There’s a lot to taste and experience in the picturesque landscapes of France and Italy. Uncorked and Cultivated offer authentic epicurean food and wines tours to iconic regions like Bordeaux, Champagne, Tuscany, Sicily and more, hosted by Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith. Their small-group tours focus on delivering the best of each region. Immerse yourself in French culture on an exclusive tour of Champagne, Burgundy and Rhône and discover the perfect French food and wine pairings. Tour dates from 22 May to 1 June 2018, A$7.700 per person. Uncorked has also partnered with Travelling Divas to announce their first female-only itinerary. Experience the Tastes of Rome and Sicily on a tour combing glamour, culture and the divine food and wine of Italy. Tour dates from 6 to 16 September 2018, A$7,450 per person.
GOURMET TRAVELLER WINE | August-September 2017 | p 130
Antinori is a venerable family wine company of 26 generations established in 1385, in times when Chianti was rustically made, probably in earthen ware fermenters like todays amphorae.
The family’s new subterranean winery, Antinori nel Chianti Classico in Bargino, a ten year building odyssey I believe, works on gravity. All things with the pre-history wine styling in mind should.
Our Italy wine tours take guests through the depths of Tuscany, offering introduction-only visits to family wineries, few open to the public. If you’d like to find out more about this exclusive guided experience for lovers of wine and food, you can call me direct on +61 427 705 391 or email email@example.com.
So inside this underground collossus there are logically layered caverns of processing and ageing rooms (wine, olive oil and vin santo), fittingly paved in terracotta tiling, 44,000 square metres of space I believe.
It looks swish, bright in aspect, purposefully dull in lighting but cleverly the spots radiate light to keep visitors in the mood to view barrels, art works and light spaces.
Under vineyard Peppoli barrel cellar
Our local-born guide and tasting host Eliza Trambusti relates that the Antinori family call this visitors’ haven their temple in good Roman God’s fashion.
There is no air conditioning as architect Marco Casimonti from Archea Associates designed it to be eco friendly and wines store gently around 15 oC.
Alberia Antinori, family company CEO speaks to our poured drinks, 18 metres below the ground, from Montalcino and Chianti Classico, places in this family’s blood for six centuries.
First family wine was:
Pian delle Vigne 2014, Rosso di Montalcino, 13%, (baby Brunello) belies the travellers’ expectations; the sangiovese grosso grape colour is not deep like Aussie shiraz, but has red in the heart of the glass, amber at the edges (the nail), some older ones go colourless.
Antinori Family Pian delle Vigne Rosso di Montalcino 2014
It’s about the taste: savoury and drying, no fruitiness here, its austere; waits for you to chew the salty, crunchy baked pizza bread, schiaciatta .
It has long flavours, more dryness then it slips into softness. Again adjust your tasting technique from Oz shiraz to Localita Pian delle Vigne growing sangiovese grosso near the hill town of Montalcino my friends.
Villa Antinori 2012, Chianti Classico Riserva, 12.5%, now unfiltered, has been made since 1928.
Family Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2012
It has the typicity of that sour citrus and almond aroma (how new world tasters peg sangiovese), traditional old large (2500 litre) barrel aging aromas including brett, then savoury and gripping tannin. It’s 10% cabernet sauvignon, and has 30 months cask age.
Perfect with big, fat, al dente pappadelle splashed with wild boar ragu that drown the rabid effects of the natural grippy tannins of the wine. That’s Tuscany!
Antinori Badia a Passignano 2011, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione
Badia is an old monastery. The surrounds are Antinori sangiovese, 23 clones having been identified so far. Chianti first recognised itself in 1716 so the red grape gene pool here is quite diverse and capable of interesting wine.
Wines only age 20 months in old Slavonian botti (barrels) then further by bottle for another 18 months or so.
Look out also for a vinsanteria (small barrels that house the godly vin santo liquoroso white wine), hip cellar door tasting and purchase facilities, saying to tourists that this ancient Roman construction is the Antinori family re-invented.
