chianti wine tasting

What Trends Are Currently Popular in the Wine Market?

The wine market is ever-evolving, with new trends emerging each year. Buyers and enthusiasts alike are always eager to know what’s currently popular, from sought-after varietals to innovative winemaking techniques. Here, we delve into the latest wine market trends, with a special focus on Tuscan wines and how you can experience these trends firsthand through Tuscan wine tours.

Popular GrapeVarietals

1. Italian Classics: Sangiovese and Nebbiolo

Sangiovese, the grape behind iconic Tuscan wines like Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, continues to reign supreme. Known for its bright acidity and firm tannins, Sangiovese offers flavors of cherry, plum, and hints of earthy herbs. Nebbiolo, another classic Italian varietal, is gaining popularity for its complex flavor profile and aging potential. Wines like Barolo and Barbaresco showcase Nebbiolo’s power and elegance.

2. Emerging Varietals: Vermentino and Pecorino

In addition to classic reds, there’s a growing interest in lesser-known white varietals such as Vermentino and Pecorino. Vermentino, primarily grown in Tuscany and Sardinia, offers vibrant acidity and notes of citrus and green apple. Pecorino, from the Marche and Abruzzo regions, is loved for its floral aromas and crisp, refreshing palate.

Emerging Wine Regions

1. Tuscany Beyond Chianti

While Chianti remains a favorite, other regions within Tuscany are making a name for themselves. Bolgheri, known for its Super Tuscans, produces high-quality wines that blend traditional Italian grapes with international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Maremma, with its coastal influence, is another region to watch, offering unique expressions of traditional Tuscan grapes.

2. Southern Italy

Regions like Puglia, Sicily, and Campania are emerging as hotspots for wine production. These areas produce bold, flavorful wines from indigenous varietals such as Primitivo, Nero d’Avola, and Aglianico. The warm climate and volcanic soils contribute to the distinctive character of these wines, making them popular among adventurous wine enthusiasts.

Innovative Winemaking Techniques

1. Organic and Biodynamic Winemaking

Sustainability is a key trend in the wine market. More producers are embracing organic and biodynamic farming practices to create wines that reflect their terroir while being environmentally friendly. This trend is particularly strong in Tuscany, where many wineries are converting to organic practices. A Tuscan wine tour often includes visits to these forward-thinking estates, allowing visitors to taste the difference.

2. Natural Wines

Natural wines, made with minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery, are gaining traction. These wines are often unfiltered and unfined, offering a raw and authentic expression of the grape and the land. Florence wine tours frequently include stops at natural wine bars and producers, providing an insight into this growing movement.

Experiencing Wine Trends on Tuscan Wine Tours

Chianti Wine Tour

A Chianti wine tour is a must for any wine lover. This region is at the forefront of both traditional and modern winemaking. You’ll have the opportunity to taste iconic Chianti Classico wines, visit renowned estates, and learn about sustainable practices that are shaping the future of the region.

Tuscan Wine Tours

Tuscan wine tours are perfect for those looking to explore beyond the well-trodden paths. These tours often include stops in emerging regions like Bolgheri and Maremma, where you can discover innovative winemaking techniques and taste wines that are pushing the boundaries of tradition.

Wine Tours in Italy

For a broader exploration, wine tours in Italy offer a chance to visit multiple regions and experience a diverse range of wines. From the volcanic soils of Sicily to the rolling hills of Tuscany, these tours provide a comprehensive overview of Italy’s dynamic wine landscape.

Explore the wine market trends

The wine market is full of exciting trends, from popular varietals and emerging regions to innovative winemaking techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a curious novice, exploring these trends through Tuscan wine tours, Florence wine tours, Chianti wine tours, and wine tours in Italy will enhance your appreciation for this timeless beverage. Book your tour today and immerse yourself in the world of wine like never before.

wine pairing with food

Perfect Wine Pairings: Selecting the Ideal Wine for Every Dish

Navigating the intricate world of food and wine pairing can elevate a meal from good to unforgettable, transforming dining into a harmonious blend of flavors that celebrate culinary artistry.

