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Posted: Saturday, 01 December 2012 11:40

Taste of Tuscany and a Roman Experience

December 01: Like a fine wine Tuscany can offer an excitement that makes any wine and food lover want to go back, as did our guest writer Bhavna Bahl who was drawn to Tuscany again and re-visited three wineries-Col d’Orcia, Tenuta Torciano and Poggio Amorelli with a stop-over at the Gambero Rosso’s 3 Forchette 2013 in Rome

Col d’Orcia

Our Tuscan journey started at the Brunello growing hills of Montalcino at the historic vineyard of Col d’Orcia. The estate’s modern-day lineage dates back to as far as 1890 when records show that it Click For Large Viewwas purchased by the Franceschi family of Florence. The Brunello from this vineyard was presented at the Wine Exhibition of Siena, one of the first trade shows in Italy, decades before Brunello would become a world-class wine.

Since 1973, the vineyard is owned by the Cinzano family of Piedmont, who were active in the spirits business, and used a wide spread sales network to distribute the early vintages of Col d’Orcia. Under the current leadership of the hospitable Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, the estate extends for 550 hectares on the southern hill slope of Montalcino, of which 140 hectares are for grape production. 108 hectares are designated for Brunello, making Col d’Orcia the third largest owner of Brunello vineyards in Montalcino.

We were met there by the charming Lara Bonari who works closely with the Count, and who graciously guided us through their rustic yet state-of-the art vineyard and production process. We tasted the wine producer of Chianti, Super Tuscans and Brunello di Montalcino. Worth a mention are of course the two Brunellos – Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG and the Poggio al Vento Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG.

Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2007
The 2007 vintage of this Brunello is a very elegant wine with finesse from start to finish. The grapes are manually harvested with a rigorous selection of the best bunches. A second selection takes place on the cellar selecting table. Flavour has ripe and silky tannins with notes of red cherries, flowers and tobacco. The colour is a ruby red. The wine spent 36 months in oak which added to the mature body of the wine. 93 WS points.

Poggio al Vento Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2004
In the words of Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate, this 2004 vintage is developing beautifully. The ageing is in oak casks from Allier and Slavonia for 4 years. This wine floats on the palate with gracious notes of fruit. Tannins are silky with bouquets of sweet red berries and spices from the oak. The wine is complex in structure and has a soft and appealing aftertaste.

Tenuta Torciano

Our next short stop was at Tenuta Torciano in San Gimignano to meet the owner and wine producer Pierluigi. I have visited this vineyard in a past trip to Tuscany and was drawn to it again to Click For Large Viewpurchase its limited produce of Terrestre, a blend of 5 red grapes - Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Shiraz, in a secret proportion. This wine changes its flavor with each sip. We tasted his olive oil produce along with some riboletta soup prepared for us by his mother. This vineyard is as always busy with American tourists, as he is mainly retailing in the US.

( For an earlier article during the previous visit, please visit ) Tuscan Torciano impresses Bellagio

Poggio Amorelli

Nestled in the sprawling, green hills near a small village called Castellina in Chianti in the wine-growing region of Chianti in Tuscany, is a charming farmhouse and vineyard by the name of Poggio Amorelli.

Poggio Amorelli is off the general route map of tourists who come for a wine tasting experience to Tuscany. The vineyard’s owner-couple Marco and Adriana Mazzarrini are enthusiastic about their farm produce that includes a range of fine wines, pecorino cheeses, Tuscan salami and prosciutto, olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, and grappa.

The vineyard is a sprawling 50 acres producing 2,00,000 bottles of wine each year. On a Saturday evening, when most other farms were closed, we were lucky to have visited the Mazzarrini farm. Our driver Alio, Marco’s friend, highly recommended us to visit Marco as he knew we were wine aficionados from India in search of something special.

Click For Large View Marco and Adriana want to produce only small quantities of good quality wine so as to continue to maintain the business as family owned and also keep uniformity of traditions and tastes. They have been producing wine since 1987, but in 1995 after restoration of their wine cellar and changes in production equipment, their wine produce started receiving awards for quality.

Morellino Di Scansano DOCG
This wine is produced at Magliano in Tuscany, with 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. The vineyard produces 60,000 bottles each year. The vinification process involves the wine resting in stainless steel tanks for 10 days and then in wooden barrels for 6 months. This is a crisp young wine and can be kept for ageing for up to 15 years. It has aromas of cherry and blackberry jam and has a bright ruby red colour. This wine is produced in the Poggio Barbone vineyard of the owners. € 22

Chianti Classico DOCG
This is 100% Sangiovese. The annual production is not more than 40,000 bottles. The vinification process involves the wine resting in stainless steel tanks for 15 days and then in wooden barrels for 9 months. The wine is deep ruby red in colour, with fresh notes of plum and raspberry. It is well balanced between the tannins and acidity and is a full bodied wine. €19

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG
100% Sangiovese. 40,000 bottles per year. Stainless steel tanks for 15 days and then barriques for 18 months. Ruby red with an intense fragrance , slightly spicy, balanced with soft tannins. € 33

Super Tuscan IGT Oracoloy
This wine has won 91 points by Wine spectator and 3 Glasses by Gambero Rosso. Produced at Castellina in Chianti, this has 75% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and 5% Colorino. Annual production is only 6000 to 10000 bottles. This wine is fermented in conical barrels and then barriques. Notes of pepper and tobacco, ruby red colour, dry and medium bodies with strong tannins.  This wine was certainly the most prized of wines. €55

Marco shared one of his produce of extra virgin olive oil, pressed with the old technique that gives it a natural and fresh flavor. We also tasted the 8-year and 12-year old balsamic vinegar which he manufactures at his farm. We also tasted two varieties of the most delicious pecorino cheese with tomato as the skin cover and ash from the wine barrel oak as a cover which paired fantastically with his wines.

If anyone is in the Chianti Classico region wishing to visit less famous but very special and boutique vineyards, this one is a must visit…simply for the good quality wine and the owner’s hospitality!
3 Forchette 2013

We were invited to the launch of the 3 Forchette 2013 (Michelin food guide equivalent for Italian restaurants) being held in Rome. The event location was in the Roma Cittá del Gusto (City of Taste) which is an institute for chefs to learn and to display their food creations. The food for the event was prepared by the chefs of top restaurants of Italy who prepared the most creative gastronomic experience of our lives with dishes like Regala Emozioni which means 'great emotion' which was fish in a gnocchi shell with pesto and gold leaf.

Click For Large ViewThe restaurants which were presenting included the much acclaimed Da Vittorio from Bergamo La Pergola from Rome, Vissani from Umbria and Don Alfonso 1890 from Sorrento. So much for the food, the 33 wines which were available for tasting were from boutique vineyards from all over Italy which made the evening even more special and spectacular. Some of the wines from the evening worth mentioning are:

  1. Brunello di Montalcino Tradizione ’07 produced by Tenuta Vitanza in Tuscany.
  2. Il Pollenza ’09 produced by Il Pollenza in Marche
  3. Lu Patri ’09 produced by Baglio del Cristo di Campobella in Sicily
  4. Etna Rosso Cavanera Rovo delle Coturnie ’09 produced by Firriato

Bhavna Bahl

Bhavna Bahl is the new wave of young women who love wine. Particularly fond of Italian wines, she had gone again to Florence when she took the opportunity to re-visit a few wineries. She also runs the beach, a popular resort in South Goa.


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