Brunello Di Montalcino

Brunello Di Montalcino
By Kevin J O’Rourke

One of the most prestigious and famous wines in Italy is Brunello di Montalcino. The homeland of the wine is located in Tuscany and it is made from Sangiovese grapes. These grapes are grown on the slopes of Montalcino.

Wine enthusiasts who are new to Brunello di Montalcino do not know Brunello translates to “little dark one.” This is the local vernacular for a form of Sangiovese which has large berries. The wine began to increase its reputation as one of the finest in Italy by the time World War II ended. Documents from the government at that time showed that the Biondi-Santi firm was the only commercial producer of this wine. There were only 1888, 1891, 1925, and 1945 vintages available.

The lack of vintages encouraged more producers to make new Brunello di Montalcino wine. This wine was being made by 11 producers by the 1960s. There are nearly 200 winemakers who are mostly small farmers and family estates making this high-quality red wine now.

Complex wines are typically created using traditional wine making methods. This includes aging wine in large oak vats for long periods of time. However, there are some wine enthusiasts that think this method results in a wine that is too dry and tannin. Modern methods for wine making have created fruitier wines due to shorter barrel maturation times and smaller French barrels. This method was first established in the 1980’s.

The classification of Brunello di Montalcino wine means specific regulations need to be followed. The vineyards used for growing the grapes are required to be in areas with good exposure to altitudes that will not exceed 1968 feet or 600 meters above sea level. All vineyards will be located on various hills. Heights at this range are meant to ensure grapes will reach optimal flavor and ripeness before harvesting.

Tuscany has a warm and dry climate that meets all the requirements for growing Sangiovese grapes. This means achieving optimum ripeness will typically not be an issue. Wine needs to be made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes and then aged for a minimum of four years in oak barrels. If wine is meant for commercial release, then it must be bottled four months before offering it for sale.

Some outstanding example of this wine are the Castelgiocondo Brunello and the Riserva Brunello from the same estate made by Marchesi De Frescobaldi. This Riserva is the finest example from this estate. Also from the Marchesi de Frescobaldi family of estates is the Tenuta della Vita Luce Brunello di Montalcino. Luce means light in Italian and the label is an artists impression of this. The Lice recently was awarded 93/100 wine spectator points and is a wine that can be drunk now but will benefit from many years of careful ageing.

For an older style and often consider more traditional example of Brunello look for the Carpineto Brunello di Montalcino. This estate does not especially like the more modern style of this wine and prefers a slower maturation and longer time in bottle. Carpineto has been named IWSC Italian Wine Producer Of The Year in 2003 and was the first ever Italian winery to win the IWSC International Winemaker of the Year Trophy in 1994.

Brunello di Montalcino wines are available from where the owner Kevin O’Rourke carefully selects only the finest restaurant quality wines and makes them available for the public to purchase.

This arduous task of tasting and selecting only the highest quality and greatest value wines is something that Wineman specialises in.

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Verona Wine Tours

How To Take Wine Tours From Verona
By Gabriele Monti

If you are looking to taste great Italian wine and relax in a quiet and serene atmosphere, Valpolicella in Verona is a perfect destination. It is among one of the best tours from Verona. This little town, whose name translates to “valley of many cellars” in Latin, has a long history of welcoming visitors to wine tastings through wine tours. During the tours you visit different wineries and of course you are free to buy some to take home. You even get the chance to learn a little about the process of making wine as you will see several wineries in action. In addition to this, it is close to some of the top tourist destinations such as Lake Garda. Because it has great weather all year, you can go to Valpolicella any time.

Valpolicella has great views that many wake to enjoy every morning during their holiday there. You will not be disappointed by the food choices there – there are lots of quiet restaurants where you can quietly sample different Italian delicacies. As you may already know, Lake Garda, which is visited by many who have been to Valpolicella, is packed with activities for tourists. There is a wide range of water activities that you can enjoy and those who prefer some peace and quite can take a hike in the hills. Don’t forget to order the local wines to accompany your meals. History buffs will also have a great time here – there are castles and churches in this region that have long and interesting histories.

