Podere Marcampo

Podere Marcampo, Volterra

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”
Paulo Coelho

Podere Marcampo, Volterra, Tuscany

Six years ago two things happened to change my life. First of all I fell in love with Tuscany and then I became a sommelier. These were the starting points allowing me to discover the hidden delights of the Pisa wine country, a charming sun kissed land, stretching from the hills to the sea, blessed by God, as beautiful as unexpected!

Wine runs deep in the veins of Tuscany, being woven into the cultural identity of this central Italian paradise. Pisa wines are synonymous with excellence thanks to the efforts of many skilled professionals.‘Podere Marcampo’ is one of the most important wineries in the area being representative of Pisa and its province.  ‘Pisa Hills is not only a ‘DOC label’ but also a ‘wine road’ playing an increasingly important role in wine production in Tuscany and it is a wine area that is on the rise only recently starting to get the recognition that is deserves. ‘Pisa Hills meanders through the hills of the valley of the Era River and the lower part of the Arno Valley crossing a territory with traditions dating back to the time of the Etruscans. If you head towards this entrancing place you will be greeted by an environment almost untouched by modernity ranging from picturesque scenery of mesmerising color set amongst the trees to places where wine and oil are still cultivated and produced in the traditional way. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is an organic biodynamic wine estate which reflects all the beauty and wine production potential of the ‘Pisa Hills’ area.

Claudia del Duca

I sipped the elegant ‘Podere Marcampo’ wines for the first time at ‘Terre di Toscana’, a wine exhibition which took place at the ‘Luna Hotel’ in Viarreggio. I really liked these wines and Claudia Del Duca, the owner of ‘Podere Marcampo’, described them with reverence.

Claudia was very friendly, professional and kind, though what impressed me the most about her was her dedication to her work and her love for wine which was shared with her parents Genuino and Ivana. I promised myself to return again to her winery for another memorable experience! I arrived at ‘Podere Marcampo’ on a rainy day in late November in Volterra. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is a family farm business which produces both excellent and also rare red and white wines, extra virgin olive oil and grappa. At the front of her estate surrounded by lush and verdant countryside, Claudia welcomed me with a big smile. Looking at this scene where sky and sea converge at the Tuscan horizon in an endless embrace I felt overcome with emotion as we sat down in a small patio near the front of her private residence, where we talked about the history of her family . 

Genuino del Duca

Claudia explained that ‘Podere Marcampo’ was born in 1971 when her father Genuino , having been promoted at work as a policeman, had moved from Abruzzo to Volterra and came up with the idea of transforming his passion for food and wine into a full time job. He wanted to create a new career in food and wine, so that he could resign from his day to day work as a policeman, and worked hard to make this dream come true! In the beginning it was not easy, though having climbed through the ranks at work in 2001 he was able to open a small inn in Saline, a small town near Volterra. By 2003 he had earned enough money to be able to open an exclusive restaurant in the center of Volterra, ‘Enoteca del Duca’ which is still running today! In 2005 he managed to buy ‘Marcampo’ a historic homestead, which had been abandoned though captured his heart as well as sparking his imagination. Genuino restored ‘Marcampo’ shortly afterwards transforming it into what ‘Podere Marcampo’ is today, an extraordinary holiday home as well as a farm and winery surrounded by four hectares of countryside, where to produce his wine he takes care of the best local grapes (Vermentino, Merlot, Sangiovese, Pugnitello and Ciliegiolo). Genuino  had to work hard to make his land suitable for wine growing because of the original salt and clay content of the soil. He had to plant the best rootstocks with roots to a maximum depth of 1 meter and having made sure that his preparation has been the best winemaking is now not so much of a challenge as more of an opportunity. Today, ‘Podere Marcampo’ is a real gem situated within the National Park known as ‘Le Balze’, a magical place where visitors can slow down and unwind. There is an outdoor swimming pool, a sunlit terrace, vineyards, gardens and imposing vistas of the Tuscan countryside encouraging guests to explore this modern wine country retreat, a corner of the world created for relaxation of body and soul with manicured cypress trees, sunflowers, olive groves and vineyards.

 

Podere Marcampo Tour

After a short walk through the vineyards Claudia explained the winemaking process starting with the working of the land to the bottling in the wine cellar and this for me was the best part of the tour.

