The year 2016 has already begun a while ago and February is always a month full of wine events, especially in regard to the preview tastings of Tuscan wines that should be included in the agenda of every sommelier or wine lover.
The initiative, which started the period of the wine events, has been the first edition of the “Wine & Siena: Capolavori del gusto“. This event has been organized in two historic and fascinating buildings of the old centre of Siena: the seventeenth-century Palace of the Grand Hotel International and the Rocca Salimbeni, a historical palace and place of the bank “Banca Monte Paschi di Siena”. During this event, the visitors had not only the opportunity to taste the wines of the most important Tuscan wineries, but they could also appreciate the wines of other renowned wineries of Italy, as well as some gastronomic excellences of the Italian food production. For those of you who like to taste high quality wines, this is certainly an event to be considered in your agenda for next year and the organizers are already talking about the new edition for the next year.
Now I return to the wine events and Tuscan preview tastings that you can attend in the coming weeks. You will find a list of dates for each event or wine tasting below. If you are looking for some news from the Tuscan wine cellars or if you are curious about the new vintages, you should not miss these opportunities. Besides, if you want to dedicate some time to discover the treasures of Tuscany and discover some specialities of the area, I will give you tips for each event that you can attend during your stay in Tuscany.
The preview tastings and more…
- 13th February:
For the first time, this year the consortiums of Morellino di Scansano, Montecucco, Vini Cortona, Vini di Carmignano, Valdarno di Sopra Doc, Bianco di Pitigliano and Sovana, Colline Lucchesi, Maremma Doc are opening the events of the preview tastings. The tasting dedicated to these denominations is organized by the Star Hotel Michelangelo in Florence and it’s possible to participate by a simple registration at the welcome desk on your arrival or by e-mail at: email@example.com.
To discover in Florence: After the tasting you may look for a continuing? What about pairing the wine with typical Italian food? So you should go to the Central Market “Mercato Centrale” of Florence, at the first floor. There you can find several shops and botteghe of the excellent food production as well as some events and special tastings. (http://www.mercatocentrale.it/eventi/). If you are staying in Florence, you should not miss stopping by the shops of the “Mercato Centrale” …
- February 13th – 15th: “Anteprima Vino Nobile di Montepulciano”
During this preview tasting, the following wines and vintages will be represented: Nobile di Montepulciano 2013, which has been awarded with 4 stars and the Riserva 2012, has been awarded with 5 stars and therefore you should not miss to taste them. You can also taste all the other wines being produced by the forty-three wineries in the surroundings of Montepulciano that will be presented during the event. The event is reserved for journalists, trade professionals, sommelier and wine lovers.
To discover in the surroundings of Montepulciano: Certainly, I can recommend you to visit some of the wine cellars during your stay in this village. Thanks to the history of the wine production in Montepulciano you can find historic wine cellars in medieval palaces in the town center, as well as some estates with rests of Etruscan tombs. Of course, you can also find modern wine estates or wineries of organic production. As Montepulciano is not far away from Pienza, I recommend you to take another trip to this small artistic town and to enjoy the breathtaking view from one of the terraces on the Val d’ Orcia, part of the UNESCO heritage. During the visit to the historic center of the village, you should taste the typical cheese “Pecorino di Pienza” in one of the small shops, pleasantly paired with a glass of Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG or the Orcia DOC wine.
- February 14th and 17th: “Vernaccia di San Gimignano”:
During this preview event you can taste the new vintage of the white wine Vernaccia di Gimignano and discover the wines produced but haven’t been inserted in the marketplace yet.
Moreover, this year this denomination celebrates its 50 years birthday, a special occasion that will be commemorated.
To discover in San Gimignano: As a city being part of the UNESCO world heritage, you should not miss a walk through the historic center, neither climbing on one of its towers to admire the city and its countryside. In addition to the wine and olive oil production, San Gimignano is also known for the production of “Prosciutto Toscano DOP” and Pecorino Toscano DOP. Considering the wide spread of forests it is also known for its breeding area of the “Cinta Senese” pig breed, of which I recommend to taste a “tagliere” cutting board with ham, salami , bacon or lard in one of the local shops in the town center.
- February 16th: “Chianti Classico Selection”:
On February 16th the “Chianti Classico Selection” will open the doors for trade professionals and sommeliers, who can taste the vintages 2015, 2014, the Riserva and the Gran Selezione 2013. 2016 is a very important year, because the Chianti Classico is celebrating its 300th anniversary, so you can explore various new initiatives that the Chianti Classico Consortium will organise for this occasion I like to emphasize that you should take the chance to taste the Olive Oil of the denomination DOP Chianti Classico of the olive harvest in 2015.
To discover in the Chianti region: You can easily reach the hills of the Chianti region from Florence. If you want to visit some wine cellars, I recommend to visit at least two, maybe one recently built with modern technology, for example the new winery “Antinori nel Chianti Classico“, and a historic wine estate, like that of “Badia di Coltibuoni“, which produces wines of biological production. If you are interested in pairing the wine with food, then I recommend to you a tasting of cheese in the “Corzano and Paterno” estate. This company produces both wines and organic cheese. Especially their cheese, such as Pecorino, the Lingotto or “Buccia del Rospo” you can find in the excellent restaurants and locals of the Italian high rated gastronomy.