Although Valpolichella is famous for many types of wines, it is most well known for several excellent wines. One of the most famous is Amarone which is short for Amarone della Valpolicella. It is made using a method called Passito that is unique to the area. In brief, grapes are dried for several months before they are fermented. The longer the grapes are left to dry, the denser the sugars and flavors become. Eventually, after the fermentation process is complete the wines are quite alcoholic. The other popular wine making method in the area is called the Ripasso method and it produces wines that have an even fuller body than the Amarone. In short, wine that has already been made using the Passito method is re-fermented. Other wine varieties from this area include Sweet Recioto, the famous Molinara and another very popular brand, the Negrara.

Other than go on wine tasting tours, there are several other things you may want to do while you are there. You can go to Negrar which is halfway between Lake Garda and Verona to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area. Another spectacular scene is the Park Falls of Molina as well as the many historical sites that are near Valpolicella.

Give yourself a treat by visiting Valpolicella; it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy.

If you plan to visit the Itailan north east and you are a wine lover you might consider taking a wine tour from Verona to discover the Vapolicella area and taste some Amarone wine.

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Chianti From Tuscany

Tuscany Chianti Wines
By Susanna Mantovani

Chianti wine takes its name from the area in the countryside near Florence, where we produce the famous Tuscany wine, well known and sold around the world. The taste of these wines is characterized by fruity notes only that match well with the most Tuscan food thanks to their high level of acidity. The grapes used for this wine are mostly from the Sangiovese grape in Tuscany, that is most common in this land. It has found the optimal conditions both for the cultivation of grapes and for the characteristics of the agricultural land in the area Tuscany.

There are many varieties of Tuscan wines that are known worldwide for their high quality, below we make a list of the best:

Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino is a famous wine that takes its name from the place of origin of the grapes from which the product is derived from the vineyards of Sangiovese.

Brunello di Montalcino comes from a small area of renowned Chianti countryside near Florence and is produced in a limited amount that is often unable to cover the high demand. This Tuscan wine is appreciated for its sweet fruity flavor and its more dense texture than other Chianti wines. Brunello di Montalcino wine has been very successful in the USA where it is served in the most famous restaurants in the country thanks to its ability to adapt perfectly to many types of foods.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano

Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a Tuscany white wine considered among the best Italian white wine. The name Vernaccia comes from the name of the grape varieties that are used to produce this excellent Tuscan white wine which was the first Italian wine to receive the mark DOC. The taste is fresh and sparkling. It is one of the hallmarks of Vernaccia di San Gimignano which is fermented in oak barrels, which give this wine a perfect balance.

Tignanello wine

The Tignanello is a wine made from the world famous brand Antinori. This wine was among the first to launch the Super Tuscan wines, which are produced by the mix of grapes from different areas, the wine Tignanello is obtained by combining the classic quality of Tuscan grape Sangiovese with the French Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a quality of grapes mingle and improves by aging in oak barrels.

Morellino di Scansano

Morellino di Scansano is a red wine produced on the coast of the Maremma using grapes grown in the area of Sangiovese di Scansano. Morellino di Scansano wine is made from grapes, where the mix of quality Sangiovese is a large part of the compound. This Tuscan wine is among the few who do not need to age. Its fresh and clean taste can be savored in less than a year of aging.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is obtained by combining various types of grapes, the highest percentage is the quality of the Sangiovese grape, Classic Tuscany, this is mixed with grape vine Canaiolo and small percentages of local grapes. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has an ancient tradition that dates back to ancient times. Today as in the past, this wine is aged in oak barrels for at least two years.

