On our tour of Tuscany from Rome, we visit the Poggio Il Castellare vineyard in the beautiful landscape of Val D’Orcia. The owners kindly consented to sit for a while after lunch and talk about what makes the region so unique.
1. What types of wine are famous in your region?
This is the most famous region for wines. We have several depending on the area chosen: Brunello di Montalcino, which is typical of this area. Then we have Chianti Classico, Morellino di Scansano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
2. What wine does your vineyard specialize in?
Our characteristic production is Brunello Di Montalcino Poggio Il Castellare. However we have farms in several parts of Tuscany and we produce Chianti Classico Casuccio Tarletti, Morellino Di Scansano Querciarossa, Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Il Faggeto, Vernaccia Di San Gimignano Torre Terza. Lots of wine!
3. What does this wine taste like and what would you pair it with?
Brunello di Montalcino is undoubtedly the most famous Tuscan wine in the world. It is a red of great character. It is a pure Sangiovese Grosso wine which translates as the “blood of Jupiter”. This vine perfectly represents the Tuscan territory.
Among the best food to pair with Brunello are the red meats, game and mature cheeses. However, if the year was exceptional you can also drink it as a meditation wine which means you can just savor it on its own as a mindful experience.
4. When did your cellar start producing wine?
Our family comes from San Gimignano where they had been producing a white wine called Vernaccia since 1489.
5. What else does your cellar produce?
We produce our own extra virgin olive oil and Grappa which is a traditional Italian beverage made from leftover grape skins, seeds and pulp. We also source truffles and make our own marmalades and sauces.
6. What are typical dishes from your region?
Tuscany is a land full of tasteful dishes. Some of the very typical ones are bruschette with onions cured with wine or extra virgin oil. We also do a Pici all’aglione which is a kind of pasta like spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. We have a tomato bread soup made with stale bread, tomato puree and olive oil called Pappa al pomodoro.
Panzanella is a chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. Rabbit in Brunello wine is good in the winter as is Galletto in Scottiglia which is a chicken in a soup. For desserts, we like cream cakes and marmalades.
7. What are your top tips for visiting Tuscany?
Go see the beauty of our hills with amazing colors in every season. Explore our authentic regions full of history and art. Enjoy good wine and the excellent food that differs from village to village.
8. Are there any unique festivals in your area?
Obviously, we do have local festivals mainly focused on food. There is the Sagra Del Galletto (Cockerel Festival) in Camigliano In October. In November is the Sagra Del Tordo (Thrush Festival) in Montalcino, which is also home to the Sagra Del Miele (Honey Festival) in Montalcino
We also have some festivals regarding art and culture. In the nearby area, we host the festival of the smallest cinema in the world in August in Castelnuovo Dell'Abate and Settimana Del Jazz ("Jazz Week") in Montalcino In July.