From Romagna to Tuscany in a stunning wine tour to discover one of the most noble Italian grape. Eight days to visit the wineries that produce the best bottles of Sangiovese, but not only, because we will dive into the superb culinary tradition of this two regions taking cooking classes and making lots of food and wine pairings on the battlefield. Following the old rout of the pilgrims coming from Northern Europe to Rome, we are going to taste Sangiovese di Romagna, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
We will pay special attention to the pairings between Sangiovese and all the local cheeses like Formaggio di Fossa and a huge selection of Pecorino, from Pienza, Siena and Garfagnana, though the real deal is the grilled meat coming from Vitellone Romagnolo and Chianina. But there is much more to do: truffle hunting and delicious cured meats like those of Cinta Senese and Mora Romagnola, whose farms can be visited if you wish. So be prepared to face a never ending pilgrimage to the Lords of the Grills, walking in amazing vineyards and incursions into the flavors of the tradition elaborated by Michelin star chefs or preserved by old ladies called azdore (goddess of cookery), in a culinary feast that only a supple wine such as Sangiovese can match.
First stop of our Romagna wine tour in Faenza, famous for its ceramics. In the afternoon Morini winery, where we are going to taste some nice Sangiovese paired with cheese and cured meat and a delicious raisin (passito) wine from a local grape called Centesimino: nectar of the gods. Then we will come back to our hotel in the hills for a huge barbecue refreshed by a selection of Sangiovese di Romagna, not before having tasted the typical starter: Piadina, Tigelle, Salumi and fresh cheeses like Squaquarone and Raveggiolo.
We will spend the next two days in Romagna pursuing the ultimate Sangiovese among the hills of Faenza and Brisighella. You won’t easily forget the wines of Leone Conti, a volcanic pioneer of Romagna’s enology, who produces amazing Sangiovese, a massive, bold native grape, Longanesi, which is great with the barbecue too and all kinds of Albana di Romagna: dry, oaked and finally a terrific sweet passito that will capture your heart like a country song: Non Ti Scordar Di Me (Do Not Forget About Me). Then Fattoria Zerbina, where we will take a full food and wine tasting tour, corroborated by an incredible selection of Sangiovese, including the outstanding Pietramora, coming from the Marzeno’s cru and a remarkable passito, one of the best Italian raisin wine, called Arrocco, a gorgeous botrytized Albana that we are going to pair with Formaggio di Fossa. Relax in the afternoon and, if you like, Ravenna, and its marvelous mosaics, is handy.
The last day of our wine trail in Romagna will be in Brisighella: tasting tour at the Vigne di San Lorenzo winery, a great small organic estate, and then we will visit an oil mill to taste and pair the legendary Brisighello, a luscious, preposterously delicate olive oil that flaws like liquid gold on your palate. Afternoon of relax, the golf club offers many challenging holes spread over a bucolic landscape or maybe you prefer a horseback ride or just a walk in the woods to make some birdwatching. In the evening, cooking class with which we will learn to prepare Pasta like a pro, paired with our beloved Sangiovese.
The next day we will cross the Apennines to taste the Tuscan side of the Sangiovese. Resort located in the heart of Chianti, in a strategic position near Panzano and Fontodi winery—first stop of our tour to restore ourselves with a glass of Flaccianello and lunch with Pici with ragu of Chianina, Fiorentina steak and Cantucci (almond cookies) with Vin Santo for dessert. In the afternoon we have many possibilities: a trip to Siena, a tasting of Tuscan olive oil, golf, relax in a spa, additional Chianti and food tasting, cooking lessons and cellars exploration.
The fifth day of our wine tour will be again in Chianti to discover one of the greatest winery of Gaiole, a lovely village that will charm with its peacefully countryside views, it will be like stepping into a painting of Leonardo da Vinci. Sean O’Callaghan—yes, he is Irish—soul and winemaker of Riecine winery, will guide us in this trip to discover every facets of this amazing terroir.
The sixth day, will be the Montepulciano day tasting, our epicurean peregrination will stop at Fattoria Le Casalte, whose vineyards drape the slopes of Montepulciano, then we will take a walk around the old village, lunch with a huge Bistecca alla Fiorentina paired with Vino Nobile at the historic Acquacheta restaurant and then off to Pienza, to admire the metaphysical architecture of this ideal city of the Renaissance, wanted by Pope Pio II Piccolomini. Free afternoon and dinner at our resort with cooking class.
The penultimate day of our wine trail is all for Montalcino: in the morning we will visit the Macioche winery, which produce a sublime Brunello and one of the most drinkable Rosso di Montalcino. Then a walk around Montalcino, lunch with paired with Brunello and in the afternoon we will have the honor to be invited at Poggio di Sotto winery, which needs no introduction, to taste some Brunello and relax ourselves in their idyllic vineyards. It will be a wonderful busy day, the village is amusing, the selection of food and wines is daunting, but exceptional. Close to Montalcino stands the Abbey of St. Àntimo, founded by Charlemagne in 781, one of the architectural masterpieces of Tuscany that deserves a visit, before coming back to our resort.
Time to say good bye and come back home.