Susanna Mantovani is a expert Florence Tours guide by Made of Tuscany

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Favorite Italian Wine

When a Wine Seduces Your Senses
By Diego Ganeo

As I have always said in many articles, it is really quite rare to me to express a complete and uncontested satisfaction when I taste a wine. This emotion – or it would be better to say “surprise” – happened to me last year, when I met Mr. R. Rancan, a joyful and happy man who entered Ca’ dei Conti in 2007, the vineyard that his family had managed for almost seventy years, since 1940. In this circumstance, I discovered his own small production of wine in the renowned area of Valpolicella.

I have tasted many Valpolicella Superiore DOC wines before but never ever I have tried a similar product. So let me try to explain my impressions.

The first thing that astonished me was, as I said before, the “surprise”. When you are going to taste a Valpolicella Superiore, your mouth and mind are ready to a certain kind of taste. Of course, you expect a full-bodied wine with some typical features common among the Northern Italian wines. These features are not the ones you are going to taste in the Valpolicella Superiore DOC by Ca’ dei Conti. Perhaps, it could appear more like an Amarone than a Valpolicella Superiore DOC to an expert.

Just smelling it, the nose is enchanted by deep and complex flavours. I have closed my eyes and let my mind travel around all the hints that this wine gave to me. Chocolate, vanilla, leather, oak are clearly perceivable, and also some nuances of toasted and animals aromas. The intensity of the scent is high and persistent.

If the nose has not been captured enough, the mouth will complete the escalation of feelings, giving the final positive judgment. It is in the mouth that it is possible to feel the true power of this wine. This Valpolicella Superiore DOC is balanced, full-bodied (indeed it has 15% alc. vol.).

Now, to the inexperienced “listeners” this wine could sound like something strange or new. But actually, there is nothing new. The vinemaker has simply retrieved some dated grapes that were grown in the Valpolicella area many years ago. One of these grapes is the so called “Oseleta”. This grape shows certain features that gives the wine a particular body and color. Nowadays, the Oseleta grape can be considered one of the most prestigious and top valued grape in Northern Italy. In the Valpolicella Superiore DOC by Ca’ dei Conti, there is a 5% of Oseleta that makes the difference.

It is a wine that can be ideally paired with important main courses based on grilled or stewed meat. Even better with game. In the meantime, it is a meditation wine, that could be perfectly appreciated alone, in front of fireplace.

Try this wine on Pure Italian Tradition [].

Pure Italian Tradition is the e-commerce of the Italian excellence, fruit of years and years of research, tastings and selections. Not only a place to find high quality wines and fine food but the place to learn the exquisite Italian art of fine living.

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Italian Wine Cruise

Enjoy the Highlights of a Wine Cruise in Italy
By Paul D Newman

Italian cruising holidays are a great way to discover the country. With so many beautiful waterways to explore, and a host of wonderful Italian ports to stop off in, you’ll experience a very different view of the country.

One of the most popular options for boating holidays in this region is to go on a wine cruise. Here are some of the highlights you can enjoy around the lovely Venice and Mantua region.


Mazzorbo is a gem of a town located not far from Venice. On a cruise along the waterways in the area, it is definitely one of the Italian ports you should disembark to explore. Here you will find the Venissa wine estate, which has a delightful walled vineyard, and of course you will have the opportunity to taste some of the excellent wine it produces.

Villa Widmann Borletti

Villa Widmann Borletti is in Adria, another of the Italian ports you may be able to visit on your journey. This huge complex was designed by Baldassare Longhena, an architect from the 17th century, and is a fascinating place to explore. You will also be able to visit its wine estate and indulge in some more wine tasting opportunities.


This medieval town is famous for its dry wines, so it will definitely be one of the stops on the itinerary of a wine cruise of the region. The garganega grape produces excellent whites, so a tasting session here will be a real treat for wine aficionados.

Other Highlights Along the Way

There are many other highlights on a wine cruise through this region of Italy. Venice itself is a wonderful city to explore, with many world-famous attractions including St Mark’s Basilica and the Grand Canal. You can also cruise past islands like San Giorgio Maggiore, with their brightly coloured houses.

