Ciao from Tuscany! It is now autumn here and thoughts turn to the vineyards as the region prepares for one of its favorite traditions, the vendemmia (wine harvest). Those of you who have been here with us at the villa on tour (and some of you were here during the harvest of the vineyards next to the villa), remember it was a difficult harvest last year as the years rainfall was much less than normal, so the harvest produced anywhere from 25-50% less grape. But as many of you experienced Italians do not complain, they spoke about looking forward to learning (and tasting) how that years vintage would turn out.
So, this year after a plentiful rainy season, careful tending, trimming and tasting, Tuscan grapes are ready to be transformed into what is music to every Tuscan’s ear, vino nuovo (new wine). Of course, you don’t have to own a vineyard to partake in the season’s festivities. There are plenty of fantastic wine festivals in the coming months that celebrate the harvest and the traditional dishes that are prepared alongside it, giving you the perfect excuse to raise a glass with the locals. Just don’t forget to say “Salute” or ‘Cin Cin’.
Tuscany has some great wine festivals. As old as the act of making wine itself , this is your chance to taste the region’s reds and whites as the locals intended (and very different from our tasting experiences in the US; away from fussy cellars, tasting rooms and stark wine shops), rather in Italy accompanied by plenty of great food and by locals in period costume, and music.
Those of you who have been with us on tour remember the town Greve in Chiani where one of these festivals, Expo del Chianti Classico just occurred. Expo del Chianti Classico is the event for the serious Tuscan wine buff. Hundreds of stands were set up in the gorgeous main piazza, representing the best of local Florentine and Sienese producers. Throughout the festival, there was ample time to taste and buy from the winemakers as well as plenty of free lectures on the history and cultural significance of Chianti, guided tours through the town, live and DJ music and … the annual highlight, super bingo!
The last Sunday in September is the Festa dell’Uva in Impruneta, a small town just outside of Florence. The grand dame of Tuscan wine festivals, Impruneta’s Festa dell’Uva is a celebration of ‘vino’ in Italy. It’s a celebration of the grape growers and wine makers that define their cultura Contadina (farming heritage). Sure, there’s plenty of wine to taste – here the locals are partial to the Toscano I.G.T - but there’s also an action-packed cart race between the four town districts, which battle it out for a hand-painted cup and a year’s worth of bragging rights.
Tuscany’s wine festivals aren’t just about enjoying a glass or two with some great food, they’re also a chance to taste the best established and up-and-coming vintages.
Sangiovese is Italy’s numero uno grape. The name means ‘Blood of Jove’, aka Jupiter, the Father of the Roman Gods. Sangiovese is at the core of Chianti, which was once considered as simply a red table wine.
Chianti is now the feature wine at all of Northern Tuscany’s wine festivals. Chianti has sour cherry notes with hints of tomato and tea leaves, violets, herbs, earth, licorice and leather.
Southern Tuscany’s quickly becoming favorite wine is also packed with plenty of Sangiovese. The Morellino di Scansano is Tuscany’s youngest DOCG wine. Its name stems from the word ‘morello’, either the dark red morello cherry found in the area or a local nickname for the brown color of its horses. The Morellino di Scansano is rough around the edges, full-bodied, fresh and fruity with ripe notes of plum and other dark fruits.
Tuscany isn’t really famous for its whites, but is known for the Tuscan wine Vernaccia most notably Vernacci di San Gimignano. Those of you who have joined us at the villa, had much of this wine. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the most well known variety of Vernaccia and produces crisp wine with good acidity and citrus fruit, and is sometimes blended with the local Trebbiano grape. But, if you’re partial to something lighter, you can try the wine from nearby Elba, Elba Ansonica, named after the region’s favorite white wine grape, the Ansonica has an intense aroma and a flavor that drifts from dry to sweet.
Consider joining us on our all-inclusive Tuscan Adventure, August 18-28, 2019 to experience all that is Tuscany. We only have 3 couples spots (6 people double occupancy) remaining for this tour (6 couples max.). If you have family or friends who you would like to share what will be ‘lifetime memories’ please contact us for further tour details. Early booking discounts of up to $1000 per couple are still available.
A small $500 deposit per person will hold your spot. And, please read our informative blogs at Villas of Italy. We are looking forward to sharing the real Italy with you in 2019.
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
Ciao . . . a presto!
Villas of Italy specializes in all-inclusive superior villa vacations. We've designed our adventures so Italy can be experienced in intimate tour groups, Tourneo Custom air-conditioned vans, and one-of-a-kind Villa estates. Immerse yourself in Italy's picturesque towns and villages while enjoying exquisite cuisine, vibrant culture, and the spirit of Italy.
Explore our vacation options! HERE.
Tony Moglia's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. He's a dual citizen who has traveled extensively throughout Italy for 40 years. He's happily married to a vibrant dancer who together have two children and three grandchildren. Tony has dreamed of Villas of Italy since his first trip to Italy, and now he shares his dream with you.