- Published: 26 August 2014 26 August 2014
by Nick Breeze
Part of the joy of drinking wine is the link between what ends up in one’s glass and it’s place of origin. The styles of many wines are protected by law under various systems of control, to preserve the authenticity and ensure that the winemaker doesn’t, in one generational gust of enthusiasm, cause permanent harm to a reputation established over many generations.
But to us drinkers, it is likely a less legal and more cerebral relationship with wine that helps us associate place, taste and pleasure in one sip. By visiting vineyards we see the landscapes, the soils, the climate, the people and cuisine that make up the culture of what enters our glass. If you have ever visited a vineyard, especially one whose wine you have drunk on many occasions, then it is likely that the relationship between you and that wine is cemented until the end of days.
I am saying this as I have just consumed some delicious wines sent from Azienda Agricola Montebelli in Tuscany, a small organic farm that produces wine and olive oil, whilst letting good-living-aficionados stay on the estate and indulge themselves in everything from the great outdoors, to the flamboyant fresh cuisine of the kitchen, in tandem with the delights of the cellared gains of the vineyard.
I have some tasting notes below to share, but most of all, I am also looking forward to visiting Montebello during the grape harvest in a month’s time. Enjoy!
D.O.C. Maremma Toscana
95% sangiovese 5% malvasia
The Fabula Bianco 2012 is a pale yellow colour with a fresh nose of summer flowers and fresh cut herbs. It’s nicely balanced and perfect for chicken, mushroom pasta dishes, or to enjoy with punchy bruschetta.
Young and fun 100% sangiovese. This wine goes with all the big dishes where red wine is must. It has silky tannins and a comforting blast of cherries, blackcurrants and redcurrants with a good bite to balance with the food. It’s pure Toscana all over!
Montereregio Di Massa Marittima D.O.C.
This is a young wine with rich ruby colour and a potent nose of ripe cherries and red fruits that tickle the imagination. This goes perfectly well with many cured meats, hards cheeses, fresh tomato and garlic drenched beef dishes, to name a few. Leave a glass to enjoy on its own. It's youth will ensure aging potential too so don't in too much of a hurry!
Fabula Riserva 2006
Monteregio Di Massa Marittima
90% sangiovese 10% montepulciano
This is a big wine for big dishes. A very rich and opaque ruby red in colour with overt plums and sweet cherry on the nose. To taste, the tannins are just right, biting into the food but also to hold the wine together for a fuller and enhanced experience of pleasure. More cherry, plum, and hints of thyme. Let this breathe and enjoy in the evening air with baked vegetables, roasted meats and discerning company!
These wines are all evocative of the great region that we British (and many others nationalities) are so in love with. I look forward to visiting Montebelli in due course, as part of the harvest season tour of Italy that will also include Puglia and Southern France. Visiting the places where the vines are tended, grapes are grown and wine lovingly made, is a special element in the pleasure of wine. Add such visits to your own itinerary to enhance your pleasures!
Short introduction of our produce with in depth view of the Fabula Riserva. Presented by Alessandro Tosi:
by Nick Breeze, Twitter: @NickGBreeze
Climate change podcast
An aperitif by the coliseum
As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
Britain’s lamentable exit
On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.
I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.
Interview: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers, climate change & tasting with Stephane Dupuch
Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch.