriques ;
  • “Mattanto D.O.C.” :  it’s made from 100% Ansonica (5000 plants per hectare ), and its  flavour is dry, full and soft, and it’s one of the most important label. Its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature ; 
  • “V.I.P. Viognier White I.G.T. “: it’s one my favourite one! It’s a mineral and fruity White Wine, which is made from 100% Viognier (6000 plants per hectare); its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature with  3 months of bottles aging; 
  • “Hermia Vinum in Amphora White I.G.T.” : it’s a particular White Wine made from 100% Viognier , which is elegant and light due to a Natural Winemaking with Terracotta Amphorae made by “Artenova” from Impruneta (800 litres )-with a 20% of the grapes skins and a 6 months bottles aging, . Its name recalls a “Hermia”, an ancient slave, who was a cellar master for a Roman Villa found in “San Giovanni”, an Elban village near Portoferrario
  • “Valerius White I.G.T. “: it’s a great White Wine made from 100% Ansonica (6000 plants per hectare) with Vinifcation in Terracotta Amphora (220 litres)-with its grape skins and 3 months bottles aging. It’s a very soft , harmonious and persistent White Wine with a good sapidity; 
  • “Isola in Rosa Rosé I.G.T. “: it’s a delicate Rosé Wine made from 100% Syrah (5000 plants per hectare), which brings to mind thoughts of Southern France with its pale coral hue; it’s aged 4 months in bottles; 
  • “Centopercento Elba Red D.O.C.” : it’s a full-body and fruity Red Wine made from 80 % Sangiovese and 20% Syrah (5000 plants per hectare); Its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature with 6/8 days maceration and aging in bottles for 6 months; 
  • “Tresse Anfora Red I.G.T.” : it’s a spicy and rich Wine made from Sangioveto, Syrah, and Sagrantino. It’s the only Wine from 2016 (all the other Tasting Wines are from 2018), because before this date it was vinificated in oak barriques. In 2018 thanks to the help of “Arrighi Winery”‘s Enologist Laura Zuddas, Antonio vinificated the “Tresse” in Terracotta Amphorae, like the old Romans did! Antonio likes this kind of vinification, because Terracotta is a simple and natural material comparable to wood, which allows Wines to breath without releasing any flavors to them. That’s why “Tresse” is a full-bodied Wine that passionately embraces the palate preserving refinement, revealing itself chromatically with the illusion of a berry syrup, and so touching the glass and softly marking it;
  • “Siloso Elba Aleatico Passito Red D.O.C.G. “ : This straw Wine is the first to have gained recognition in the smaller Italian islands. What makes this Wine a product so valuable? This wonderful raisin Wine is made exclusively from 100 % Aleatico grapes  and its intense ruby red colour, and its  cherries aroma is the perfect pairing with sweets like the traditional Elban “schiaccia ubriaca”, a round and soft Christmas cake with the peculiarity of having red wine in the dough. 
Antonio Arrighi & Professor Attilio Scienza

Sometimes you just start to wonder if you actually want to recommend a place, because it will become even more popular and lose some of its authentic charms. However, “Arrighi Winery”‘ is just too good not no be mentioned! The Wines were as fabulous as their reasonables prices. Besides providing very Good Quality Wines, Antonio was highly professional in helping me and all the other guests  with the organisation and customization of the Wine Tasting. Each of us was very satisified with all. Antonio is such a gorgeous Person and you can just feel the Passion that he puts behind his work. His stories about the Wines and the different tastings were just brilliant.  Please, make yourself comfortable, relax, and breathe normally, that’s not all! Antonio is undoubtedly facing another exceptional challenge to which I dedicate a short comment here below!  

Antonio Arrighi
Antonio Arrighi made Wine how Greek did 2500 years ago in Chio Island

Arrighi’s experiment with Old Greek Wine in Chio Island 

Antonio could already glimpse the Enormous Potential offered by Elba as a Wine-Making Region, whose Wine Heritage dates back to Greek  (10th Century B.C.), Etruscan (6th Century B.C.), and Roman (5th Century B.C.) period. All these Ancient Settlers left their indelible signs on Winemaking in the Island, like for example the  Vinification in Terracotta Amphorae, an old technique that Antonio displayed with scientific rigor in his Winery. All  this is already causing quite a stir! There are traces of a Glorious Past in Wine Production and Trading in two recent discoveries in Elba (2013) : five large Terracotta Amphorae (1500 litres each) in  a Roman Villa in an area called  “Le Grotte” , and other ones  found on board of Roman Shipwrecks around the Island.
 
