Tuscan wine guide

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Wine tasting with friends

Wine Tasting with friends 

Amo sulla tavola, quando si conversa,

la luce di una bottiglia di intelligente vino.

Pablo Neruda (1904 – 1973)

Today is the woman's day and while reading one of my favorite book the above verses written by Pablo Neruda caught my attention....he wrote how pleasant is to be involved in a good conversation under a light through a good bottle of wine.

Anna's tuscan wine tours 

So what came to my mind is one of my typical Tuscan meal friends love specially in spring time or late September when all the colours around my house are vivid, still alive, charming and relaxing while looking at the hills of Chianti on one side and at the Pratomagno on the other.

Soon a friend asked me how I cooked my stewed wild boar and an interesting conversation started: when in your recipe you add some wine, in this case red wine, that course will be served with the same wine.
So if I stewed my wild boar with Chianti Classico 2010 the same wine will be at least one wine served during the meal.

But what about a big meal composed of several courses? Each one needs to be paired with a different wine but remember to follow some rules!

Aperitif usually is a Prosecco, sparkling wine or a white wine possibly with a pretty high acidity, so I would say a rich white wine not just fermented and aged in stainless steel vats ( too fruity), not too oaky but a good compromise like one Tuscan Chardonnay produced with good results in some wineries in Chianti Classico area.

If you are thinking about serving also some rosè wines, do this in between the whites and the reds you will serve after and do not go backward by serving whites again! When you start with red wines, whites will be served along with a dessert only.

From the point of view of the serving temperature, we start by serving fresh wines, then the ones at a room temperature. About dessert wines usually the ones like Tuscan Vin Santo are served at a room temperature and they are never chilled or cold otherwise you will completely cover the aromas and complexity and only a strong sticky sugary sensation will be experienced by your palate.

Then another general rule, we start with the wines with a lower alcohol content and we step up with the wines with a higher level, we start with the youngest wines and we end with oldest....

These tips and more by joining a cool wine tour in Tuscany with me! For beginner, experts and cool people in general....

Check this out: http://www.wine-tour-in-tuscany.com

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Valdorcia and cheese making

Among the experiences you cannot miss while visiting Tuscany is: cheese making.

Podere il Casale- Pienza

Have you ever heard about pecorino? I am sure you all did several times although the kind of cheese which is widely exported abroad for obvious but technical reasons is a specific aged pecorino cheese the so called Pecorino Romano.

But let me entertain you by explaining a couple of details :

"Pecorino" means sheep milk cheese as in Italian sheep is pecora  (* I am still laughing at me remembering what happened to me- a native italian speaking great english but with some "italian accent"... while talking to my clients. I wanted to stress that in the specific area we were touring, they were not going to see any sheep and goats...but I sounded like "You are not going to see any ships and boats"!-- I bet they will never forget such a cool tour escort eh?).

German, English and Spanish share the same old latin roots: Kase, Cheese, Queso 
Italian and French have the same late latin roots: Formaggio and Fromage
The old latin root was linked to the material used to make cheese, so caesum=milk, the late latin root was linked to the time of the year this product was made and the shape of the wheel...in Italian it would be "forma" di "Maggio" = formaggio  (the wheel made in the month of May!)

How was cheese discovered? By chance or simply observation.....how the enzymes in a lamb's stomach were transforming the milk leftovers from a liquid to a solid composition.

Pecorino di Pienza

Mass and industral production requires of course tons of controls and certifications as well as the procedures to make cheese (everywhere) begin with the pastorization process but in Tuscany specially in the Valdorcia area and specifically all around Pienza, a few farmers are allowed and certified to produce cheese with raw milk. Is that scary? Not at all it is simply the tradition and a great way not to kill the aromas inside the milk of course a milk coming directly from the animals raised by the farmers and not imported from another area or country!

So during a Valdorcia tour you need to ask to be introduced to organic farming and organic cheese making so that you can experience a delicious cheese tasting where every single bite will be terribly tasty.

Cool tours

Cooltours by Anna

I think a little introduction to my blog is essential, so an easy post to express where and why Cooltours came to my mind 2 years ago.

By chance I have been "hired" by a tour company located in the USA, pretty known and highly recommended on travel guide books, this happened when I was working at a winery in Gaiole in Chianti, Capanelle estate, a winery-cellar I still consider one of the very best in the area!

The tour guide looked at me while I was running one of the thousand wine tasting tours of the year and said " I believe you are a Ferrari in a garage".....
It took three years for me to realized I wanted to venture in this job, I started thanks to that and other colleagues trusting me and welcoming me in their companies and still today I dream of a cooperation between human beings although the inside of several people is "struggle" all the time and for everything, what again I do not like at all.

Finally I trained myself by working and I thought that I was ready to show and share my personality and do it my own way.

What about the name? At the very beginning I wanted to call my company  "wine something", "Tuscany something" , "blue sky, sunflowers".....then I looked around and said: WOW how many companies are using names like these? So I came out from the touristy flow and I decided to combine in my company name the words "culture" and "tours" so the idea of giving clients a 360 degrees experience, not a wine focused one or a historical one , but a combination of both so cultural knowledge and wine&food tastings thanks to off the beaten paths exploration in the Tuscan countryside, visits of less known touristy villages where we can savor the locals, the real lives and people with their good, background, experiences.

Of course the combination of the two words resulted in the informal English word COOL which highly describes ANNA, the tour escort and professional driver I am today.

Anna the tuscan wine guide

But most of all I'm a passionate human being full of energies and willingness to make people happy, yes happy because it takes a little bit sometimes to be happy at least for a day and forget all the pains.