Sunday, June 6, 2010

Unwinding through the Winding Roads of Tuscany!

After 10 hours of night train sleeping in on a hard sofa bed, then complications to rent a car without GPS, and getting lost in Florence in search of my apartment I finally made it to Greve in Chianti were I attended a tasting for 2007 Chianti Classico wines from different areas in Chianti showing different terroir characteristics. For many the word terroir doesn’t really mean anything, others understand it but its not the sole factor behind a label, for others it makes a really big difference. Terroir as many books might define it makes up a blend of different aspects around wine. Terroir is mainly the soil, grape variety, aspect of vineryard, climatic conditions and the different appellations of the region. It is ultimately the skill of the winemaker to interpret the different aspects of terroir in the wine he produces. Some winemakers might consider this unrelevant and just produce a style of wine the consumer ultimately demands.

But now back to Tuscany. For me Tucany represents the epitome of beauty. I admit that Burgundy has a mystical richness that no other region has yet Tuscany is a wine lovers dream. The winding roads of the beautiful Strada del Chianti unwind you as you drive through them. The wines of this region vary according to grape variety and ohhh yes terroir. You can taste Chianti, Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello, Rosso di Montepulciano and Supertuscans all in one day, not mentioning any whites.

Well, surely what Tuscany has in common with Burgundy is the characterisitics of their red grape varieties; Pinot Noir and Sangiovese. Both light in colour due to low anthocynins; both with good acidity and sapidity; both with lovely cherry, cassis fruit with floral aromas when young which can age really well; both difficult to tame. Most Chianti Classico wines which have a minimum of 80% of Sangiovese need time to develop in the bottle so that all the components in the wine integrate better. This is the same for most red Burgundy wines.

My favourite 3 picks from todays tastings have to be Fontodi, Castello di Ama e Felsina. The Fontondi coming from the.... area had beautiful lavender notes on the nose with undertones of sweet almond liqueur; on the mouth tannins still a bit austere showing that the wine needs time to integrate better. Castello di Ama had the most vibrant colour from all and fruit was more concentrated; cherries and prunes. Mint was very present too on the nose. Tannins covered all the mouth very nicely giving the wine length and persisitance. The Felsina was the most intense in colour and its nose had enticing fruit with noce moscato very present. Even if wine had high alcohol level of 13.5% it was still very elegant and balanced, with a long silky finish.

How did the day end? With a lovely dinner at a friend who was orignally a friend of a friend who I met during the Benvenuto event last February. Well I had some burro di lardo, some pasta with collante di alici and some lovely sfogliate di ricotta da Napoli. Wines of the evening included Les Clos Laherte and Billecart Salmon Rose Champagne, Chardonnay from Valle d’Aosta, a Ribolla Gialla from Gravner and a lovely Recioto di Soave to finish up the dessert.

Well a day which started off not so well surely end with a big bang!! :)


  1. are you ready for the next delivery of the true neapolitan sfogliatelle ?

  2. I am always ready for great food and wine! When is the next delivery? Will you bring it down to Burgundy? :P