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blog swirl & savor

From the Hills of Tuscany

Beth Ribblett


This week we are pairing up Matt and Walter for our Wednesday Nite Flites and their mutual love of Tuscany made it an obvious choice for our featured wine region. Knowing what draws me to Tuscany is easy to answer, but I asked Matt and Walter to share their thoughts on what it is about Tuscany that makes it so special.  Here is what they had to say:

Matt Snyder:
Rolling green hills, the fresh smell of the countryside, Renaissance history, art, and architecture, the incredible food, the even more incredible wine.... what's not to like about Tuscany? I was fortunate enough to visit Italy's primary wine producing region last summer, and it was one of the best vacations of my life. Tuscany truly embodies everything I love about food and wine - natural, earth-driven delights, such as Bistecca Fiorentina with a nice Brunello, born from a land that overflows with cultural wealth and has an unparalleled appreciation for all things epicurean. There's truly no other wine region like it on the planet.

Walter Greenwood:
I have had the pleasure of visiting Tuscany on three different occasions. It wasn’t until my third trip when I was able to submerge myself in the more laid back Italian life style. I was fortunate enough to become good friends with a local in Florence that showed me how day to day life is living in the Tuscan capital. What I enjoyed most about Tuscany was the welcoming locals and fantastic food and wine scene. To me there is nothing better than sitting in a quaint square while sipping on local wines and indulging in a simplistic meal that is elevated with outstanding olive oil that was produced just miles away. Forget about planning your trip based on tours and set schedules. Talk to the locals and find out what they do on there down time then submerge yourself in the fantastic Tuscan life style.  

Tuscany 2004
And for me? My personal love affair with wine started in Tuscany...  I'd been your typical wine enthusiast until 2004 when I arranged a trip for a group of 10 friends to one of the most gorgeous wine regions in the world.  In the year before the trip I became completely obsessed with learning everything I could about Tuscan wine and local food traditions and the more I learned, the deeper I dove.  The trip itself had a profound impact on me as I experienced first hand the passion that Italians have for wine and food, the emphasis they put on family and tradition, the dedication to preserving their history and culture -  it became a major turning point in my life.  Not just about how I wanted to make a living, but about how I wanted to live my life.    

We're excited to share our love of all things Tuscan this Wednesday as we pour the four amazing wines.  And of course there will be Italian themed cheese and meat plates available to pair with the wines.  Flites are $15 for 4-2oz pours of delicious wine!  Here's a little preview on the wines we'll be serving. 

2011 Mazzoni Bianco -  The perfect Italian summer white blend from the Tuscan coast. Beautiful with  the local Pecorino Toscano cheese (which we'll be serving this evening) and light seafood dishes, this is a blend of Vermentino (75%) and Chardonnay (25%) all fermented in stainless steel tanks and allowed to settle for 5 months on the lees to intensify the complexity of the flavors. On the palate it is fine, elegant, savory, with the right acidity and the structure that recalls its Tuscan origin. $14.99

2012 La Spinetta il Rose' di Casanova - A delicate, yet complex pale-salmon colored rose' made from a blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Prugnolo Gentile (the clone of Sangiovese used to make the famed Vino Nobile of Montepulciano) from gently sloping Tuscan hillsides that enjoy cool Mediterranean breezes. Elegant rose petal aromas followed by a hint of pomegranate and sour cherry on the palate. Perfect with garden salads, mild cheeses and light, delicate fish like trout and the local branzino. $18.99

2009 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva - Nothing says Tuscany like
Chianti Classico paired with Tagliatelle con Ragu di Cinghiale (pasta with wild boar) and this is one special Chianti! The  #31 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012, 93 points from Robert Parker, 92 from Tanzer, this is a stunner!  One of the top producers in Chianti, the Castello di Monsanto estate sits halfway between Florence and Sienna, near the historic medieval town of San Gimignano. Here, Monsanto can trace its roots back to an Etruscan settlement in the late 10th Century. The native and elegant varietal of Sangiovese has been cultivated on their lands for the past 200 years, and while the "fattoria," or farm has been in operation for the past three centuries.  At $24.99 it is an amazing taste of the Tuscan hills.

2010 Aia Vecchia  Lagone - Aia Vecchia is located deep in the Tuscan countryside between Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci. This is the land of Super Tuscan, where a favorable microclimate and soils produce very high quality wines from the French Bordeaux varietals of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The Lagone is 60% Merlot , 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cab Franc that is aged one year in barrique and six months in bottle. There is an elegance and defined structure to this wine that makes it seem more expensive than its very modest price. ST 90pts., WE 91pts.