Seeking the Tuscan Sun? Meet Poderi di Ghiaccioforte, Barone Pizzini’s Youngest Tuscan Brother

Tuscany is synonymous with all things Italian for many English-speakers and travelers. The colors are iconic: rich wheat-brown fields, brilliant blue skies, the pristine rows of cypress trees that seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. These are all symbols of one of the crown jewels of Italian regions.

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The Maremma region is bordered by the southwestern Tuscan cities of Livorno and Grosseto and to the south, Viterbo and Rome. The Poderi di Ghiaccioforte vineyard lies in this Maremma in Scansano, a nearby Etruscan site. The Sangiovese grape is grown on two distinct plots with different soils that come together for a unique-tasting wine: Pian del Dado which faces east and features a medium-textured soil and Colonna-Aquilaia which faces north with a clayey-calcareous soil.

At this moment in time, the vineyard features three special wines for your consideration. The first is Rosso dei Poderi Maremma Toscana Rosso IGT. Perfect for an aperitivo with friends (imagine a platter of meats and moderately-aged cheeses), this soft and finely textured wine is a perfect companion.

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The Morellino di Scansano DOCG is a full-bodied wine, named for the black breed of horses that pulled carriages so long ago. This is a star wine that highlights all the reasons why Sangiovese grapes are so sought-after in Italian wines.

The Estatatura Toscana Rosso IGT was named for the vast relocation of city-dwellers to Grosseto during the summer months. Indeed, its flavors are the essence of summer- ruby red with hints of violets, the fragrance of blackberries, wild cherries, raspberries and herbs and a broad and mellow taste in the mouth. This is the Riserva wine from Poderi di Ghiaccioforte’s selection and one that is sure to delight all who get a sip.

 

What do you like about Morellino di Scansano?

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Celebrate Biodiversity with Barone Pizzini

Vineyard mountainsThis weekend, June 25 and 26, lovers of Barone Pizzini can experience the biodiversity of the region with a “passeggiata” in the vineyard, led by a wild herb specialist and followed by a tasting of three organic Franciacorta wines in the cellar, constructed according to green building criteria.

As the first certified organic Franciacorta, Barone Pizzini is dedicated to keeping their lands free of the chemical pesticides and fertilizers that can damage the living flora and fauna that contribute to the richness of their vineyards and the surrounding region.

But you don’t have to travel to Lombardy; there are plenty of ways to discover biodiversity in your own backyard – urban or rural – wherever you are. Here are just a few ideas for your summer nature exploration – and where to enjoy a bottle of Barone Pizzini while you’re at it!

  1. The Pine Barrens, NJ

This sprawling stretch of forest in the center of the nation’s most densely populated state has the distinction of being the first National Reserve. Due to its uniquely diverse plant and animal life, it was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations in 1988. Head to the Winslow Wildlife Management area for hiking trails, blueberry and huckleberry picking, and the “blue hole,” rumored to be one of the homes of the legendary Jersey Devil. Then calm your nerves with a bottle of Barone Pizzini Franciacorta from nearby Maro Brothers in Williamstown, NJ.

  1. Daniel Island, SC

This 4,000 acre island has long been a natural oasis within the city of Charleston, SC. Undeveloped until the 1990s, it is now home to a planned residential community, but still contains hundreds of acres of parks. Enjoy your fill of flower walks, biking, and fishing along the Wando River, and then stop by Sauer Grapes for a cold bottle of Barone Pizzini.

  1. Baltimore, MD

The Baltimore Bird Club offers a rich summer program for amateur ornithologists. Catch glimpses of flycatchers, American Kestrel, Wood Ducks and more among the gardens and wetlands of Patterson Park, a verdant space in the center of Baltimore. With or without that elusive rare sighting you’re hoping for, finish the day off right with a visit to the Wine Source for a bottle of Barone Pizzini.

San Pietro in Lamosa monastery: a historic monument & supporter of a chemical-free world

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Above: Last year, the ancient monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa in Franciacorta was the site of a conference devoted to the effects of pesticides on the health of residents in farming communities.

As winery manager Marta Piovani put it in an email to me yesterday, “the monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa is an ancient one and our winery is relatively young. But we have something in common: respect for the environment.”

In October 2012, the beautiful 11th-century monastery – which sits at the edge of a marsh in the same township where Barone Pizzini is located, Provaglio d’Iseo — hosted a conference devoted to the ill effects of pesticides in commercial farming.

The monastery’s support of this cause aligns with the winery’s mission: to improve the quality of wine and to protect the farming community to which it belongs by farming organically, without the use of chemicals.

Not only does Barone Pizzini farm organically, but its mission (and that of its sister winery, Pievalta, in the Marches) is also to promote awareness — through its wines and approach to viticulture — of the harm that chemicals can do to a farming community.

So if you’re heading to Franciacorta this weekend for wine tasting, please stop first at the monastery to explore one of the great monuments of Franciacorta and a wholehearted supported of a chemical-free farming community.

Wine writer Kyle Phillips wrote an excellent post on the monastery a few years ago for About.com.

Lunch at Dispensa Pani e Vini in Erbusco was superlative…

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Marinated coregone (Coregonus lavaretus, European white fish) served with an “ice cream marinade.”

There is no one who can rival the fresh-water fish mastery of chef Vittorio Fusari at his amazing Dispensa Pani e Vini (“Bread and Wine Dispensary”) in the village of Torbiato di Adro (in the province of Brescia).

The restaurant is a temple to locally sourced lake fish and sparkling wine (including many French labels).

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Gently fried perch (Perca fluviatilis) served over a potato “millefoglie.”

I had the great fortune of being treated to lunch at the “dispensary” by Silvano during my recent and very short trip to Italy.

I love the intelligence and elegance of Vittorio’s cooking.

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Vittorio called this superb however simple dish “bread and salt” coregone fillets.

And he expresses his devotion to local fisherman through the eloquence of his menu.

I can’t recommend his restaurant highly enough. This meal alone would have made the trip worthwhile…

—Jeremy Parzen