That's how our trip to Italy started. At first we wanted to start in Italy's Alto Adige, but after a thorough investigation of prices for accommodation and tastings, we moved our thoughts to Tuscany's wonderful Piemonte, where it is more affordable after all.
Our journey begins in the Tuscan Florence, or after their Firenze (read with an Italian accent and a strong gesticulation with the right hand). A city of art, as many would say. My collecting detour brought us to the Uffizi Gallery and, expecting masterpieces by Caravaggio, we leave with a slight disappointment. Not because the ticket costs 20 EUR per person, but mainly because there are not as many paintings there as in Lisbon or Barcelona. We have dinner at Tratoria Za Za. Don't be put off by the queue outside the restaurant. All you have to do is report your name and you will be seated within 15 minutes.
But a person is alive not only from food. We also need wine. I always do some research before a trip and this time is no different. We started with the Viticcio winery and if I had known where we would be driving in the next few days, I would have bought a bigger, much bigger and above all taller car. But the journey is the goal, and we arrived at the first station despite the sixth category journey, think of it as a Czech Polňačka. A nice lady told us a story, we tasted, ate great breads with mushrooms, bought some and went on.
We recently watched Chef’s Table on Netflix and wannabe vet, actually butcher, Dario Cecchini talks about his livelihood there. We admired his enthusiasm for animals and nature, about the need to have the highest respect for animals and use everything they give us. It stuck in our heads that it is actually in Florence and right in the village of Greve. Which was on our way to Montepulciano. His perfect beef has no competition. They own a couple of restaurants, to which you need to reserve a place quite a long time in advance. But he also has a "bistro" in the same village, for which you do not need a reservation. We had lunch there.
Our journey continued through mountains, mines and vineyards to the small town of Montepulciano. We visited these wineries along the way and you can't go wrong: Livernano, Castello di Ama, Casanuova di Ama and Castello di Brolio. At the end of the article, all these places will be with addresses and GPS locations.
Montepulciano is well known in the wine world as a typical area for local red wine. It is a small, relatively cozy but otherwise empty town. We stayed at Mueble Evoe, at a grandfather's place with his own parking space right in front of the house, and had dinner here at E Lucevan Le Stelle.
The next morning we set off towards the village of Montalcino and back to Florence. Along the way, a winery awaited us, again following the classic Czech Polňačka. Podere del Ripi is a biodynamic but fairly large winery. Sommelier Camilla gave us quite a bit to taste and it was worth it. We leave with a few bottles in the direction of Florence, where we stay the rest of the day.
Before we reach the promised land, read Piemonte. We are setting up for a day in Liguria, to the sea while we are already in that small town. We wanted to see Cinque Terre, which is 5 villages, isolated from the world, hidden in a national park. So isolated that you will have to leave your car hundreds of meters from the entrance. I miscalculated a bit and we went too far west. Somehow we missed the Cinque Terre and ended up near the town of Albenga. They stayed with a local winemaker and hoped for good wine. Unfortunately for us, this area is focused on whites and you know what they say here, compared to ours and Spanish reds. We ended up in the same way. Two wineries are worth mentioning, the biodynamic Durin and the well-known Maria Donata Bianchi. It was a good experience, but next time straight to Piemonte.
Our main destination was the town of Barbaresco and Barolo in the Piemonte wine region. We went to the first one for lunch. As soon as you enter the outskirts of Barbaresco, you are immediately intoxicated. Endless, regularly arranged vineyards as far as the eye can see. We had lunch at the Antica Torre restaurant and we really liked the wine they poured for us. We found out that it is made just outside the village. Ronchi Winery is a small family winery that fills part of its production in ceramic amphorae. In addition, he also plays music for them, yes, exactly like the farmers of Vesničko má středisková.
We visited the Marchesi Di Gresy winery before staying with a local winemaker at Agroturismo Rio Sordo. In addition to the tour, we also met the head winegrower Jeffry, who, thanks to his love for the Czech Republic, rewarded us with a few of his specialties from the white wine section. With happiness on our faces and a bunch of bottles, we leave one house further.
Our wine-educated friends tipped us off to four must-see wineries. Friendly gentleman Michelle Reverdito who we rate as one of the best in the area. A great Nada Fiorenzo that we caught between vintages. The magnificent Olim Bauda and the wonderful Ca' Del Baio.
All four produce great wines, but only one will remain in the deep memory. Michelle Reverdito speaks broken Italian English and his wines are velvety and animalistic, in the best sense of the word. He will remain in our memory thanks to his sympathetic approach to us and to his wine. We will definitely come again.
We visited two more wineries in Barolo and Barbaresco. Josetta Safirio, completely unknown to us, where we bought a tour package with lunch. We were a bit apprehensive about it, but the value we got from it really paid off. In addition to the great tour, the story, the tasting of all the samples, we also had lunch at the winery, which could be equal to the best restaurants. The last winery that opened its doors to us was the well-known Vietti. For me as a photographer, a completely unique space and historic cellars deep below the castle in the local village.
We are leaving for Moravia with a suitcase full of cartons of wine. We wave to the green hills and look forward to next year when the 2016 vintage will be available. Considered by many to be the best in decades. Then again next year Piemonte.
Once a month you will explore original stories, look behind the scenes and probably learn something new.
© 2024 Marek Dvorak / Photography