Antinori nel Chianti Classico Vineyard, Bargiano
Above is a new vineyard of sangiovese, build on 20 metres of fill, struggling now but making progress towards a drinking contribution for future tourists. Expect wine soon.
Also planted are the other traditional local red grapes: canaiolo, ciliegiolo, colorino, malvasia nera and mammolo.
Mount Etna, Sicily’s spectacular volcano, is home to luxury wine growing. The mountain villages, known here as contrade, on its northern side, are excellent participants in the move towards fineness in red wine.
You see you need an address from these villages: Passopisciaro, Randazzo, Castiglione di Sicilia, Linguaglossa or Solicchiata to be an Etnean player in the steady race for wine fame. This is nerello mascalese country.
Wines from volcanic regions such as this high part of Sicily are on trend. They are excellent participants in the move towards fineness in red wine.
Italian entrepreneur Andrea Franchetti bought an old run-down winery (about 200 yo), last used at the time in 1947, which he renovated in 2002, and now our tasting tour party is drinking Passopisciaro wines there.
Icon-Franchetti- serious deep tannin, petit verdot-cesanese d’affile blend
The house vineyard, at 800m up the mountain looks a treat, thousands of silver flashers repel birds; harvest is just starting, the chardonnay is off, having malo-lactic fermentation (in a warmed room) and the nerello mascalese is about to arrive to be crushed as 2016 red.
Our Sicily wine tours take guests through the villages of Etna, offering introduction-only visits to wineries, only some open to the public. If you’d like to find out more about this exclusive guided experience for lovers of wine and food, you can call me direct on +61 427 705 391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are at Passopisciaro to be greeted by their affable marketer, Letizia Patane whose forebears made wine on the mountain for the past century. And as she expresses, “Etna as a production region is an island within an island, though a high, cool climate one.”
So we get the immediate impression the place is seen by local makers to be entirely different from production regions elsewhere on the island without black, rocky, knarled and moon-like landscapes.
We hear the only white wine of Passo is chardonnay (an exceptional world example), and that there are red vineyard plantings at varying elevations (500-1000m).
The higher you grow nerello the finer the wine (read that as more linear texture, less fullness), the later and harder to ripen and be fully ripe. At about 800m proper growth of red grapes is halted. Nerello in dialect means light black and wine colour is similar.
We taste the contrada Rampante (700 m) and contrada Chiappemacine (500m) among the five; Porciara, Sciaranouva and Guardiola.
PASSOPISCIARO DRINKS IGP
Passobianco 2015 is the famed chardonnay, such a good drink, fermented and aged in big barrels (700-2000 litre), so little oak shows, lovely green, spearmint fruit, never fat, overt or stonefruit like, taut, trimmed to the bone of acidity, totally linear and mineralising in the mouth. A triumph. Harvested during 20 passes on sunny days when the diurnal swing can be 25 degrees.
Passopisciaro age chardonnay in large oak
Chardonnays made this way are unusual in Australia though the technique is very sound. It minimises the influence of oak in today’s sommelier-led revolution where anything ‘apparently artifical’ does not go down. Released next February.
Passorosso 2014 is the estate blend of wines not reserved for the single vineyard contrade bottlings (specific elevations too). This is good; lovely fresh aromatics of the mountain herbs; laurel, bay and a swish of black fruits, lithe, light bodied, long flavoured. The 100% nerello mascalese Passo is known for, seen as a first level wine, not an introductory wine.
Passopisciaro R 2014 is a single contrada vineyard selection from Ramparte; the high elevation gives more linearity than body, and bright acidity keeps the taste humming along. Nice wine, understated, long liver, 7-15 years’ potential even at 15% alcohol.
Passopisciaro C 2014 is the next tasted single vineyard wine from lower elevation, the Chiappemacine vineyard; more the mouthful of nerello showing more body, a direct result of richness derived from warmer ripening conditions in the same year. Great on black fruits.
