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The bread basket of Italy, Autumn in Tuscany!

As the days get cooler and shorter (although not today, i write sat with the door open and very warm sunshine streaming into the house!!), the mind inevitably turns to Autumn and Winter and i start to think about warming red wines and dishes that comfort.

In the wine regions of Europe this is a busy and joyous time of the year.  The build up to the harvest is tense as producers hope for dry weather and a good crop but also there is excitement and a great feeling of togetherness and community.  The harvest brings people together to work, talk, eat and drink....plenty!

This is no more the case than in 'La bella Toscana'.  They say it is a region 'bacciato dal Dio', kissed by god, where the bounty of the harvest is rich and plentiful and the wine like nectar.  Funny the wine never seems quite the same in the UK as when sipping it in the centre of Greve or Panzano or at a smart cafe in the Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, with the dappled evening light gently warming your already bronzed face.  Of course context is everything with wine.  Anyway, the point is Tuscany is many peoples' paradise, a place of beauty, food, wine, romance, history, poetry and all that makes life good.

There is a Tuscan phrase "Pancia mia fatti capanna" meaning "dear stomach, become a hut so I can eat as much as I can!  I would add to that, 'and drink as much as i can'.  At this time of year dinner in Tuscany would be tucking into Fettunte, (slices of toasted bread covered with the newly pressed extra virgin olive oil),  Polenta al sugo di carne e porcini, (Polenta with meat sauce and porcini mushrooms), wooden cutting boards covered with pecorino cheeses and cured meats like prosciutto, lard from "Colonnata" and different types of sausages plus vast arrays of fresh local vegetables simply served and sprinkled with sea salt and virgin oil.  You might  be served pappardelle alla lepre o al sugo di cinghiale, (fresh egg noodle pasta with either a hare or wild boar sauce) or game such as wild boar, hares, pheasants often tenderized in a stew such as cinghiale in umido (stewed wild boar), or roasted such as faraona arrosto (roasted guinea-fowl).  On the streets of Florence you would likely be served Trippa and Lampredotto (ox stomach cooked in a seasoned broth and served in a bread roll) or ribollita (a vegetable and bread soup).  Of course, we cannot talk about Tuscan cuisine and forget to mention the famous steak that comes from Valdarno and Mugello called "bistecca alla fiorentina".  This steak, which comes from a special cow breed, the Chianina, is served very rare alongside roasted potatoes and beans.  And after all that scoffing, plates of cantucci, small hard, almond flavored cookies, are served alongside the Vinsanto wine for dipping which makes the perfect light dessert!

Am i making you hungry?

That is the idea! When considering the great wines from Tuscany, you have to consider them with the food.  Wine in Tuscany is not for drinking on its own.  They are gutsy hearty wines with tannins, acids and earthy, animal like flavours.  The wines often need years in bottle before they reveal themselves but when they are ready and finally opened they encapsulate the natural beauty of this area and one nose of the ethereal aromas transport the drinker to the rolling vine soaked hills of its heartland.

I must admit, until recently, i had somehow forgotten how great the wines of central Italy are and had even started to doubt the majesty of the ever noble and now aristocratic Sangiovese grape.  (Tuscan wines have become very pricey!)  But some recent new discoveries have revived my passion for this region (and the very similar and equally magnificent regions of Umbria and Emilia) and if you would like to share in the true taste of Tuscany and central Italy then Buon Vino is the place to be!

Back to our Roots tasting Part 2!

The location - The new tasting room at Buon Vino in the Courtyard, Sat Nov 8th at 7pm.

We will be tasting.........

Trebbiano Il Casale 2012 Tuscany

Chianti Il Casale 2010 Tuscany

Chianti Riserva Il Casale 2004 Tuscany

Possibly a very rare 1986 Sangiovese from the superb Casale estate that has been in barrels for 30 years!!

Il Pomario Arale 2012 Umbria

Il Pomario Sangiovese 2010 Umbria

Il Pratello Campore 2010 Emilia-Romagna

Il Pratello Morana 2010 Emilia-Romagna

and others.....

Alongside boards of the best cheeses and salumi, olives, virgin oil, all mopped up with unsalted Tuscan bread.....A veritable feast of the senses not to be missed!

For more details get in touch on 01729 892905 or e mail

The new tasting room is small so places will be very limited, contact us soon!

Happy Harvest