There is no evidence relating to Elban Viticulture during Middle Age, but it’s documented that Elban Wine had a good reputation and a trading for fair price in Tuscany. At the end of the 18th and for all the 19th Century the Elban Viticulture enjoyed remarkable development, thanks also to Napoleon’ s attention to Wine-Growing and to the Wines, as he was Emperor of Elba in 1814. Between 1850 and 1860, following several disasters (mildew; vine louse), the Wine Production dropped dramatically in Elba, but in 1878 it recovered again, when it produced about 20 times more as the current production, and after that it went down again. At that time Elba landscape was marked by Vineyards Terraces, covering the hillsides as high as 400 m above sea level. By the way, from the ’60s there was a Continuos Decrease in Number of Vineyards in Elba due to the increase of Tourism and Urbanization.  Today Vineyards cover about 300 ectars of the Island, and only about 125 of them are on the official D.O.C. Register. Now most of the previous Terracings are either covered in Wild Bushes and Trees, or Buildings have been put in their place, and people tend to prefer Growing Vines where the ground is flat and where picking the grapes can be done with modern machinery. It’s only in recent years that Wines from Elba have gone up in Quality, thanks to the commitiment of a handful of Well Organised Wineries and local Organizations,  whose only aim is to obtain  High Quality Products
 
Vinification in Terracotta Amphorae
Vinification in Terracotta Amphorae

Antonio has always been a Visionaire. In 2018 he organized the  “Elba Aleatico Day “ , a Wine and Oil Exhibition supported by the “AIS of Elba” and by the “Ministry of Agriculture”. Professor Attilio Scienza, an Agronomist at Milano University, was assigned as  Rapporteur in order to  speak about his Wine Knowledge and Experience to the attendees. After the Event Antonio and Professor  Scienza made friendship and whipped into shape a Great experiment: to make Wine how Greek did in Chio Island 2500 years ago! This Ancient Greek Wine had to be a full bodied, sweet and high alcohol Wine able to undertake long journeys on the sea, and then to be diluited with water during the banquets and celebrations . Antonio fulfilled Professor Scienza‘s desire to plow himself in this direction in Elba , after several failed attempts in other small islands in  Southern Italy. In collaboration with Pisa University and Professor  Scienza , Antonio revealed the Secret of this Old Greek Wine with his personal innovations!  First of all Antonio reproduced this Ancient Technique using Ansonica grapes, which are similar to the Old Chio ones. Then, he pulled down Ansonica grapes, held in Sardinian Wicker Baskets, into the Sea Water of Porto Azzurro down to approximately 7 meters for 5 days. After Antonio took Ansonica grapes out of the Sea Water, these  grapes were dehydrated,  dried on mats and finally vinified in Terracotta Amphorae. For this Wine is allowed some maceration between the Skins and Must. What are the most important aspects of all this ?

  •  First: Sea Water dissolves the characteristic wax bloom layer that covers the grapes; in this way grapes maturation becomes faster;
  • Second: Sea Salt is ideal for preserving Wine in a natural and gentle way!

After many centuries Amphora found its place once again in Winemaking with minimal interventions. I cannot scientifically state if history repeats itself, but what I can say with certainty is that the Amphora has returned to the Winemaking front almost after 2000 years and as it seems it came to stay for long! Certainly, the Result of Antonio‘ s Adventure is a Strong and Sapid Wine. Previewing this “Old Greek Wine” at “Arrighi Winery”, before it’s improved year after year and released to retail, makes me feel real Special,  ! 