In the tasting room I sampled high quality wines paired with homemade cured meats and local cheeses. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is completely handworked by Genuino and Claudia and is organic, completely free of any pesticides. A couple of million years ago this area lay at the bottom of the sea so the soil is rich in fossil shells and is characterised by a particular geology of sand, silt, clay and limestone which has been stable for centuries giving a complexity, structure and minerality to these well balanced wines. These are the best award winning labels I tasted:

‘Terrablu’: made from Vermentino and Malvasia the grapes are first processed by the modern technique of maceration in order to preserve all the aromas of the variety followed by four months of fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. On the palate there are notes of lime, almond, green apple and white florals with a unique sense of refreshing acidity, its charm being in its delicate, briny nose and long, fresh palate;

‘Giusto alle Balze’: made from a careful and limited selection of 100% Merlot, vinified in stainless steel vats, then aged in oak barrels for 12 months the wine is then left to settle for another 6 months before bottling. It is my favourite wine because of its soft and sensual texture and approachable style being a velvety red wine that pairs well with the best Tuscan foods. This wine has won the Silver Medal at ‘Mondial du Merlot’ in Lugano and the ‘Concours Mondial Merlot’ in Brussels;

‘Severus’: made from a selection of 100% Sangiovese, vinified in stainless steel vats then aged in oak barrels for 12 months, this wine is then left to settle for another 12 months before bottling. Tasting of clove spice and cherries this wine is like drinking Christmas. It is also savoury providing a wide range of tastes from the very earthy and rustic to the rounded and red fruit;

‘Marcampo’: made from 50% Sangiovese and 50% Merlot, these two varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel vats and blended after 12 months in oak barrels. The wine is left to settle for another 6 months before being bottled. It is a powerful combination of the sweet, juicy, fruit flavors of Merlot and the rustic, sour-cherry tang of Sangiovese. It reminds me of a duet between a soprano and a bass as you can hear each one distinctly since they sing at different frequencies and the feeling is one of absolute pleasure;

‘Genuino’: made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot, these two varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel vats and then blended and bottled after 10 months. ‘Genuino’ is a medium bodied moderately tannic wine with a lovely cherry flavor which impresses with its ruby red, vinous though also fruity and floral, dry and firm taste.

From the start Genuino and Claudia make wines just as they envisage them. Their winemaking takes its course, the grapes being gently guided through a gentle process until they arrive at carefully selected barrels for resting, maturing and evolving. The more I meet the winemakers of Italy, the more I gain an appreciation for what is in my glass. Years of hard work, research and experimentation have gone into tending the vines to create a product that brings so much pleasure and joy to the palate.

Enoteca del Duca restaurant Volterra
Enoteca del Duca restaurant Volterra

L’Enoteca del Duca. Volterra

After our fantastic wine tasting, Genuino , Claudia and myself made our way down to ‘Enoteca del Duca’ their restaurant in the centre of Volterra. Genuino’s wife, Ivana runs this fine and intimate restaurant which is equipped with a terrific outdoor garden and excellent wine cellar housed in a historic building situated between the ‘acropolis’ and ‘Priori Square’

L ‘Enoteca del Duca’ offers gourmet cuisine and the menu changes according to the season and the availability of ingredients. My lunch there was really wonderful and the service impeccable. I tried their best wines along with the ‘burrata’ and vegetable soufflé as well as their home-made pasta in beef broth and their boar stew. The quality of food was outstanding, the ambience wonderfully inviting and the exquisite wine list to die for. When you go, ask to see their beautiful wine cellar which is packed with many unknown treasures! Genuino’s family form a perfect team when it comes to satisfying food and wine lovers. Claudia also organizes cooking classes at their farm demonstrating how to make fresh pasta or ‘focaccia’ whilst also allowing you to discover the secrets of homemade cake making all under the guidance of a professional Italian chef.

Volterra

It was time to go and I thanked Genuino and Claudia warmly for the wonderful memories they had provided me. They had made me feel at home and now I have yet another good reason to return to Volterra to be able to admire its considerable treasures.