Whether you’re planning an elegant dinner party or simply looking to enhance a casual meal, understanding how to match wines with specific dishes is an essential skill for any gastronome. Let’s explore how to master this art, ensuring that every sip and bite is a delightful experience.

1. Understanding the Basics of Wine Pairing

The foundation of any good wine pairing lies in balance. The goal is to select a wine that complements, contrasts, or enhances the flavors of the food without overpowering it. Here are some fundamental principles to consider:

  • Match the weight and intensity: Rich, heavy dishes like a beef stew or a creamy pasta call for robust wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or a full-bodied Chardonnay. Lighter dishes like seafood or salads pair beautifully with lighter wines like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Consider the dominant flavors: Identify the main elements of the dish — is it acidic, fatty, sweet, or bitter? Acidic dishes work well with acidic wines, fatty foods are balanced by tannic wines, and sweet flavors are complemented by a touch of sweetness in the wine.
  • Use regional pairings as a guide: Often, traditional dishes and local wines from the same region naturally complement each other, as they’ve evolved together over time. For instance, Italian Chianti pairs splendidly with tomato-based pasta dishes, embodying the adage “what grows together, goes together.”

2. Wine Pairings for Popular Cuisines

Let’s dive into some specific pairings to help guide your next meal:

Italian Cuisine

  • Dish: Spaghetti Carbonara
  • Wine Recommendation: A crisp white wine like Vernaccia di San Gimignano counters the richness of the pancetta and cream with its bright acidity.

Refined Pairings with Iconic Tuscan Wines

Chianti Classico

  • Dish: Grilled Meat
  • Wine Recommendation: Chianti Classico is renowned for its versatility and robust flavor profile, characterized by notes of cherry and earthy spices. The wine’s natural acidity and tannins make it an excellent match for grilled meats. Pair it with grilled meat seasoned with rosemary to enhance the herbal notes in the wine.

Brunello di Montalcino

  • Dish: Wild Mushroom Risotto
  • Wine Recommendation: Brunello, with its deep flavors and firm tannins, pairs wonderfully with earthy dishes. A wild mushroom risotto, with its rich, umami flavors, complements the intense fruitiness and earthy undertones of Brunello, making each bite and sip a complex and harmonious experience.

Super Tuscan

  • Dish: Beef Bolognese
  • Wine Recommendation: Super Tuscans, known for their bold and structured profile, are ideal for pairing with hearty pasta dishes. A rich and meaty beef Bolognese pairs splendidly with a Super Tuscan, as the high tannin content in the wine cuts through the fat and protein, balancing the dish’s richness with every flavorful sip

French Cuisine

  • Dish: Coq au Vin
  • Wine Recommendation: A medium-bodied red Burgundy or Pinot Noir complements the depth and savory notes of this classic dish without overwhelming its flavors.

American Barbecue

  • Dish: Smoked Brisket
  • Wine Recommendation: A bold Zinfandel or Shiraz, with its hints of smoke and spice, can stand up to the powerful flavors of barbecue.

Asian Cuisine

  • Dish: Thai Green Curry
  • Wine Recommendation: Choose an off-dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer that balances the heat of the curry with its sweetness and vibrant acidity.

3. Experimental and Adventurous Pairings

Don’t be afraid to experiment. The rules of wine pairing are not set in stone, and part of the fun is discovering new combinations that surprise and delight your palate.

  • Cheese and Wine: Try unexpected pairings like blue cheese with a sweet dessert wine like Vinsanto, or a sharp cheddar with a tart apple cider.
  • Desserts: Pair chocolate desserts with a Port or a spicy Syrah to bring out the richness of the chocolate.

4. Tools and Resources

Utilize tools such as wine pairing charts, apps, or even sommelier consultations at your local wine store to make educated choices. Books and online courses on wine tasting and pairing can also provide deeper insight and enhance your confidence in selecting the perfect wine or go to a Tuscan wine tour.

wine pairing with food
Two glasses of red wine and a tasty cheese plate

Conclusion

The art of pairing wine with food is both a science and a form of culinary expression, offering endless possibilities to enhance the dining experience. By understanding the basics and experimenting with flavors, you can transform your meals into occasions that tantalize the senses and celebrate the complexities of both wine and cuisine. Remember, the best pairing is one that brings you and your guests joy, making each meal a memorable event.

