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Wine tastings: a holiday in the vineyards

This article on wine tasting on holiday is published in issue 24-25 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until 18 June 2024.

Under the portico there is a continuous chirping of swallows circling as if in a dance, taking turns at the nest to look after their offspring. It’s them, à la Ferdinanda Artimino estate, the Villa dei Cento Chimneys (Unesco Heritage), which with song announce the day, the beautiful season, the joy of living. The same lush explosion of spring, among vineyards, olive groves and flowering fields, which had conquered Ferdinando I de’ Medici when, in 1596, he decided to build his residence of hunting, where an Etruscan settlement once stood and near the medieval village of Artimino.

A room in the Paggeria Medicea

Today, next to the villa, where wine tastings are organised, perhaps right in the kitchen in front of the ancient rotisserie built to a design by Leonardo da Vinci (Galileo Galilei was also a guest here, to instruct the young Cosimo “in mathematics”), you can stay at the Paggeria Medicea, a hotel housed in a seventeenth-century building, in the apartments of the village or in the Fagianaie − farmhouses −, relax in the wellness centre, try Tuscan specialties in the two restaurants, Biagio Pignatta and La Cantina del Redi, to be combined for example with the Grumarello Reservea Carmignano from the estate, a very ancient name linked to the history of the Medici family, which deserves a place alongside the great Tuscan reds.

Nipozzano Castle in Chiantu Rufina for special wine tastings

Nipozzano Castle, in Chiantu Rufina, for special wine tastings

Still a few kilometers from Florence, but in the Chianti Rufina area, Nipozzano Castle it is one of the nine Frescobaldi wineries. Next to the thousand-year-old residence, as old as the family, four bedrooms have been created in the former oil mill, each with the name of a variety of olive tree on the estate, a common area for breakfast and a garden with Jacuzzi tub. To try, the crus of the Castle, Montesodi And Murmoretoperfect in combination with the irresistible Coccoli with Tuscan ham offered by the Il Quartino bistro in Pelago, Marchesi Frescobaldi’s wine shop.

The Frantoio room in Nipozzano

The Frantoio room, in Nipozzano

Among the Monferrato hills, there is an indigenous vine that has been experiencing a rebirth for some years: Monferace, Grignolino par excellence, is the project of some winemakers who want to restore prestige to a wine that was once highly sought after in numerous European courts. This “noble” and long-lived red is also produced by the winery of Tenuta Santa Caterina Relais in Grazzano Badoglio, sumptuous bed & breakfast housed in an ancient residence that preserves the decorative beauty of Piedmontese Baroque.

At Tenuta Santa Caterina nel Monferrato tastings of the company's wines such as Monferace

At Tenuta Santa Caterina, in Monferrato, tastings of the company’s wines, such as Monferace

The relaxation “path” goes from the halls with vaulted ceilings to the suites, from the Italian gardens with a view of the vineyards and the walnut forest to the visit with wine tastings of the historic cellar and the infernotto (an underground room dug by hand in the stone from cantons, Unesco Heritage) 17 meters underground. A walk to the lake is unmissable where, among the aquatic vegetation and the flight of dragonflies and fireflies, a pair of gray herons lives.

Baroque hall at Tenuta Santa Caterina

Baroque hall at Tenuta Santa Caterina

Still nature, well-being and tastings are the ingredients of a relaxing holiday in Villa Cordevigo, 5-star luxury hotel (associated with Relais & Châteaux) in Cavaion Veronese, in the Bardolino area on Lake Garda, elegant 18th century Venetian residence with Renaissance noble chapel, park of centuries-old trees, water features − as well as a swimming pool − and two gourmet options: Oseleta, a starred restaurant by chef Marco Marras, and the Cordevigo Restaurant, with a terrace overlooking the vineyards, where the dishes are prepared with many products grown in the large organic garden. In addition to their wines, also the perfumed one is worth trying Gin Villa Cordevigocreated with juniper berries harvested on the property.

Fiefs of Pisciotto Val di Noto

Feudi del Pisciotto, Val di Noto

Hasselblad H5D

From the villa to the baglio: in the heart of the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, on the edge of the Sughereta di Niscemi Oriented Nature Reserve (Caltanissetta), an ancient 18th century fiefdom welcomes Fiefs of Pisciotto, wine relais in the Val di Noto with magical Sicilian charm. The restaurant, with a view of the barrel cellar through the glass floor, was created in the wine cellar of the millstone (an ancient place for pressing and winemaking), to which a modern cellar was annexed.

The ancient millstone

The ancient millstone

Alfio Garozzo

The rooms and suites, very comfortable while retaining sandstone and stone ashlar walls, wooden ceilings and original floors, are a mix of past and modernity. Like the production of wines, among the tradition represented by Nero d’Avola Versace (among the best 100 wines in the world second Wine Spectator), and innovations such as their atypical passito, obtained from Gewürtztraminer and Sémillon and not from Zibibbo, or the cultivation of Pinot Noir which gives life to an exceptional red, The eternalexpression of endless sensations.

Source: Vanity Fair

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