Actually I am familiar with Volterra as three years ago I started working there as an English teacher. At the time it was really challenging having to go to Volterra every day from Pisa, considering that I was also attending a sommelier course in Lucca at the time though everything worked out well in the end and now I am really happy.I had enough time during this period to explore Volterra, a delightful, old hamlet full of history dating back to before 7BC with Etruscan, Roman and Medieval art and culture. The narrow streets are full of old are full of old churches, palaces, secret chapels, intimate restaurants and alabaster shops where you can watch artisans at work. Alabaster has long been a big industry in Volterra. Softer and easier to work than marble, this translucent material was traditionally thinly sliced to provide windows for Italy’s medieval churches. The best way to appreciate Volterra is to walk through its cobbled lanes, enjoying the beautiful ‘Palazzo dei Priori’, the Cathedral, the evocative ruins of the ‘Roman Amphitheater’ and the beautiful park dominated by the ‘Medicean Fortress’ with its ‘Rocca del Mastio’.

Other things to see in Volterra include:

The Alabaster Eco Museum’: Volterra has an ancient alabaster tradition. Art fans can watch sculptors at work and can purchase locally made alabaster in the studio shop;

The Etruscan Museum’: The museum is full of rare artefacts from centuries before Christ. There are decorated pot handles and crafted jewellery, the museum’s extensive collection of urns being a reminder that the Etruscans believed that the afterlife could be fun;

The Volterra City Museum and Art Gallery’: Housed in the ‘Minucci-Solaini Palace’, it contains the famous painting ‘The Deposition’ by Rosso Fiorentino;

• ‘Roman Cistern’: Located at the top of the hill by the ‘Medicean Fortress’, the it can be accessed by a winding iron staircase.

In recent years Volterra has attracted international recognition for its connection with the ‘Twilight’ series of books and movies, part of the second movie ‘New Moon’ being set in Volterra though most of the movie was actually filmed in another Tuscan town. More than 2000 years ago Volterra was a key trading center and one of the most important Etruscan cities and was protected by a wall four miles long, twice the length of the wall that encircles Volterra today. You can still see the mighty Etruscan gate, built from volcanic stone.

Tuscany is a pretty large region, and all of it is stunning. There is so much to see and do that I can’t suggest any particula good guide or website! But even in the short time I spent here, there’s so much to recommend to you I don’t even know where to start! It would be a good idea to enjoy any good wines here,  not just to drink them, but to experience the people, places, and cultures  . Even Bacchus, the god of wine, would envy a road trip through Tuscany’s wine heartlands, marveling at the most spectacular scenery on earth. To taste, drink and dine exceedingly well, this magical land has no peers. For who could resist the sumptuous, extravagantly green, the undulating farm fields that look like a painting, the twisty rural roads, the dreamy sunsets, and the circles of trees perched just so in resplendent tableaus? But it’s not just the culture, the art, the food, the wine, and the landscape. Beauty is in the DNA of Tuscans. The  Tuscans consider themselves the inheritors and stewards of a centuries-long legacy of beauty. Every tree that’s planted, every farmhouse that’s restored, every road that’s re-routed — it’s all carefully considered not only on practical or economic merits, but also on aesthetics. Get lost among  this huge amount of artistic wonders! 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Fattoria di Fibbiano

Pisa Hills Wines

On the 6th December 2018 I attended a Conference Press hold by the Pisa Chamber of Commerce  for the lunch of “Terre di Pisa”, the New Tourist Brand and Project for promoting Pisa’s Cultural Heritage and its Wine Making Tradition.

On that occasion I met Nicola Cantoni, who participated as  moderator and as President of Pisa Consortium Wine . This  was founded in 2018 to protect  the Appellation of  “Terre di Pisa Wines” and to develop an internationally-renowned model for producing High-Quality Wines in Pisa and its Province.  That event was open to the Members of  “Terre di Pisa” , and during our Wine Tasting Break , I had the pleasure to exchange two words with Nicola,who invited me to visit his estate at Fattoria di Fibbiano  in order to comprehend better his Love for his job and his complex and fascinating Tourist & Wine Affair Management in Tuscany. With the sunny season approaching fast, It was time to go to Fattoria di Fibbiano , but It was quite impossible to fix a date ,  as Nicola was always really busy  !  I was afraid of losing this great chance to be there, but few days ago  his brother  Matteo Cantoni welcomed me at their  Fattoria di Fibbiano with open arms. I came in this beautiful place as a guest, and  left as a friend! Matteo did everything possible to be available for My Interview and my  Exclusive Wine Tasting despite his daily commitments. Lucky me! As I arrived at Fattoria di Fibbiano , Matteo  greeted me with a friendly smile and a firm handshake. First Matteo told me all about his Family’s History and activity , then I visited the cellar and the vineyards , and finally I had my Great Wine Tasting. I had lots of fun with him for the whole duration of my tour in a sunny day of  March. Moreover, I learned lot of things about this stunning part of Tuscany where his estate is, that is called the Era Valley, close to Pisa and Volterra, which is not well-known to a general public for its Wine production. This territory is fast becoming an essential reference point for Tuscan Wine, indeed for Italian Wine. Matteo‘s Kindness , and  Passion for What he Does  deserve a honorable mention! Let’s discover together his treasure hidden among  Tuscan sunflowers.