Cheers to your next culinary adventure!

Discovering the Art of Rosé: A Staple of Italian Wine Tours

Rosé wine has certainly seen a surge in popularity, with an increasing number of wineries showcasing their interpretations of this versatile and delightful wine. The production techniques vary, each method imparting unique characteristics to the final product. This article delves into the most prevalent methods of rosé wine production, shining a light on the intricacies that make rosé a fascinating subject for wine tours, especially in renowned regions like Tuscany and Florence.

Method 1: Maceration Mastery

The distinct color of rosé wine is achieved through the maceration process, where the skins of red grape varieties are allowed to interact with the juice for a specific period. This crucial step not only determines the wine’s hue but also its aroma and flavor profile.

The Role of Grape Variety

The choice of grape variety plays a pivotal role in the color, aroma, and taste of the rosé wine. Selecting the right grape is essential for defining the wine’s unique characteristics, making the vineyard selection a key highlight of Italian wine tours.

Fine-Tuning Maceration Time

The duration of maceration is finely adjusted by winemakers to tweak the wine’s color and flavor, showcasing the artistry and technical skill involved in crafting the perfect rosé. This aspect of wine production is a topic of interest during wine tasting tours.

Method 2: Red to Rosé Conversion

This method starts with the red wine production process but cuts the maceration phase short. This technique, along with the practice of blending red and white grapes, produces a rosé that is lighter in body, suitable for a variety of occasions.

Early Skin Separation Techniques

By separating the grape skins from the juice early in the fermentation process, winemakers can achieve a lighter, more delicate rosé. This process highlights the precision and care taken in the winemaking process, often discussed during vineyard tours.

Method 3: The Saignée Method

The saignée, or “bleeding” method, involves removing part of the juice from the must to concentrate the red wine’s flavors and simultaneously create a high-quality rosé. This method showcases the versatility and strategic decision-making in winemaking.

Enhancing Red Wine Concentration

The removal of juice not only results in a superb rosé but also concentrates the flavors of the red wine, demonstrating the dual benefits of the saignée method. This technique is frequently explored in wine tours, illustrating the innovative approaches to winemaking.

Rosé with Food: A Perfect Pair

Rosé wines produced through the saignée method are often lauded for their ability to pair beautifully with food, offering a lighter alternative to red wines during warmer months. This versatility makes them a popular topic in wine tastings and culinary discussions.

By understanding these methods and the considerations behind each, wine enthusiasts can deepen their appreciation for rosé. This knowledge enhances the experience of wine tours in Italy, where the tradition of winemaking is interwoven with innovation and craftsmanship.


Montalbino winery

Montespertoli is a small town in the hills South-West of Florence. The surrounding countryside represents the smallest and youngest DOCG subzone of the greater Chianti wine production area. Only 15 wineries belongs to this consortium. Montalbino is the one we are going to discover today.

A little bit of their history

Montalbino winery is part of the farm owned by the Tinacci family since the early 90’s. In 2015, the middle son Giulio decided to dedicate himself to the vineyards of the estate that his father had no interest in and had rented out until then. He started by working with the existing older vines. He then planted some new ones, rigorously indigenous varieties, and now has a total of 5 hectares of vineyards. In fact, when visiting Montalbino winery, the first thing that Giulio likes to do is to take his guests for a stroll through the vineyards. He explains all the work and selection operations that are required to manage the vines and obtain the best grapes. During this walk his passion and dedication stand right out and build up the right atmosphere and curiosity to taste and discover his wines.

Montalbino wines

At present he is making four wines. The most important is the Chianti Montespertoli DOCG, a blend of Sangiovese with a small percentage of Canaiolo and Colorino. This wine is vinificated and aged entirely in stainless steel vats. It is then aged in the bottle for several months before its release. The lack of aging in wooden barrels keeps this red wine incredibly fruity and fresh. In this wine black cherries are the underlying flavour throughout, with also a good dose of sapidity that would invite anybody to pair it with all the typical Tuscan food. Perfect matches are cold cuts to cheese, meat, but also soups, pasta and vegetables. In spite of the young age – this wine is released when it is about 2 years old – it offers also a very soft and round character.

