Toscana, winter 2018

I’ve been coming here for more than 20 years, but the timing of my visits are usually later in the spring, and into summer. So, it’s fun, and also educational, to be visiting during such a severe cold spell, snowstorms, etc.

The area certainly needs the moisture; last year’s drought and boiling temperatures were very unforgiving, and in the case of winegrowing, noticeably destructive.

Podere Salicutti
So far, I’ve had a few weeks in Montalcino (centered around the four days of the Benvenuto Brunello event), during which I’ve had visits with fine people, gifted winegrowers, and just all around lovely human beings; all these qualities define the following, whom I’ve been very fortunate to spend time with:

Francesco Leanza, Podere Salicutti (an epic visit on a chilly Saturday morning, learning, in great detail the methodologies and vision behind the land at Podere Salicutti, as well as the approach to vinification)

Marino Colleoni, Podere Santa Maria (another epic visit, this time during a bone-chilling rain storm, with Marino giving me insights into his brilliance in the vineyards, but also in the cellar)

Andrea Cortonesi, Uccelliera (I rarely taste these wines at VinItaly, or any other event - I prefer to visit the cantina, where (bottle/service) temperatures are always correct. Which is another way of saying just how much I think of them, that they’re worth the drive, worth the extra attention. I’ve written about Andrea before, but really, sometimes I think I go just to be around the man - a lovely, warm and happy person. As always, chapeau Agnes!)

Luca Fanti, La Palazzetta (some of the area’s best natural winegrowing is going on here at this understated, and truly inspiring and beautiful farm. Luca’s always got a smile, it’s genuine, infectious and he’s just plain fun to be around. The wines here are totally under the radar, and the picture of traditional, sustainable winegrowing in a full-flavored, structured, and balanced way)

Carlo Lisini-Baldi, Lisini (just a great person, so gentle, so caring, and so passionate about quality, tradition. I’ve written about these wines in the past, and they are among my very first purchases each year - this year they were my second purchase, and in good quantity; buy early, buy a lot, the new releases are exciting)

more at my site: Toscana, winter 2018 –

I’ve just 76 days remaining; it’s going quickly. Coming up, 4 days in Florence, some weeks in Langhe, then ProWein, Taste Alto Piemonte, Vinnatur, ViniVeri, and VinItaly, with some visits to Adige, Friuli, etc. on the books.

with Marino Colleoni - what a great visit (already completely sold out of the new releases, wow!)

I arrived in Italia in the middle of February; I’m flying to Paris tomorrow, so I’ve been here a while. Reading my prior post, it didn’t go that quickly - because this time I took my time. Just over 11,000 km on the car. I’ll probably return for a few months during the harvest.

This trip, I managed extended, on-the-ground visits with producers in Friuli, Adige, Veneto, Toscana, Liguria, Piemonte, Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, and Umbria; 79 days in all, putting me over 1,000 days in my beloved second home - with all but a few days being wine-related, i.e. no tourism. I even had time for a brief visit to Alsace and Mosel (after ProWein).

That looks like a real adventure, Tim!