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Discover with us  the magic of Italian wine heritage


krater-wineOenotria, “land of vines”, this was how the ancient Greeks called  Italy. Its variety of landscapes and climates, from the Alps to the shores of Sicily through  chains of hills, mountains and volcanoes, offers an astonishing range of grape varieties that have been cultivated for thousands of years  in their terroirs.

mappa-x1 vectorized

Under the Romans,  vines were planted throughout the Empire, grapegrowing and winemaking techniques became more advanced, the varietals that best matched soil and climate were selected to improve  quality.

The concept of vintage already existed, as the ancient books report that the fabled Opimiam wine of 121 B.C., an excellent vintage of Falernum, was aged and drunk decades later. 

This red thread that leads to modern times was never cut, though invasions, wars and fights split the country into city states, duchies, kingdoms along two thousand years of entangled events . 

Enjoy a glass of History!


PostHeaderIcon Under the Tuscan Sun

During the summers  of the 50’s and 60’s Italians used to eat under the beach umbrella, preparing at home some food that could be easily carried and consumed on the lap . This food was usually made from leftovers of the dinner, recycled into meatballs, vegetable omelettes, cold pasta, cold rice with vegetables and salty pies. 

Only later came the bars and the take-aways on the beach, with their sandwiches and microwave meals.  Lack of time nowadays have changed our habits, most people buying industrial made dishes, the American way, and the results have been the waste of food and the epidemic of obesity among the young.

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PostHeaderIcon Tuscan winegrowers of Pinot Noir, united!

In our imagination the Tuscan landscape is all but rolling hills with wondrous roads flanked by cypresses, olive groves and vineyards of Sangiovese. Too hot to grow difficult Pinot Noir, that prefers cooler climates.
But in the northern part of the region there is the Tuscan segment of the Apennines chain, where the mountains are high and the climate cooler and rainier than the hot Chianti and Orcia regions. Just before and just after year 2000 , independently from one another, winegrowers following the organic and natural philosophy decided that that particular terroir was suitable to grow Pinot Noir. 8 of them wrote a “Manifesto dei Viticultori”, deciding to band together and follow the same guidelines. Judged by most a bizarre experiment, year after year those stubborn winegrowers have tendered their vines with passion and have succeded : their Pinot Noir is excellent!

pinot noir  luccaI tasted them on April 13th in beautiful Lucca, where these small producers gathered to present their 2012 Pinot Noir, each one explaining the pros and cons of their vintage and the characteristics of their terroir. The four areas where they come from are Garfagnana (near Lucca), Lunigiana (near Massa Carrara), Mugello (near Florence), Casentino (near Arezzo). There are only 16000 bottles per year from these artisans  that share the same passion for winemaking following organic and biodynamic agricolture, the same love of these territories under the sign of friendship, commitment and integrity.

They exchange their views and their experiences, organize wine-tastings to publicize all together their wines, cooperating to promote knowledge of the Appenine as the ideal

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PostHeaderIcon Sisters are doin' it for themselves!!!

A FASCINATING VISIT TO THE NONINO’S SISTERS DISTILLERY

Do you remember the famous feminist song by Annie Lennox? 

It went on proclaiming “we got lawyers, doctors, politicians too”, and I could add, now, wonderful producers of Grappa, too! ( Imagine what could happen in some countries where alcohol is prohibited and women are persecuted..)

nonino sistersThe Nonino sisters and one of the judges invited to the visit

For those who don’t know what Grappa is, let’s call it the “cognac” of the poorest workers and farmers, until 1960. Whilst Cognac is made from wine (an undrinkable one but good enough to be distilled), Grappa is made from the pomace, that is the discarded skins and seeds of the wine.

That was all the lower classes could afford to warm up in the long, cold winters of the northeastern regions of Italy, where this spirit has been made since the Middle Ages : Veneto, Trentino and Friuli. It was a rough thing, not so different from any grain alcohol made in other countries of the world which have chilly winters.

Among those who decided to start to produce a quality Grappa in ‘70s, Giannola Nonino is THE pioneer, along with her husband Benito. They were the first to make grappa from a single varietal, Picolit, an indigenous, fine, flavourful grape that grows only in Friuli. At first they used to sneer at her ambition to make better such a coarse liquor, but she didn’t dishearten and went on offering her grappa to gourmets, restaurateurs, and journalists. 

The Nonino’s started to make other monovarietal grappas, choosing the best producers for their pomace, setting up a wider distillery, until success at last smiled at them and now even more at their three talented daughters, all friendly and beautiful , Cristina, Elisabetta and Antonella.

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PostHeaderIcon Kings of Italian cuisine 2015 crowned in Florence, on the 11th April

kings of italian cuisine

The magazine “Italia a Tavola” kept the polls open for 8 weeks and found itself deluged with 145.392 votes!

And the winners are :

BEST COOK  : LUCA MONTERSINO, Italian Pastry Chef
BEST OPINION LEADER :  EDOARDO RASPELLI  , gastronomy journalist and reviewer, tv personality
BEST MAITRE AND SOMMELIER :  PAOLO CIARAMITARO , maitre at the enchanting Villa Crespi on the Lake Orta
BEST BARMAN : FRANCESCO CIONE  barman at THE STAGE, a new restaurant inside the multi-experience store Replay in Milan)

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PostHeaderIcon From the Merano Wine Festival

 THE WHITES

folla alla Kurshaal

I’ve always been in love with the white wines of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, a region at the far east of Italy. There are many fine indigenous varieties with a distinctive flavour, and passionate winegrowers devoted to their terroirs.

Like Hilde Petrussa, a refined lady who makes Richenza, a perfect example of the distinctiveness of Friuli wines. It is a blend of old native varietals : Malvasia Istriana, Tocai Friulano, Picolit, plus a touch of Riesling.

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