Fattoria di Fibbiano’s History

In 1997 Giuseppe Cantoni, with his wife Tiziana and sons Matteo and Nicola, moved from  Lombardy to Tuscany. They were looking for  a successful  Wine Making business living a life far away from the noise of the city and close to nature. Therefore, they purchased a  Medieval Villa at that time, that belonged to the noble family Gherardi del Testa Barasaglia in the 12th century . They  renovated it all and turned it into what Fattoria di Fibbiano is today, a thriving Agricultural Entrepreneurship.

Their adventure from North Italy in Tuscany  was not only the result of a  desire to search for  their El Dorado, but  also  a sign of Destiny printed in one of their first  label “Fonte delle Donne” (“Women Fountain”) .  This exquisite White Wine is made from Colombana, an old grape that grew spontaneously around a miraculous water source near the estate. According to tradition, the Colombana grape was introduced by San Columbanus ‘ followers in the 17th century , when these famous Irish abbots decided to settle here living behind their Milan area. Upon their arrival in their estate, Cantoni Family realized they were not the only foreigners who fell  in love with Tuscany,  finding  the right place where to be ! Bringing to light  the old farmstead was not easy, but all that work  devoted to transform an old ruin into a jewelry was fully rewarded, as Cantoni Family carries on a prospering farming activity today, respecting land and the local traditions. Giuseppe, the father, deals with the General Management of the Middle Age Estate and takes care of the vineyards and countryside. Matteo, the eldest of the two sons, is in charge of Marketing the Wines and his brother, Nicola, is the Winemaker . 

Fattoria di Fibbiano, a Corner of Tuscan Paradise

Fattoria di Fibbiano is not only home to a prestigious Agritourism with a pool,  but also to an exclusive Modern Winery and an amazing Lounge Bar .  It is  located at n. 2 via Fibbiano , in the municipality of Terricciola.

Terricciola is a delicious hamlet surrounded by high walls and defense towers,  in the heart of Tuscan countryside, where History, Culture and Art, join the magnificent Beauty of the Nature in a unique way. Fattoria di Fibbiano is situated in a territory, that has its roots in the culture of the Etruscan civilization, and where Wine is produced  since more than 3000 years and it is  a part of the Local Identity and Culture.  Fibbiano’s philosophy is to continue on this thread of Culture and Tradition, cultivating indigenous grape varieties, suc as Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, ColorinoS. Colombana, and Vermentino ,  instead of more international grapes. Fattoria di Fibbiano extends over an area of about 20 hectares of vineyards, 5 hectares of olive groves, 12 hectares of woodland and the rest is arable land. Some vineyards (around 2.5 hectares) are over 100 years old and 17.5 hectares are up to 20 years old. This  mixture of Old Vines and New Vines  keeps the vineyard alive, with red grapes planted on the top of the hill, and white grapes on the lower parts.  Due to Fibbiano‘s proximity to the Mediterranean and Ligurian seas, the soil originates from the sea and is rich in fossil shells from the Pliocene epoch, and medium-textured corals .  In terms of climate, this part of Tuscany has warm sea breezes during the day and cooler nights, which helps the grapes to retain acidity and develop flavor. This particular terroir provides to complex Wines with a certain minerality,  and aging capability.  I appreciated a lot of things, above all that Fattoria di Fibbiano is certified organic. Their Practices, Farming and Wine-Growing Methods are truly natural. They even use  their own wood for central heating. Further, this Sustainable Winery uses a solar plant to conserve energy and produce fresh water. They are always ready  to face new challenges, not least of which  exporting 80% of their Wine to the following countries: United States, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, China, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Lebanon, Mexico. 