Choggia is another great place to stop off, and the fish market held here is a bustling and vibrant place to spend some time. You can also stop off in Ferrara to see Estense Castle and Schifanoia Palace, which is home to some 15th century frescoes. When you reach Mantua, a visit to the Ducal Palace with its many gardens and thousands of paintings is an absolute must.

Enjoy a Wine Cruise in Italy

Italy is rightly famous for its beautiful towns, famous sights and, of course, its wines. You can combine all of these on a dedicated wine cruise, stopping off at various Italian ports and exploring each of them at a leisurely pace.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, a provider of luxury, all-inclusive barge holidays. If you’re looking for river cruises, we have a host of itineraries stopping at numerous Italian ports to enjoy the sights of the country’s most picturesque waterways. We also offer experiences in France, Holland and the UK.

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The Wine-Tasting Wonders of Italian River Cruises

Cooking With Italian Wines

The Art of Cooking With Italian Wines
By Jennine Cambell

Few pleasures feel as amazing as taking a sip of a good Italian wine while enjoying dinner. Well for us it is before, during and after dinner. Yet, it is not necessary to gulp down a full glass of wine if your main goal is to simply savor the flavor of it. You can enjoy the flavor of your Italian wine by cooking dishes with it, too.

Let us find out what cooking with Italian wine is about.

Why Italian wine?

A number of international dishes make use of wine, most common being Spanish, Italian and French cuisines. All of these cuisines can be prepared using nearly any variety of wine, yet the Italian varieties seem to have established a rather large fan base, especially when it comes to cooking with it. They are the largest producers of wine in the world. Cooking with Italian wine is a wonderful way to give a unique flavor and an added kick to your dish.

Aspiring for greatness

Whether a dish cooked with wine comes out great or not depends on the quality of wine used. If you use a wine of lower quality, your dish may not taste as great. But if you make use of an amazing wine, the same dish will turn out delicious! To determine whether to use a wine for cooking or not, you may want to taste it first. If you like the taste, you can then proceed to cook with it.

Note also that, when it comes to Italian wine, price has nothing much to do with quality. So, buying the most expensive wine is not guaranteed to give you the best results. The way we see it, if you enjoy drinking it, then you will enjoy using it in your dish.

Another technique is to pairing the wine’s region with a regional dish. If you have a Tuscan recipe then try pairing it with a wine from the same region.

Not all wines are the same

Different dishes do best with different varieties of wine. Desserts do best when a fruity, rich variety of wine is used. Strong white wines, on the other hand, compliment sauteed and baked dishes beautifully. Red wines bring out the best of hearty dishes and foods rich in meat.

The best part of cooking with wine

The best part about Italian wine, in the context of cooking, is that foods cooked with it can be enjoyed by everyone. Since the boiling point of alcohol is 175 degrees Fahrenheit, the alcohol contained in Italian wine gets evaporated very quickly during the cooking process, making the final dish free from alcohol. Boiled long enough and the wine will turn into more of a glaze, perfect for use on ice cream and other desserts. Therefore, even food lovers who are underage, or who do not consume alcohol, can enjoy delicious foods cooked using Italian wine!

Cooking is an enjoyable hobby and cooking with wine can be even more enjoyable. Gourmet Food Review is the place for recipes, cooking tips, cooking videos and an online food magazine. Perfect for those looking to explore all that is new in the culinary world. For videos related to cooking with wine is your source.

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Prosecco – 12 Things Most People Don’t Know
By Lee E Brannon

12 Things You Never Knew About Prosecco

Prosecco is taking the wine world by storm and has been doing so for the last 10 years. Is there any sign of sales slowing down? Most definitely not! In fact, over the last 3 or 4 years sales of this amazing Italian sparkler have been increasing even faster year on year. Northern Italian vineyards just can’t grow enough of those Glera grapes.