There is also a documentary film called “Vinum Iinsulae” shot by the Elban register Stefano Muti , which immortalizes  Antonio’s undertaking . This is a 15 minutes trailer, which was awarded at the Marsille’s Film Festival “Aenovideo 2019” . In October 2019 Antonio is going to collect his prize personally at “Luxenbourg Palace” in Paris

Antonio Arrighi
Antonio Arrighi and his son Matteo 

I could not believe what I experienced and how a Strong Passion for the Territory and Wine drove  Antonio to make his dreams come true  becoming an Execellent Winemaker. Antonio cultivates Vineyards with Care and Dedication, and he is enthusiast and resourceful , animated by the desire of producing Wines interpreting the typical characteristics of Vineyards where he  plaid as child. Wine is a Magic World, combining the Patient Work in the Vineyard to the Wise and Careful Pocessing in the Vinery. It connects Past with Future. “Arrighi Winery”‘ is the consequence of a Strong Winemaking Passion that combines Past and Present to affect the consumer transmitting him the deep bond between this Wine Company and Elba.

Barbarossa Beach

After the superb Wine Tasting, I wallowed in a Turquoise Sea at “Barbarossa Beach” on the way  back to my hotel on the last day of my holiday. “Barbarossa” is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches of the of Porto Azzurro. You can get there on foot from Porto Azzurro harbour thanks to a path that runs along the coast, passing under the prison’s walls. Walking along this beautiful scenic path you can arrive at the “Barbarossa Beach” in about 15 minutes. “Barbarossa Beach”  has a sandy shore mixed with multicolored pebbles ranging from red to gray and brown; it has both free access and beach clubs, offering rental services of umbrellas, sunbeds and paddle boats, as well as dressing cabins, shower and lifeguard.

Arrighi Winery
Dinner at “Locanda Cecconi” and my friend Walter Cecchoni, owner of “Scoglio Bianco Hotel” at Viticcio Bay

It was pleasant to stay at the “Barbarossa Beach” till my stomach rambled! I went away to have a shower in my hotel dreaming for my last dinner in the Island. I booked at “Locanda Cecconi” as Antonio suggested! Federico with his mother run this cosy and friendly Restaurant in the heart of Porto Azzurro. I had the Best Grilled Octopus of my Life, which was served on a creamy potato and on home-made bread. My friend Walter joined me for the dessert time, and he entertained me finely with his anecdotes about Elba and about his delightful  “Scoglio Bianco Hotel”, which is situated in the appealing bay of Viticcio.

Arrighi Winery Elba

Thanks Antonio!

Antonio never cease to amaze! When he doesn’t work at his Wineyards, he Jogs early at 5 o’ clock in the morning. In this way he proves his fidelity to have been an excellent Triathlon Runner  in the past, when he also used to cross the Desert or to get lost in Giordania ! Due to lack of time, Antonio cannot travel so much, but being ambassador of his island, he does not have a moment of rest! By the way, he partecipates in the most important trade fairs, visits the Companies of Producers Friends, holds  conferences, and attends University Lectures Halls as a Teacher.

Arrighi's Family
Antonio Arrighi, Giulia Arrighi and the enologist Laura Zuddas

I have Fallen in Love with Elba . I cannot wait to return! Go to Elba if you want a Good  Life, and  let me know if you need my Assistance !

Drinking Good Wine with Good Food in Good Company is One of Life’s most Civilized Pleasures

 

Enjoy it! 

Stefania

thanks to my friend  Kim Harris for editing it!

Terre di Toscana 2019, Event in Tuscany

Terre di Toscana 2019

Tuscany is well-known all over the world for Its Beauty. Tuscany is a golden hue of sunflower fields and pale green grape wines, that  line in rows, framing a stone farmhouse, Renaissance tower, or a decorative church. There are  long gravel roads, leading to villas and vineyards, romantically decorated with soaring cypress trees.

Tuscany is a combination of Natural and Man-Made Wonder, and famous  for masterfully producing Red, White, and Dessert Wines with world-renowned Food that can accompany each glass. So, how can you experience this real-life fantasy? Let’s go to an amazing Wine Tasting called “Terre di Toscana 2019”On the 3th /4th March 2019 I didn’t miss the twelfth edition of “Terre di Toscana 2019” , a  Wine Event organized by “Acqua Buona” that took place  inside the “Una Hotel ” in Camaiore

