FALL FOOD AND WINE TOUR – OCT 3-10, 2015
OCT. 3, Sat.- Day 1: Arrival
Arrive Rome, pick up at airport in mini-van and transport to Tuscany. Explore the coastal Medieval village of Populonia and soak in the unspoiled beauty of the Tuscan Coast. Populonia was the only coastal town founded by the ancient Etruscans and their mark still remains on the land. Welcome dinner.
Oct. 4, Sun. – Day 2: Bolgheri
Explore the village of Bolgheri and enjoy a guided tour and tasting with the winemaker at a premiere winery. Bolgheri DOC is one of the best kept secrets in the wine world. Its the only Italian DOC or winemaking region whose wines are made only from international varietals. You will learn the ins and outs of wine tasting like a professional! Indulge in world class gelato as a treat. Enjoy an afternoon rest or join us for an invigorating walk through the woods or “macchia mediterranea” along the coast and arrive at the Gulf of Baratti, a small and well preserved beach. Dinner at Villa de Stefano, a landmark villa on the coast with spectacular views and a place I call home.
OCT. 5, Mon. – Day 3: Chianti
Discover Chianti, its traditions and also its innovation! This area is located between Florence and Pisa and is famous not only for its Chianti wine but also for white truffles! We will tour two very different properties, one a small family winery where the winemaker is considered a leader in the area. He will delight us with a wide array of wines that will change the way you think of Chianti! Our second stop will be at a historic Renaissance villa that belonged to the Medici family, the long-time rulers of Florence. The beauty of the place is matched by the beauty of the wines. Dinner on the return at a SLOW FOOD restaurant specializing in seafood. Learn about this international group and why it was founded in Italy.
OCT 6, Tue. – Day 4: Volterra and the Etruscans
Enjoy an international experience at a Tuscan winery, owned by a Dutch entrepreneur that is run by a French winemaker! This young maverick winery is quickly gaining attention for its unconventional Super Tuscan wines. Volterra, a Medieval town with Etruscan roots is our afternoon destination. Culture, architecture, shopping and stunning views await in my favorite Tuscan Hill Town. Dinner on the return at a sophisticated restaurant that specializes in historic regional recipes and a superb wine list.
OCT. 7, Wed. – Day 5: Northern Maremma
Relax in the natural beauty of the countryside in a tucked away location. La Cerreta is a destination that includes a natural spa, winery, restaurant and working farm. Working in harmony with nature, the property is certified organic and biodynamic. Learn the difference between the two and taste why they make such a difference compared to industrial production. We will lunch together in the charming and rustic dining hall and then join a led tour of the property or indulge in a therapeutic spa service at the hot spring. Dinner together and then chose to stroll through the port city of San Vincenzo and enjoy a night cap.
OCT 8, Thrs. – Day 6: Montalcino and Val D’Orcia
The Monte Amiata area is the highest elevation in Tuscany and is one of the newest areas for fine wine. We will visit a 1,000 year old castle where fine wine is being made not only from local Sangiovese, but also other interesting varietals. The winemaker and proprietor is an English woman who will treat us to a cooking demonstration and lunch paired with wines at the castle. We’ll continue on to a 1,000 year old Abby that is still in use. Nearby Montalcino is one of the most important Italian wine making areas and not to be missed. We’ll explore the fortress and town. Wood fire pizza dinner on the return. Who doesn’t love a great pizza?
OCT 9, Fri. – Day 7: Suvereto
We will tour a boutique winery in the Suvereto area which Monica Larner of Wine Enthusiast called an up and coming area. We’ll go to Medieval Suvereto, visit a cheese maker. Winemaker dinner in a country restaurant featuring wild game and home made pastas and sauces.
OCT 10, Sat. – Day 8
Early departure to Rome for 12:15 flight.
$3,499 Per Person -Flight Not Included
Group Limited to 9 participants.
$500 Single Supplement
Your hosts are Carlotta Scotti Pignato, and Debbie Ruskin. Carlotta is a wine importer and an Italian born American who navigates both cultures. Debbie Ruskin is a food and wine educator and travel professional.
PRIVATE 3 DAY FOOD AND WINE COASTAL TUSCANY TOUR – SELECT YOUR TRAVEL DATES!
This small coastal region is the one closest to my heart. From this bountiful and beautiful land come some of Italy’s finest and newest wines. We are in the northern part of Maremma, where the hilltop villages in the area remain small and unchanged. Today the medieval villages such as Campiglia Marittima and Suvereto are revered for their pristine condition. They are places of pride for full time and partime residents alike.
Farming provided a modest income in this fertile land, and then Italy’s great strength, tourism took hold as the beauty of coastal Tuscany was discovered. Yet tourism here is at a small scale. There are no beachfront highrises. Construction and development is strictly governed. The Gulf of Baratti is a World Heritage Site and along with its sandy beaches, its small local marina, it also has Etruscan tombs that date back to centuries before Christ. This is after all also known as Costa degli Etruschi, or the Etruscan Coast.Visit this site to volunteer to dig at some of the ruins: Past In Progress
Ironmaking drove the Etruscan economy, but they were also skillful potters and glassmakers. Local museums are filled with their handiwork, which was often focused on the funerary arts. Sarcophagus were built out of stone as were tombs of the wealthy and elite. These industrious people made wine from indigenous grapes and probably learned the technique from the seafaring Greeks with whom they traded.
Wine is still made here, first by local farmers and large landowners for their own consumption and small scale commercial production, and now by boutique wineries determined to craft fine new wines. The success of nearby Bolgheri in making elegant wines has elevated winemaking here also. This is still the land of Sangiovese, but the rocky soil and sea breeze seem to favor Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet, Merlot and Cab Franc. In nearby Bolgheri where they produce worldclass wines such as Ornellaia and Sassicaia. Yet other small producers are yet to be discovered in the international wine world. With Tuscan Vineyard Tours you can meet the winemakers and taste their incredible wines.
