Sunday, 25 July 2010

Neighbourhood dinner in Montefioralle

Montefioralle was the scene of our neighbourhood dinner last night. Tables ran along the middle of our narrow and only street - enough for 200 people. Good food, good wine and good company. These dinners are open to anyone who buys a ticket (15 euros) and there are usually tickets available until 2-3 days before the event.

On Friday night, I went to Lamole to hear a selection of operatic pieces sung by students attending Daniel Ferro's vocal music course. A good selection starting with the younger students and progressing to the more advanced singers. These concerts are great fun because usually there's some wine and nibbles provided afterwards and the students all seem to be keen to talk. Lamole is in any case well worth a visit if you're in the area, not least for the beautiful drive up from the turnoff from the Chiantigiana highway between Greve and Panzano.

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Shipping wine from Tuscany

To ship wine from Tuscany to distant countries such as the States, Australia or New Zealand is quite easy but might not make economic sense. In the first place, bulk wholesalers are often able to bring wine to market outside Italy for the same price or even less than what it costs at the vineyard. This is because of the substantial discounts they obtain by buying in large quantities. However, you might find a wine you love the taste of that is not going to be available in your home country or home area. Your options include getting the winery to ship a case for you - some but not all do this. Post offices in wine-producing areas sell special wine cartons, allowing you to handle everything by yourself. If you pack it well, putting wine in your checked baggage is an option - maybe each one well wrapped in plastic in case it breaks. Of course, currently, carrying bottles of wine onto the plane is not an option - no liquids allowed. One day this ridiculous rule will disappear and bringing home a few bottles in your hand luggage will once again the the cheapest and safest method of importing small quantities of wine. Visitors within train distance are not limited - yet another reason to travel by train.

Some wineries are more experienced than others in shipping wine. Terre di Melazzano, a producer of good Chianti Classico, will ship cases or even whole pallets of wine for you.

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bibliophile Bookbase - antiquarian books for sale online

Talking of good sources for rare books, one of the best rare books listing sites is Bibliophile Bookbase. They're quite selective about what they list in terms of out of print books, maps and prints and there are dealers listing on the Bookbase who don't list anywhere else. I've found some great stuff there, particularly early traveller accounts of Italy.

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Good list of useful books about Italy

Books about Italy, including maps. I have created a good, ready-prepared list of books about Italy available on Amazon at Books About Italy. This list, based on my own library, covers not only guide books and maps but also villa architecture, gardens, interior decorating, FOOD and WINE. Two other and excellent related websites are Gardens of Tuscany and Villas of Tuscany. Both have good pictures, descriptions and bibliographies. The latter also includes some of the villas of the Veneto (Palladian villas) and of Rome.

And here's a CD, a good guide book and the latest version of Kindle for your ebooks!




Tuscany Toscana
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vacation accommodations in Tuscany

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

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Friday, 2 July 2010

Making wine in terracotta jars

Wine made in terracotta? Seems they've been making wine in terracotta vessels successfully in the Caucasus for the past couple of thousand years. The idea was taken up by Josko Gravner, a famous and innovatory wine-maker located in Friuli. He uses huge terracotta giare buried in the ground to ferment his grapes - no additives except a bit of sulphur. Well, I bought a case of his Breg Anfora. As soon as they've had time to "settle down" in my cellar, I'll report back on how the wine tastes.

Josko Gravner, maker of wine in terracotta jars
Josko Gravner, maker of wine in terracotta jars

There's a terracotta-maker in Impruneta who makes terracotta fermentation barriques. If this wine is any good, I might be paying him a visit. The market is currently awash in good wine - everyone is looking for novel wines to produce, including me.


More about Artenova Terracotta and Wine.

Vacation accommodation in Tuscany
www.bella-toscana.com


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Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hot weather in Tuscany

Tuscan days can be hot and today in Chianti the temperature went up to 33 C. I stayed down in the cantina for most of the afternoon cleaning up my strimmer and then when the day cooled down a bit, I used it to buzz away the grass around the olive trees. Disturbed a couple of grass snakes that were resting in the sun, strung along the tops of the grass, and also saw a slow worm (legless lizard) - they're not really slow! The slow worms hibernate quite deep in the ground - I dug one up last winter. They're much rarer than grass snakes and vipers.

The summer and harvest festivals seasons are only a couple of months away. The Festivals of Tuscany website lists many of the famous ones as well as a few minor but interesting fetivals.

Author: Anna Maria Baldini