Traveling in Tuscany: La Dolce Vita (VIDEO)

Chianti Classico Experience

IMG_4691Conceiving the nectar of the gods is a labor of love in the Tuscan wine region where Tuscans have been enjoying the fruits of their labor for centuries. The recipes that have been handed down for generations are the backbone and the heartbeat of this land where heritage and home go hand in hand. And so the Tuscan proverb goes:

“to cook like your mother is good; to cook like your grandmother is better”

IMG_4492Some would call it an embarrassment of riches that even the lifestyles of the rich and famous couldn’t emulate: the intermingling of wine and food, fashion and nature, art and architecture. Where fortresses are easy to find and there is a castle on practically every corner. Just the mere mention this picturesque purlieu is enough leave you hungry for more.

Sinking your teeth into the essence of Italy starts by taking the road that’s often more idealized than traveled. It is a journey to the crossroads where culture, cuisine and community come together. Some have called it La Dolce Vita, but after traveling to Tuscany I realized it’s more than a motto. It’s finding meaning in the mundane, it’s elevating the everyday, it’s having harmony and happiness without needing a reason. For me finding the sweet life started with the Chianti Classico Experience.

IMG_4701The Chianti Classico is Experience is 10 days of wine & food events, seminars, tastings, excursions and games to get acquainted with Chianti Classico producers and their beautiful territory! Our Chianti Classico experience took us to Greve, Lamole and Radda and to various food and wine events including everything from “Let if BEef” to meeting Mr. Meat A.K.A  Dario Cecchini. “Dario the butcher” is famous for teaching Mario Batali the secret to slicing and dicing.

wine oh tv tuscanyThis is the final video of a three part video series I produced highlighting my recent trip to Tuscany. In my first video, Traveling in Tuscany: Uncorking Chianti Classico, we learned what Chianti Classico IS. Then in, Traveling in Tuscany: Wine Tasting & Tours , we met some of the amazing men and women behind the bottle and got up close and personal with the kings and queens of wine country who rolled out the ruby red wine carpet in our honor. In the video above, Traveling in Tuscany: La Dolce Vita, we get a taste of the sweet life and show what it’s like to truly experience Chianti Classico.

Luiano Toscana Rosato 2012

Wine Oh TV LuianoWhile traveling in Tuscany, we got a chance to taste a variety of different wines in addition to Chianti Classico. Alessandro Palombo from Luiano was nice enough to let us taste his lovely Rosato during the “Let it BEef” festivities at his winery. Whether rosé wines make you blush or turn the other cheek one drink of this Rosato and you will start to Rethink the Pink!

Luiano is an ancient fort that dates back to 1389 and today Luiano is a farm entirely dedicated to growing grapes and making wine.  In an effort to keep up with the ever changing wine world, The Palombo Family, who has been running the winery for the past three generations, recently renovated the property.

Advice from the Sherpa Principessa

“Secret to ordering in Italy: When asking for an apéritif to begin your evening make sure your make it a Negroni. For dinner start with Sangiovese and say goodnight with Vin Santo!”

IMG_4497Negroni: Gin, Vermouth and Campari. Equal portions over ice and garnished with half a slice of orange.

It’s widely reported that the Negroni was invented in Florence, Italy in 1919, at Caffè Giacosa now called Caffè Cavalli. The Negroni you saw made in the video was shot at Caffe Cavalli in Florence in June 2013. That was my first Negroni and I have to say it won’t be my last!

Vin Santo: or Vino Santo (holy wine) is a style of Italian dessert wine. Traditional in Tuscany, these wines are often made from white grape varieties such as Trebbiano and Malvasia, though Sangiovese may be used to produce a rosé style known as Occhio di Pernice or eye of the partridge. Though technically a dessert wine, the wines can vary in sweetness levels from bone dry (like a Fino Sherry) to extremely sweet.

Thank you to the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and Balzac Communications for sponsoring my first trip to Tuscany and making it possible for me to share what I learned with all of you! Sherpa Principessa.

Tuscany Last Dinner JournalistsI traveled to Tuscany with five notable male wine experts and wine bloggers. This was my first time traveling with all guys, but luckily for me I had recently read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. In an effort to make Mrs. Facebook proud I did my best to sit at the table both literally and figuratively! During our visit to the rural and rolling hills of Tuscany, we were invited to attend the Chianti Classico Experience. The Chianti Classico Experience is 10 days of wine and food events, seminars, tastings, excursions, and games to get acquainted with Chianti Classico producers and their beautiful territory. Early on in the trip the guys affectionately dubbed me The Principessa. Then I looked around at the gang tweeting on their tiny iPhone’s and rapidly writing on their miniature notepads and looked at down at my tripod, camera, batteries, lights, make-up, hair spray, lip gloss and the 50 pounds of gear strapped to my back and said I’m more like the Sherpa than the Principessa. For the rest of our adventure under the Tuscan sun and sunset, I would be known as the Sherpa Principessa.

Hotels

Rome: Hotel Victoria Roma

Florence: AC HOTEL

Tuscany: Hotel BelvedereMy One Hotel

Restaurants

Rome: Roma Sparita (make to order the Cacio e Pepe)

Florence: Gusta Vino Restaurant, Cibreo

Tuscany: Officina della Bistecca with Dario Cecchini

Wineries

Antinori: www.antinori.it

Castello di Fonterutoli: www.mazzei.it

Villa Calcinaia: www.villacalcinaia.it

Fattoria di Luiano: www.luiano.it

Castello d’Albola: www.albola.it

Fattoria di Montemaggio: www.montemaggio.com

Agricola I Fabbri: www.agricolaifabbri.it

90 point wines under $20 at Wine.com. Shop Now!

Monique Soltani

Monique is the Founder and Host of Wine Oh TV and has a certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Monique is an experienced broadcast journalist and has worked at various television stations across the country and most recently at KPIX-TV/CBS 5 and KSEE-TV/NBC 24

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