 

Fibbiano’s Wines 

The best part of this incredible Life Experience was my Top Wine Tasting. I was led to a lovely Wine Bar with a large wooden table full with  Fibbiano  Best Wines and platters of Tuscan salami, pecorino and bread.  I sampled 6 different Wines, guided by Matteo who talked me through what I was enjoying, from the colour/appearance, the bouquet/smell and then the flavor. Each Wine was different, but wonderful in its own way.  I tried Red and White Wines, but the majority of the ones I  tried were Red. Most of them are  made from the Sangiovese grapes and some are mixed with other grapes to produce  new fantastic blends. 

White and Rosé:

Red Wines:

  • Le Pianette IGT Toscana : This is a 70% Sangiovese and 30% Colorino Wine;  It  is aged for 6 months in barrels of Slavonian oak and 3 months in bottle;
  • Casalini Chianti Superiore DOCG : This is an 80% Sangiovese and 20% Ciliegiolo Wine. It is aged for 8 months in barrels of Slavonian oak and 3 months in bottle. It has the typical notes of cherry . It is  a well-structured Wine with smooth tannins;
  • L’Aspetto IGT Toscana :  This is a 50% Sangiovese and 50% Canaiolo Wine. It is aged for 12 months in tonneaux, 6 months in cement tanks, and 6 months in bottle. This is an intense ruby Red Wwine with notes of mature red fruit and spices; 
  • Ceppatella IGT Toscana : This is a 100% Sangiovese Wine, which is made with grapes selected from the oldest vineyard of the estate – it’s a 120 years old vineyard . It is a wine aged for 6 months in tonneaux , 14 months in barrels of Slavonian oak, and 5 months in bottle. It has notes of marmalade, spices, tobacco, and cacao and a long persistence. 

Matteo entertained me happily and answered all my questions  by sharing  the secrets of their Quality Wines: “Sun, soil and patience”! 

Pisa Hills Wines 

Fattoria di Fibbiano offers up a bunch of very Tasty Wines for Wine Lovers and Experts to experience.

Fattoria di Fibbiano is situated predominantly in the Wine Trail of the Pisa Hills, an itinerary through the Tuscan countryside, which highlights many small towns that boast great traditions. It’s an area between Pisa and Volterra, and it  extends in the vicinity of the Arno, Egola and Elsa rivers. It embraces  stunning landscapes and places, such as  Casciana Terme, Capannoli, Chianni, Crespina, Lari, Palaia, Ponsacco, Terricciola, Cascina, Collesalvetti, Fauglia, Laiatico, Lorenzana, Montopoli Valdarno, Peccioli, Pontedera, Santa Luce, San Miniato and Collesalvetti .

The rolling Hills of Pisa  gives birth to Top Red & White Wines:

Like other talented Wine Producers within  this zone , Fattoria Fibbiano is an example  of Pisa’s Great Winemaking Potential, that is  only to be revealed in all its splendour.  I am feeling optimistic that this area is set to receive long overdue attention. Matteo was an Excellent Guide and Wine Educator. It was so natural for him to explain all that concerned his farm and how Wine is made from Grapes to Wine. His Passionate Wine Tasting remains for a long time among my memory . I am eager  to learn much more about the Super Wines of Pisa, that’s why another visit to Fattoria di Fibbiano will be a must!

I can just  imagine myself relaxing and sipping a Glass of Your fabulous Wines under a grape vine trellis with a  view of green cypresses marking the contours of the  gentle Tuscan hills! 

Grazie mille Matteo! 

 

 

Enjoy it! 

Stefania

Cantina “Il Borro Cantina”, I Fasti di San Colombano, Lucca

“San Colombano”, Lucca

Il mio fantastico viaggio nel Mondo del Vino inizia con  l’AIS di Lucca, ed è proprio nelle mura di questa città che stasera proseguo il mio itinerario enoico, fermandomi  in un posto esclusivo,  il Ristorante “San Colombano” . Seguitemi!