But, whilst we can all see the immense popularity of Prosecco, with new brands appearing on supermarket shelves, in off licences and in online shops almost daily, so it would seem, how much do we wine drinkers actually know about the origins of Prosecco, how it’s made and even what it is? Well, this article aims to answer these questions and more by introducing you, the reader and dedicated wine enthusiast, to 12 things you never knew about Prosecco. All of the facts covered below will enable you to WOW your friends and party guests when you next find yourself pouring glasses of bubbly. So, without further ado, let’s get started:

1) A glass of Prosecco has fewer calories than a glass of wine

It’s true! Your average glass of red wine has around 125 calories and a glass of Prosecco has only about 90 calories. So, if you need to watch your calorie intake but you don’t want to knock wine on the head altogether, switch to Prosecco.

2) An occasional glass of Prosecco is actually good for your health

A number of health studies have been carried out into the potential benefits of drinking a moderate amount of sparkling wine with surprising results. These studies suggest that sparkling wine can actually help your heart by improving blood circulation through the alteration of how your blood vessels work. The polyphenols in the wine, which are antioxidants, increase the availability of nitric oxide in the blood which also helps control blood pressure. The polyphenols come from the grapes that the wine is made with and are also present in other fruits and vegetables. But, and make sure to remember this one, they are also present in chocolate! Before you get too excited, though, we must also remember “Everything in moderation”.

3) The origins of Prosecco

We all know it’s Italian, but where does it come from? The answer to this question is Northern Italy, specifically the nine provinces of Veneto and Fruili Venezia Giulia.

4) Drinking Prosecco lessens your risk of waking with a hangover

There are obvious limitations here, mind you! The point is that, unless you’re drinking a very sweet, budget Prosecco, sparkling wines are much less likely to leave you with a hangover after a few glasses. It’s generally lower in alcohol than most still wines but the fizz brings the feeling of indulgence in spades!

5) It’s less expensive than Champagne

OK, this one’s probably obvious to anyone who’s ever bought Prosecco and Champagne but the point is, that even though there’s a significant price difference between the two products, that indulgent feeling is most definitely still there. Many wine drinkers who are not wild about Champagne, and in fact many dedicated Champagne drinkers, would say that Prosecco has a broader appeal due to its lightness and fruitiness when compared with traditional Champagnes.

6) Differentiating Prosecco brands

As mentioned previously, most brands of Prosecco are made using Glera grapes exclusively. The particular qualities of a brand of Prosecco depend upon where those grapes were grown. Glera grapes grown on the lower slopes of a hillside have very different characteristics from those grown on the higher slopes in more minerally soil. Some brands also blend in small amounts of other grape varieties to introduce required tastes and bouquets.

7) A popping cork can fly at speeds of up to 25mph

Prosecco corks are very light and are highly unlikely to cause damage to the ceiling or the wall, but you do need to make sure no-one has their face in the expected trajectory of the cork and you should definitely aim away from your Mum’s best china!

8) There’s an Italian town named “Prosecco”

The name “Prosecco” is derived from the Italian village of Prosecco which is near Trieste in north-eastern Italy. Prosecco was first mentioned way back in the 16th century and the grapes used to make it were originally called “Prosecco” grapes. Nowadays these grapes are known as “Glera” grapes.

9) Not all Prosecco is sparkling

There are 3 different levels of bubbliness for Prosecco: Spumante, which is the most effervescent, Frizzante, which has a more gentle fizz and Tranquillo, which is a still Prosecco.

10) Prosecco is a genuine rival to Champagne

In 2013, global sales of Prosecco overtook those of Champagne for the first time. Prosecco outsold Champagne by 307 million bottles to 304 million and officially became the World’s favourite sparkler.