This zone contains DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wines. Within those is allowed Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds. For whites innocuous Trebbiano is allowed, although it is falling out of favor and more often crisp Vermentino is used with a bit of Ansonica, Malvasia or the Rhone varietals of Clairette and Viognier which seem unphased by the summer heat are being experimented with. It is an exciting time for Coastal Tuscany!
3 Day / 2 Night Food and Wine Tour of Coastal Tuscany
Your three days in coastal Tuscany with Tuscan Vineyard Tours will be filled with amazing food, wine and sights.
Depending on availability, lodging will be at Villa de Stefano, a sophisticated B&B or an upscale resort.
Prepare to step back in time as we explore an active archeological dig of a Roman Era villa. We will learn about the Etruscans who founded Populonia, the only coastal city of this advanced yet enigmatic tribe. Lunch will be in the gracious tasting room of Poggio Rosso winery where their wines will accompany our lunch which will include locally made charcuterie and cheese. Climb Populonia’s fortress for spectacuar views of the sea and of Villa de Stefano. For those wishing to stretch their legs a bit, we will take an easy hike though the woods on a path that hugs the coast and leads back to Villa de Stefano where you will be rewarded with a refreshment and waterfront views on the rooftop terrace of the guest house. Before dinner we will explore the historic waterfront area of Piombino and its surrounding walls which are believed to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci! After an aperitif at one of our favorite watering holes, we’ll dig into a real wood fire pizza, thin, crispy and delicious!
Day two will begin with a cappuccino and pastry at our favorite award winning Cafe’. We will explore the Medieval village of Suvereto, dine on creative Italian cuisine, and tour stunning Petra winery. A scenic drive into the countryside will bring us to a beloved family run restaurant where everything is made from scratch. You’ll be remembering this place fondly!
Bolgheri is our destination on our final day. Charming Bolgheri village lends its name to the excellent DOC in the area. Here well known Bordeaux style blends like Ornellaia and Sassicaia reign, but smaller neighboring wineries are also producing outstanding wines. Lunch is at an amazing Enoteca where you can try the very top labels by the flight or the glass! Then we’re off to our favorite Italian gelateria for dessert! A stop in San Vincenzo will allow for a bit of shopping and a view of the local marina. Dinner is a tour de force of delicious choices from land and sea.
3 Day Food and Wine Coastal Tuscany Tour:
- 2 Night Accomodations, subject to availability may include – Villa de Stefano, Upscale Resort or Sophisticated B&B.
- Personal Guide is a Wine Professional
- Local Transportation is Included
- Archeological Site Visit
- Medieval Populonia Village
- Tour w/Lunch at Tenuta Poggio Rosso Winery
- Optional Hike along Coast in Woods or Beach
- Cocktails at Villa de Stefano
- Piombino Waterfront/Leonardo Walls
- Woodfire Pizza Dinner w/Local Wine
- Continental Breakfast at Award Winning Cafe’
- Explore Medieval Suvereto Village
- Two Course Gourmet Lunch w/Wine Maker
- Tour & Tasting at Petra Winery
- 3 Course Dinner w/Local Wine
- Explore Bolgheri Village
- Top International Winery Tour & Tasting
- Boutique Wine & Olive Oil Tasting
- Light Lunch in Enoteca w/Flight of Wine
- Free Time/Shopping
- 3 Course Rustic Tuscan Dinner w/Local Wine
2-4 Participants / €1,500 Per Person
5-6 Participants / €1,300 Per Person
7-8 Participants / €1,000 Per Person
Coastal Tuscan Tour begins at Campiglia Marittima Train Station. Pick up or drop off at other location is available for an additional fee.
Young winemakers such as Diego Monelli, at Poggio Rosso, are making wines of high caliber that are quickly gaining recognition and a following. No expense is spared in this custom made cellar. Grapes are harvested by hand, then further selection is made on the sorting table before temperature controlled fermentation and finally aging in French oak barrels. No detail is left unnoticed and the resulting wines are true winners. Two reds, Tages and Velthune are produced, a Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon respectively. In this area where reds dominate, he is also producing two fantastic whites, Phylika a crisp Vermentino and Veive, a fuller body Viogner, complex enough to stand up to a variety of dishes. (See Blog; Harvest in Tuscany)
A subzone of Val di Cornia is Suvereto. Thanks to the perfect 100 Pt. results of Stefano Frascolla atTua Rita, the family run winery has put Suvereto and on the wine making map. The boutique winery has a reputation for producing amazing wines on a very small scale. Their most prestigious bottlings are Redigaffi, a pure Merlot inspired by Le Pin in Bordeaux and a Syrah, which is arguably the most intriguing in the area. The estate is in fact their home and has a tasting area that has been designed to incorporate the original cellar. It is a happy mix of antiques and wildly patterned upholstery with a modern lounging area with anchored by a massive fireplace. It is fiercely Rita!
Soon, along came Petra, an architectural marvel designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta. It may seem familiar to Americans for he is the same designer of San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. This is winemaking on a large commercial scale and its relatively young vines are progressing beautifully!
The best kept secret of Suvereto is Macchion dei Lupi. Guiding us in the cellar is Carlo Parenti, the young winemaker who left Milan for Tuscany to learn to make wine. Now his biodynamic winery is making a Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese blend called Esperienze, or Experiences which is a fantastic experience indeed. 2011 was the first vintage of his Merlot Profeta (Prophet). It is enough to turn anyone into a believer of the potential of Merlot!