Il Natale è nell’aria , fa freddo a Lucca,  però  la città gioiello mi  scalda con il suo fascino e  le sue luci. Ad accogliermi nel ristorante la sua bella proprietaria  la Sommelier Simona Carmassi. L’atmosfera al “San Colombano” è intima e raccolta, e Simona con un sorriso enorme fa accomodare me e il resto dei numerosi ospiti ai tavoli, che sono elegantemente imbanditi per l’ Evento Speciale che mi aspetta: una Cena Degustazione tutta  Made in Tuscany.  Protagonisti dello Spettacolo Enogastronomico  i Piatti Stellati dello chef  Giuseppe Da Prato, preparati con prodotti rigorosamente locali, e i  Vini  della Cantina “Il Borro”, presentati dallo charmant  Berardino Dino Torrone,  responsabile vendita Italia di questa prestigiosa cantina in Valdarno. In regia dietro le quinte  ci sono i Sommelier Fratelli Zanni, che scelgono l’abbinamento Cibo/Vino per un Menù perfetto. Iniziano le danze, e tra una portata e l’altra, cala un  silenzio quasi sacro in sala, interrotto solo dalla spiegazione dello Staff del “San Colombano” sulle portate e sul  nettare divino. Da leccarsi i baffi! Provo a non farvi venire invidia, ma ho i miei dubbi. Siete pronti? Tra candele e scintillii di bicchieri, ecco i  fasti di “San Colombano” :

Provo a chiedere allo Chef  Giuseppe Da Prato di svelarmi qualche piccolo segreto delle sue ricette, ma non c’è niente da fare. Mi invita a ritornare e a provare qualche altro capolavoro culinario preparato da lui e da altri maghi dei fornelli,  che lo aiutano, un gruppo di ragazzi che,  nonostante la giovane età , hanno una grande esperienza nella migliore ristorazione regionale.

E sicuramente Domenica 16 Dicembre 2018 non mi perderò  il prossimo appuntamento al “San Colombano”: “Mille Bolle d’Auguri” , una passerella  dei migliori Champagne per celebrare l’arrivo di queste feste.  Non mancate a quest’altro galà Lucchese, per sorprendervi con  Nuovi Accostamenti ed Etichette che hanno dentro tutta la straordinaria Tradizione Enogastronomica della Toscana, una regione che fa sognare, come la storia che sto per raccontare.

La Cantina “Il Borro”: il Buon Vivere Toscano

La Cantina “Il Borro” è  in Toscana,  in Valdarno, nell’area Chianti DOCG, un ambiente unico per genesi e morfologia, da secoli fondamento per la coltivazione della Vite . Sembra che i primi “esperimenti di Chianti” siano stati fatti proprio in questa ricca vallata , che offre ai suoi visitatori boschi incontaminati, lunghi torrenti e dolci colline.

La Cantina  “Il Borro” si trova precisamente nel comune di Loro Ciuffena e prende il  nome dal borgo castello in cui sorge, detto appunto “il Borro”, che in dialetto toscano vuol dire “fossato”; una delle tante misure di difese prese nel Medioevo da questo posto spettacolare, a difesa delle frequenti incursioni degli stranieri , che  se lo sono conteso frequentemente  per la sua posizione e prosperità. La Cantina “Il Borro” è  un gioiello incastonato in un luogo pieno di storia,  che si estende per 700 ettari tra vigne ed uliveti, all’ombra dei cipressi dell’antica “Via dei Setteponti”,  un territorio vocato all’ Arte e alla Cultura,  tra  Firenze, Arezzo e Siena.  Si tratta di un angolo nascosto della Toscana, che una volta scoperto per la prima volta, fa innamorare e  non andare più via , come è accaduto in un lontano passato alle illustri famiglie dei Medici e dei Savoia, che ne hanno segnato le vicende, e in un presente più recente ai Numero Uno della Moda Italiana Ferruccio e Salvatore Ferragamo.

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Ferruccio Ferragamo rimane folgorato dalla bellezza di questo Antico Borgo Toscano durante una battuta di caccia nel 1985,  e nel 1993 decide di acquistare definitivamente la proprietà dal Duca di Savoia, lasciandolo poi in eredità al figlio Salvatore Ferragamo.