Top Tuscan Wineries

Every year  “Terre di Toscana 2019” is the most definitive event about Tuscan Wines . Over 130 talented Wine Makers and Producers gathered up for two  days to showcase their Wines to Trade and Wine Lovers. The program included Local Product Tastings, such as Cheese, ham, sausages and pastry, and Cooking Shows. “Acqua Buona”selected precisely the following   Wineries: 

 “Terre di Toscana 2019” is  for Wine Enthusiast  who wanted to expand their  knowledge about Tuscan Wine, and a great opportunity to  taste the Top Tuscan White & Red Wines as well as the best Chianti Classico Wine in the very area that bears its name. Hundreds of stands are set up in the charming “Una Hotel ”  , an exclusive estate directly overlooking the beautiful  Tyrrhenian sea.  “Terre di Toscana 2019“is not only about enjoying a glass or two with some good grub, but it’s also a chance to wet your palate and stock up on the region’s best established and up-and-coming Vintages. 

Here My “Terre di Toscana 2019”  Top Tuscan Wines List

Caiarossa Bianco 2016: This elegant and balanced White Wine is an expression of both varietal Viognier and Chardonnay cultivated on the most chalky terroir of the estate. The name of Caiarossa was coined as a homage to the soil, which is characterized by the presence of jasper, rock and pebbles intensely red in color.  Caiarossa Winery  history began in 1998, taking as its guide the principles of organic agriculture for the cultivation of the vineyards and that of geo-dynamics and the oriental discipline of Feng Shui for the construction of the cellars.

Poggio ai Ginepri Vermentino 2016, Argentiera: It’s an elegant and fruity White Wine made from Vermentino 90% and Sauvignon Blanc 10%. Intense straw yellow in color. Fresh on the nose with fruit-forward notes of pear, banana and apricot. On the palate, floral tones of lavender and white flowers . On the palate, It’s  fresh and easy drinking; truly well balanced. A long, flavorful finish is pronounced by aromatics and definitive minerality.

Sassicaia 2016, Tenuta San Guido: The “Sassicaia by Tenuta San Guido” is an important and legendary wine, a Bordeaux blend of Bolgheri, aged for 24 months in barrique. Intense and complex, rich of herbaceous and mineral aromas, wild fruits, graphite, Mediterranean scrub, and with a soft and robust character, it embodies the essence of Supertuscan;

Sterpato 2015,  Varramista: This is a ruby red wine of medium intensity. It is made from Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 10%, and Cabernet 10%. To the nose It presents fruity and slightly spicy notes reminiscent of wild berries. The flavour is smooth, lively, easy to drink, well-balanced, persistent. 

Ixe Pietro Beconcini Tempranillo Toscana: It’s a fantastic Italian  version of the Spanish grape called “Tempranillo” that is able to grow in San Miniato. The extraordinary adaptation of these vines to this part of Tuscany gives birth to a unique and generous Red Wine. It’s a fruity and mineral Red Wine, with violet and blue highlights typical of this Vine. 

Reciso 2013 Pietro Beconcini: It’s a Super Tuscan, a Red Wine made from Sangiovese, is produced in very limited quantities. It’s a ruby and intense red Wine.

Falluca Cabernet Franc: A great wine to satisfy the most discerning palates. It has a dual personality: complex and deep, reveals hints of red fruits like black currant, strawberry and raspberry while being oxygenated in the glass. Fine and elegant it has all the characteristics of the grape and our territory. We like to drink it slowly, because it changes every time, glass after glass, all the evening and the following day too.

Mastro Janni 2014, 2016, 2017 : The good thermal excursions of the year 2013, combined with the pebble and the tuff of Vigna Loreto, have allowed the local Sangiovese to express itself with personality and elegance. Always balanced between strength and refinement, this Brunello is defined by an intriguing succession of notes of fruit, sweet spices and tobacco, which find admirable synthesis in a large, rich and vigorous structure.

Le Pergole  Torte 2016: It’s one of the most prestigious Red Wine made from 100% Sangiovese in Tuscany.  It is aged for about 12 months in Slavonian oak barrels and for about 12 months in Allier barriques. It s a Red Wine with a long history . It reminds us of  blackberry,  cherry, chocolate,  and tobacco Smooth, complex, and elegant attack, with intense notes of black berries, ripe tannins, lovely acidity over a long finish.

 

“alla prossima” 

Enjoy It ! 

Stefania

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