- February 21st and 22nd: “Benvenuto Brunello”
Friday and Saturday are reserved for journalists and wine experts only, because first of all the new wines will be presented to the press. On Saturday, I invite you to participate in the proclamation of the stars assigned to the last harvest, followed by the placing of the celebrative tile designed for the new vintage and the assignment of the Award “Leccio d’Oro”. This day is always a great emotional moment for the Brunello producers and cultivators.
On Sunday and Monday trade professionals and sommeliers that have received an invitation by the Consortium of the Brunello di Montalcino can participate in the preview tasting of the new wines of this territory: Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino, Moscadello di Montalcino and the production of the denomination “Sant’Antimo DOC”.
To discover in the surroundings of Montalcino: Of course, if you are coming to Montalcino you must visit some of the wineries for the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG production. When you are coming to this area you should not miss to see where and how the Brunello is produced. If you are staying in Montalcino for more days, I invite you to discover another wine denominations: the Montecucco DOCG. The production area is located in the southern part of Montalcino, two cellars that I can recommend are: Podere Assolati and Poggio Stenti. They are family cellars, so I advise you to book some days before the visit and tasting. In addition, at Poggio Stenti you can find also animal husbandry for the local meat production, as sausages and cold cuts that you can pair with their wines. And if you want to relax after all the tastings, you should pass by Bagno Vignoni and enjoy the thermal baths.
- February 28th-29th: Terre di Toscana
This year you can taste more than 600 wines at the UNA Hotel Versilia in Lido di Camaiore. During these two days 130 producers will present their top wines to evidence the high quality of the Tuscan wine production. Moreover, this year you can discover the special Tuscan dishes and some show cooking at “Golosizia 2015” with renowned chefs of main Tuscan restaurants.
To discover in the surroundings of Camaiore: Of course, when you are in Camaiore you should also visit the town of Lucca, but considering that Camaiore is along the coast of Tuscany, I recommend to go to the province of Pisa and to visit the Nature Park San Rossore. It’s not only important to visit this park due to its ecological importance, but also because it’s the production zone of the “Miele di Spiaggia” (Beach Honey). The last year I tasted this honey for the first time thanks to the collaboration with the journalist Telsche Peters and since then I can not pass a Sunday morning without it. It’s not easy to find, but if you have the possibility to buy it, you should taste it together with lightly toasted bread or with fresh Tuscan cheeses.
- March 12th-14th: “Taste” a Firenze
If you are looking for excellent high quality food and lifestyle, you should participate in the event “Taste”. You should also not miss their “outside the fair” food and wine events in Florence which is called “Fuori Taste” and where you can enjoy special tastings, dinners, performances and shows in some of renowned restaurants in the town centre of Florence.
To discover departing from Firenze: If you like the high quality food lifestyle, I recommend you to leave Tuscany and to visit the capital of Italian food: Bologna. In fact, it will take you only one-hour drive to Bologna, but there you will have the possibility to taste and to discover the production of the Parmigiano Reggiano, the Prosciutto di Modena and of the vinegar “Aceto Balsamico di Modena”, everything with the denomination D.O.P., of course. In Bologna you will have the possibility to taste other specialties of Emilia Romagna. For this I invite you to reserve a place for the original “Bologna Food Tour” of Italian Days, which is highly recommended by their participants.
- May 07th-08th: “Anteprima dei vini della Costa Toscana”
For the preview tasting of the wines produced along the Tuscan Coast, you have to wait until the spring season, but at least in this occasion, you can enjoy walking tours through the center of Lucca, or spend a day at the beach. During the event you will have the possibility to become to know the wines produced in the surroundings of the Tuscan coast of the provinces of Massa Carrara, Lucca, Pisa, Livorno and Grosseto.
To discover along the coast: Of course considering that you are tasting wines of the Tuscan coast, you should not miss the visit of the Bolgheri DOC production zone, where the great Super Tuscan wines were born, as the wines of the Ornellaia wine estate. If you are more than eight people, you can also reserve a lunch paired with their wines within the estate. If you are looking for a speciality to pair with wine, I recommend to you to move to the Southern region of Tuscany, especially the Maremma, where you can visit for example the old farm “Antica Fattoria La Parrina” of organic production. In addition to wine and olive oil they produce cheese from sheep and goat of high quality, as well as cold cuts, pasta, cereals, jams etc. If you love local Italian food, you should not miss the visit of the farm.
Discovering the Tuscan treasures of wine and food
As you could see every city or village in Tuscany has its own specialties. Of course, the Tuscan wine with all his denominations plays the main role in the food and beverage production of Italy, but there are many other productions, especially typical products with the D.O.P. or I.G.P. denomination, as well as local productions, that deserve to be known and tasted. If you are looking to know better the Tuscan wine and food production, or arrange tastings with local products, maybe even during your stay in Val d’Orcia, please contact me or follow me on my social media accounts, where I often share news about food and wine producers, as well as local events in Tuscany.
Photos by: Claudia Moritz, Croce di Febo and ToscaBio