Da allora Ferruccio e Salvatore hanno lavorato incessantemente e con amore, per trasformare quello che prima era un rudere distrutto dalla Seconda Guerra Mondiale in quello che oggi è diventato un Relais di Lusso.  “Il Borro Relais & Châteaux” è pensato per chi vuole prendersi una pausa fuori dal tempo. Un’Oasi interamente dedicata all’Arte, alla Cultura, al Cibo & Vino di Qualità, e  all’Ospitalità . Un lembo di paradiso che racconta una Toscana inedita, dove trovano rifugio dagli appassionati più esigenti di Spa, Golf ed Equitazione, ai Wine & Life Lovers più semplici, che si emozionano davanti alla natura, che qui  si manifesta in tutto il suo rigoglio nei filari di Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot e il più tipico Sangiovese. La famiglia Ferragamo porta in alto il nome del Made in Italy nel mondo attraverso il Vino firmato “Il Borro”  , un’ Etichetta  d’Autore, con qualità, classe, semplicità, rispetto della tradizione e del territorio, e con uno sguardo verso il futuro. Oggi  i Ferragamo  hanno salvaguardato la preziosità di questi paesaggi, mantenendone intatto il fascino,  e contribuendo così ad affermare  sempre più il brand Toscana nel Mondo, nel Turismo e nei Prodotti di Eccellenza.

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 Scusate , adesso vado a preparare le valigie.

Alla prossima!  Sempre se ritorno…

Enjoy It! 

Stefania

Roberto Cipresso: a DiVine Novel

… perché se vuoi emozionare, devi provare per primo le emozioni che desideri suscitare…/…if you want to thrill someone,  try first to feel  the same emotions you desire to awake…” . 
R. Cipresso.

Wine Tasting at “Nautilus” Restaurant, Tirrenia, Pisa. 

Scanning across the bookshelves in my flat, it dawns on me that my collection falls into three categories: Wine, Food & Travel! Three passions that blend in perfect harmony to a special book, that is “Wine, the secret Novel” written by Roberto Cipresso.

This Outstanding Work is available for purchase in occasion of its presentation prepared by the same author Roberto Cipresso. It takes place at “Nautilius”, an elegant restaurant in Tirrenia, Pisa. On 28th November 2018  Andrea Baldeschi, an experienced Sommelier and the owner of the fascinating place by the seaside, invites me for this memorable event. It is especially a Guided Tasting of Wines from Roberto Cipresso’s most significant Labels , paired with delicious  dishes:

Guests  enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and the refined cooking, and they are under lovely Roberto‘s spell. Before I sit down together with the other people to taste the lavish food, “Nautilius” ‘s  Wine Cellar grabs my attention. After a while , Andrea leads me in a journey through his best Wines, such as “Masseto”, “Le Difese”, “Sassicaia”, “Keber”, “Dom Perignon 2009”, and more over. Andrea is very proud of his fine Wines Collection. He talks with me about his jewellery, his restaurant “Nautilius”. Andrea manages it with great enthusiasm and success since last April, after his former experience in the catering service. Our conversation about his great Wine Cellar goes on , and at a certain point, he tells me about an incredible story about his precious treasure: the White Wine “Chateau Montelena”-he owns the Top “Chateau Montelena” vintages! Let’s go to France! 

 

Chateau Montelena and the Judgment of Paris

“Chateau Montelena”’s history is unbelievable. It is in the Napa Valley and California.

Founded just North of Calistoga by a senator and San Francisco entrepreneur in 1882 at the turn of the century, it was one of the largest wineries in the state. Prohibition put an end to “Montelena”’s winemaking, and the next major era began in 1968, when Jim Barrett purchased the estate. Jim fell in love with this exceptional property. He had a dream of  winemaking at the highest quality level. In 1976 “Chateau Montelena” put California at the forefront of the wine world. That year there was an exclusive tasting at the “Inter-Continental” Hotel in Paris. Four white Burgundies were tasted against six California  Chardonnays. When the scores were tallied, the French Judges were convinced that the top-ranking white wine was one of their own. In fact, it was “Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay”, rated above all other wines. This seminal event has been memorialized in the book ”The Judgment of Paris,”” by George Taber, as well as in the 2008 feature film “Bottle Shock”. Today “Chateau Montelena”’s distinct 19th century stone structure stands as a quality icon in Napa Valley , consistently producing some of the finest wines in California. Master Winemaker Bo Barrett, Jim’s son, now runs the estate with the help of Winemaker Matt Crafton .

Wine, the Secret Novel  by Roberto Cipresso

At the end of the “Chateau Montelena” ’s tale, Andrea brings me in the main lounge of his ”Nautilius”  to start the gala dinner in honour of  his friend Roberto CipressoI really enjoy Roberto ‘s  sentimental speech about his book “Wine, the secret Novel” . We  all Wine Lovers and Experts are delight to listen to Roberto, while speaking about his passion, Wine ! 