Passopisciaro Chiappemacine — single vineyard nerello mascalese
This is outstanding wine country but like any region where the benefits are great (outstanding wines), the growing process and more important, the ripening phase is very exacting to extract great nerello.
Passopisciaro climb that ripening peak each harvest without extravagant winemaking.
Via Torino in Barbaresco village is just a short 300-metre street. Yet it houses two powerhouse wineries in Produttori del Barbaresco at one end, and Gaja in the middle.
The Produttori de Barbaresco fascinates me with its successes. It controls 15% of the DOCG, and more single crus, nine, than any other owner in the three villages; Treiso, Nieve or Barbaresco, which constitute the wine denomination Barbaresco.
Prices of this Italian wine category keep firming so let’s discover why.
The Produttori del Barbaresco, a co-operative, consists of 54 member farmers, is successful and as Uncorked’s visit was on the first day of the 2016 harvest, we met a few of them as they lined their tractors in the street to deliver grapes.
Our Italy wine tours take guests through the hills of Piedmont offering introduction-only visits to wineries, only some open to the public. If you’d like to find out more about this exclusive guided experience for lovers of wine and food, you can call me direct on +61 427 705 391or email email@example.com.
Produttori growers on the charge to deliver nebbiolo – Day 1 harvest 2016 on Uncorked and Cultivated’s visit to Barbaresco village.
But Barbaresco (the wine) and Produttori are all about a great drink, made from the thick skinned, leathery actually, nebbiolo grape. It’s the street hero.
Harvested nebbiolo-10 kg crates here
Drinkers in the know come from all over the world to see this wine town perched on the Barbaresco hill alongside its tower, built there since the Middle Ages to spy on visitors, and past insurgents. Note the tower on their label.
Uncorked’s tours take you where the real taste action is, and on this day, we meet the Produttori board chief, and head winemaker, an affable, historically-knowledgeable Aldo Vacca.
Produttori’s Aldo Vacca CEO-Author
PRODUTTORI NEBBIOLO TASTE
The reason for nebbiolo addiction is simple for this Master of Wine to digest. The flavours of this grape persist in your mouth, they are subtle and never simple or capable of drowning your food. Nebbiolo is light bodied, brisk in tannin and ever present in acidity.
The palate can be extended, not dulled as overt wine fruit jam does from warmer climes, then lead you on to the enjoyment of savoury notes.
Your dinner is not sweet but savoury after all? This is wine pairing. Juicy meats or charred beef or north African spice for example. Food savouriness + flavours which tread lightly. Yum.
PDB Langhe Nebbiolo 2014 Always the budget option to get into nebbiolo for your first time, an easy drink made from younger vines in grower vineyards. Sold earlier as a non-aging style.
PDB Barbaresco 2013 The new vintage just out for sale now. The real deal wine of the Produttori, a blend of all growers’ grapes not including single vineyard crus (the nine).
Produttori Barbaresco 2013
PDB Barbaresco 2012 The vintage just gone, very lithe and flavoursome, capable of 5-7 years easy aging to plateau its drinking.
Produttori Barbaresco 2012
PDB Barbaresco 2011 A vintage showing some aged character so well advanced now. A good example for the visitors to “get” how nebbiolo projects as it ages.
PDB Rabaja Riserva 2009 These are regarded as the reserves of Produttori, and they overlap as families’ single vineyard crus, basically the best expression of the grape in a range of terroirs that occur, and are captured from the three village expanse which is DOCG Barbaresco.
Produttori’s Rabaja cru 2009
Grower families Antona, Arossa, Casetta, Lembo, Lignana, Manzone, Rocca, Vacca, Vezza are in this blend this year.
The Produttori takes only nebbiolo grapes – no barbera, dolcetto or pelaverga, or no white variety. Just the top of the pinnacle red variety which keeps the quality and wine purity. Commendable.
DOCG – is the physical and hence geographical boundary of Barbaresco wine producers; production must lie inside or one cannot use the name; Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.