The other red wine produced is called Montalbino rosso. Now, this is the blend of all the indigenous red varieties that Giulio planted: Fogliatonda, which is the biggest percentage, with also Canaiolo, Colorino and Sangiovese. This wine is in my opinion the one that best represents Giulio: pleasantly young and genuine. Fruity and floral to the nose, extremely soft and drinkable in the mouth. This wine is excellent to accompany meals, but it feels light enough to be enjoyed also as an aperitive. It is the perfect match with the fresh fava beans (baccelli) and young pecorino cheese, very typical in summer. It is no surprise that it gained the recognition as “Top Daily Wine” by Slow Wine.

The white and rosé

To complete his “quartet”, Giulio produces also a white and a rosé. His white is a pure Trebbiano di Toscana. Like the others, it is made using only stainless-steel containers. The batonage operated during the vinification gives this white wine a very round character that complements its acidity, making it a great wine both to accompany meals, and also to be enjoyed alone.

The rosé is the result of an early harvest of Sangiovese grapes, to maintain this wine fresher and lighter. A short cold maceration gives this wine a very light salmon-pink hue. Like all of Giulio’s wines, this too is a winner for freshness and pleasantness. It’s lighter alcohol content makes a perfect aperitive and it would be impossible not to finish the bottle without even realizing!

All in all, at Montalbino, you will find wines that are as fresh and youthful as their maker Giulio, but also tightly connected to the history and tradition of the area, through the use of the older Tuscan varieties and you will be able to perceive the perfect link between the future, present and past. It will be very interesting, in the future, to see how everything will mature and evolve

Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know this winery with one of our  tuscan wine tours.

Poggio al chiuso, fratelli

Poggio al Chiuso winery

Along the old Roman road Cassia, as one approaches the town of Tavarnelle, on a hill overlooking the Pesa Valley, we find the old cellar where everything started for the Poggio al Chiuso winery.

Nowadays it is run by the three Corti brothers: Marco, Matteo and Andrea, who each contributes his own peculiar skills to the continuation and development of this family business that their great-grand father Narciso started back in the 30’s.

During our visits to this winery, Andrea, the youngest of the three, is the one who welcomes you and guides you through the old vineyard and olive grove, and the cellar, while telling you about the history of the winery and introducing the wines that you will later try in the tasting room.

With the eight hectares of vineyard that surround the family home, situated just a few kilometers away from the main cellar, they produce six different wines and, of course, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The reds include a Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG, made in a very traditional way; this wine is a blend of local varieties only – Sangiovese and Canaiolo. After fermentation, it is left to mature in the traditional concrete vats, to preserve all the typical characteristics of the grapes used and become a very pleasant and direct wine. It is a perfect expression of a genuine Tuscan wine, suitable for all food occasions, from a simple picnic to a full course meal. If you are after something that offers more body and complexity, then it would be hard to decide between Le Cappelle, a pure Sangiovese, and Voltaccia 49, a pure Merlot. Both these wines have gained important award recognitions. They are aged in French oak barrels of 500L and left to refine in the bottle before their release on the market, when they are already fully enjoyable with richer meals, or just tasty cheese, but also offering good potential of evolution with further ageing to become good meditation wines.

In addition to these, for something light and fresh, there are also the three Voltaccino versions: white, red and rosé.

Poggio al Chiuso is a place where tradition and innovation are perfectly combined together. By listening to Andrea, you can immediately sense both the energy of the young generation approach to wine making, as well as the great respect they have for tradition, which they treasure and exploit to come up with very interesting and innovative ideas. The best example of this is evident during the visit to the cellar, when you see the bottles of their first production of a sparkling wine, made by the traditional blend used for Chianti – Sangiovese and Canaiolo – and applying the Champenoise method.

Unfortunately this first production will not be ready for tasting until 2023, but this is definitely a great reason to keep in touch with them, while enjoying what is already available to keep our palates entertained!

Book your tuscan wine tour with us now, and we’ll take you to discover Solatione!