Roberto Cipresso is an Oenologist, a Winemaker, a Writer, but above all he is a Visionary Leader . His way of  life makes him stand out from the rest of the crowd in the Wine Field. I can feel Roberto‘s personality power, while presenting his book.  He can imagine things that others cannot imagine. He sees the whole process of a big picture, and not a single step. He is present and focused, you can connect with him when you  talk about what he has  in mind, when he  teaches you something about Wine, his Travels, his previous job experiences, his Life!  Roberto Cipresso, a native  of  Bassano del Grappa (Veneto), completes his agricultural studies and starts his  Winemaking career  at the outstanding estate of “Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona” in 1987 .  Some years later he and two partners founds “Fattoria La Fiorita”, located in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, near Montalcino. He collaborates with well-known  Wine Producers in Italy (“Case Basse”, “Poggio Antico”and abroad (Achaval-Ferrer Winery, Argentina). Roberto ‘s chances to put his professional skills and  ideas about Wine into action are three of his major projects:

    • “Wine Relais Poggio al Sole”: a secret lair for his visitors and his relax in  Montalcino, where Roberto  tries to give birth to his unique “Brunello di Montalcino”, that grows only in this  magical territory with just 5000 inhabitants ; it is on a hilltop at 567 meters above sea level, between Siena and Florence; 
    • “Winemaking”: a Wine Consultancy for  wine-industry professionals ( in collaboration with his brother Gianfranco, his friend Santiago Achaval , and the Universities of Padova, Venezia, Palermo,Torino, Pisa and Udine);
    • “Wine Circus”: a laboratory aimed at ones who don’t inherit a winery and want to manage a wine label! 

Roberto Cipresso Wine Awards

Recalling the most important Roberto‘s enterprising ventures and lifetime achievements awards in terms of Wine & Food  culture, means understanding his complex and sensitive soul: 

The list would already be too long! Roberto is a creative and multitalented man. Along with the benefits of his many abilities and passions, there is his love for writing, occuring in his books about Wine and its Mystery published between  2006 and 2009:

Roberto is also a frequent speaker at different national and international conferences on technical-scientific nature  at Wine Schools and important Universities world-wide.

The 43th Parallel

Roberto still continues his  incredbile adventure  in his challanging Wine Experiment  entitled “Cipresso 43th”, moving ahead with his ambitious and global vision of the concept of Terroir

“Cipresso 43th” is an attempt to create an Oenological Itinerary using only grapes grown at 43th degrees North Latitude.  According to Roberto’s recent researchesthe 43th Parallel is a magical line with  singular physical/spiritual features for Wine Production. It is  situated halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, running through central and florid places that have shaped the main phases in the evolution of Vine Culture from Mesopotamia  to the USA. A circular line that engulf the Earth among important autochthonous vines:

Roberto demonstrates his  theory about the inimitable  Terroir of Wines produced along the 43th Parallel in his three red Wines  I’m  sipping this evening: 

In collaboration with the University of Florence, Roberto Cipresso is studying what makes the 43th Parallel so special for Wine Production together with its general aspects (geography, geology, orography, climates, soils, altitudes,etc). Moreover, Roberto remarks that there is Something Magic and Mystical  behind the 43th Parallel, because it is the same axis where holy places are also  located, from Medjugorje, Assisi, Santiago De Compostela to Lourdes . And, of course, that is something very special for Roberto, who think of   himself as an atheist! 

Roberto‘s life is a strivinfor Exellence and Harmony  not only  for Wine, but above all for  Life.  

He is open minded . He doesn’t  limit himself to his own thoughts and ideas. When you talk to him, he listens to what you talk about attentively. He  encourages you to be as creative as possible and never afraid of presenting your point of view! Roberto  gives me a big picture of  his vision about Wine and living in this world. His job  is  an essential part of his existence. It’s not only about running a laboratory or doing analysis, it’s  mainly to be part of making Something Amazing. It’s to combine Science, Creativity and Love, that keeps things interesting, and a  great industry to be in as well. You are surrounded by great Food, Wine, and awesome People. It’s hard work, but very rewarding, like this unforgettable Tasting Dinner skillfully prepared  by Andrea Baldeschi at “Nautilius” restaurant Tirrenia, Pisa. .

Roberto experiments with unconventional colors to find inspiration for his Next Masterpiece, that is still to come! I’m looking forward to it!

Enjoy it! 

Stefania