11) Bellini cocktails were originally made with Prosecco

Although many wine bar and restaurant recipes contain Champagne as the main sparkler in a Bellini, these popular cocktails were originally made with Prosecco and the balance now seems to be swinging in favour of Prosecco once more as it’s a less expensive and more widely appealing bottle of fizz.

12) The UK consumes more Prosecco than Italy

UK wine consumers drink almost 2.5 times the amount of Prosecco that the Italians drink. We also pay twice as much per litre. It goes without saying that the Prosecco market in the UK is huge!

So, there you have it. Go forth and amaze your friends with your newly acquired knowledge regarding Prosecco. It certainly seems that there are an awful lot of people talking about it at the moment!

Find out even more about Prosecco on the Premier Estates Wine website where you can buy a case or just a single bottle of our award winning Prosecco with free delivery.

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Lugana Wine Region

The Lugana Doc Consortium and Its Wines
By Elena Vairani

Lugana is the name of a magical land nestled within the ancient Quadrilateral defence system of the Lake Garda region, bordered by Sirmione and Pozzolengo north and south, Desenzano and Peschiera del Garda east and west (with Lonato del Garda being the firth town). The Lugana wine region encompasses two provinces (Brescia and Verona) and two regions (Lombardy and Veneto) in the morainic plain south of Lake Garda. The white, refined lakeshore native known as Lugana has an illustrious pedigree: although its origin was certified in the 1700′, the viticultural heritage of the area traces back to the Roman Empire. Its unique qualities originate from the beneficial microclimate of the lake, the local clay soil, and a particular variety of grapes named “turbiana” that make it full-bodied, age worthy, and grant it a floral and citrus bouquet. Today Lugana is one of the best-selling Italian wines on the market.

The Trebbiano grapes

Althought production standards foresee the presence of complementary varieties of non-aromatic white grape at a ratio of 10%, today winemakers in the area tend to make Lugana only and exclusively with trebbiano grapes.

This purist approach is possible thanks to a vine that proved to derive from this terroir resources beyond belief for any variety of Trebbiano. The current production standards include five different types of Lugana wine: the basic version, Superior, Reserve, Vendemmia Tardiva (late harvest) and Spumante.

Different types of Lugana wines

The basic Lugana is the driving force behind the entire appellation, its keystone, the quality control gauge for the appellation area: its production range covers almost 90% of the Doc. It’s colour is light straw-yellow with green re- flexes; its aroma is a delicate, subtle mix of floral and almond notes; its taste is harmonious, rich, defined, tight and luscious.

The Lugana Superiore was officially introduced in 1998, and in order to bear this label the wine must age or mature for at least one year after the grapes are harvested. Its profile is more variegated and complex: the colour has a more golden reflexes, with more articulated aromas, hints of wild herbs, chlorophyll, ripe apple, citrus (primarily mandarin), mixed with notes of filbert nuts or spices from the wood used in the aging process (ever less new and green these days, with greater capacity); its mouth feel has greater structure, supported by lively yet supple acidity crossed with a hint of minerals that confer to the wine a very subtle and intriguing “saltiness”.

The Lugana Riserva, introduced with the last revision of the production standards in 2011, is the natural evolution of the Superior: it must age or mature for at least 24 months, 6 of which in a bottle, has brighter colours, more evolved and complex aromas with smoky notes and balsamic reflexes, warmer mineral notes on the palate but otherwise just as enveloping, luscious, and persistent.

First introduced by the standards in 1975 the Spumante version represents a consolidated tradition instead. Today Lugana Spumante is produced using both the Charmat or Martinotti method – autoclave refermentation- and the classic method – bottle refermentation. In the first case, the organoleptic profile is simpler and crisp, with primary notes of citrus and a creamier, more luscious perlage, while in the second is more refined and complex, with a more elegant and dynamic bouquet and a more graceful, crackling perlage.

If you’re interested in Lugana wines, please contact us or visit our website.

Visit our website and you can find a selection of the best Italian wines:

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