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Italian Wine 101

The Ten Best Italian White Wines: A Beginner’s Guide

Italy’s white wines are as diverse as the country’s reds. With a trove of native varieties, there is an Italian white wine to fit every budget and every occasion. In fact, there are so many choices that shopping for an Italian white wine can be overwhelming. It doesn’t help matters that many of the white grapes have similar looking names. However, you don’t have to memorize an encyclopedia to find the perfect wine for dinner.

Just knowing a few key wines will ease the confusion and simplify the shopping trip (hint, if the grape or wine name has a “v” in it, you will probably love it.)

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The Legend of Chianti's Black Rooster (Gallo Nero)

The Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) was the historic symbol of the League of Chianti and has become the symbol of the wines of Chianti Classico. The Black Rooster symbol is linked to a medieval legend that takes place during the time of open hostilities between Firenze and Siena for control of the Chianti territory.

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Chianti Classico with sommelier Jeffrey Porter

Chianti Classico: From Medici to Marvelous

Nestled in the hills of Tuscany with some of the most unique soils in the world with one of the greatest grapes in the world, Chianti Classico is a wine that conjures up the best (and worst) associations within the world of wine.

Get the inside scoop! Join Jeffrey Porter, Beverage Director for the acclaimed Italian restaurant group Batali & Bastianich, as he guides you through the history and specificities of Chianti Classico.

Presenter: Sommelier Jeff Porter

Originally from Texas, Jeffrey’s passion for wine started while at the University of Texas at Austin.

He began his career at Central Market in Austin, Texas.

After graduating Jeffrey moved to California where he worked as a sales person for a wholesaler in the Bay Area.

His sommelier career began in Napa Valley working at Tra Vigne Ristorante in St. Helena, California.

He joined the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group in 2009 at Osteria Mozza.

In 2011 he moved to New York to become the wine director for Del Posto and in 2014 Jeffrey became the Beverage Operations Director, overseeing the beverage programs for Babbo, Del Posto, Esca, Lupa, Otto, Babbo Pizzeria & Enoteca in Boston, MA, and our newest restaurant La Sirena at the Maritime Hotel.

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Classic cuisines of Northern Italy with Barbara Philip MW

Webinar Abstract:

Join Barbara Philip MW on a winelover’s tour of Northern Italian cuisine.

Discover why food and wine that grew up together make such timeless matches and why the table is the center of Italian culture, regardless of the region. Focus will be on ingredients, rather than technique, and how the food is enjoyed both in restaurants and at home.

The tour will start in the northwest, covering Val d’Aosta, Piedmont and Liguria than travel through Lombardy, Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli and Emilia-Romagna.

Barbara Philip MWPresenter: Barbara Philip MW

 

Barbara Philip MW became the first Canadian woman to achieve the Master of Wine designation in 2007.  Based in Vancouver, she is a Category Manager for BC Liquor Stores where she is responsible for European wines. 

With her husband Iain, Barb runs Barbariain Wine Consulting and works as a presenter, judge and radio columnist on CBC Radio One’s “On The Coast”.

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Tuscany Wine Study Tour with Jane Hunt, Master of Wine

Embark on our 2018 Tuscany Study Tour with on site professional-level instruction 

Tuscany Wine Study Tour Highlights

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to travel through all the key appellations of this authentic Italian wine region with a true expert and fabulous instructor!

Tuscany’s famous hills are home to some of the world's most notable wine regions. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano showcase Sangiovese, the king of red grapes in Toscana. The wines of Bolgheri will challenge what you think you know about Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Experiencing the incredible wines of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, may make you see Italian white wines in a whole new light.

A lot meets the eye when you visit the beautiful Toscana, but so much more is waiting to be discovered. Toscana’s diverse climatic conditions, soils and topography makes the region a vast mosaic of distinctive terroirs—often combined with a rich historic and cultural heritage hard to match elsewhere. 

  • Enjoy personal guidance and instruction from Jane Hunt, Master of Wine and senior judge for Italian wines at the Decanter World Wine Awards tasting competition
  • Visit the region’s most iconic wine appellations including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Bolgheri
  • Get access to some of the most prestigious and sought-after small wine producers and experience the wonder of “insider” tours
  • Discover how short distances between wine regions manifest themselves in the glass as you taste the remarkable differences
  • Let Tuscany’s medieval cities transport you through time as you follow cobblestone trails in the region’s famous walled cities
  • Indulge in the renowned, authentic cuisine of Tuscany…cave-cultivated button mushrooms, juicy white Sologne asparagus, goat cheeses, black truffles, saffron, artichokes and all manner of tree and berry fruits.

Travel with like-minded, committed students of wine, whether serious wine hobbyists or wine professionals, and share with us an unforgettable educational, epicurean and enlightening experience! Trips are open to people from all countries, and are held in English.

MEMORIES FROM OUR 2017 TUSCANY WINE TOUR:

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Your Instructor & Guide: Jane Hunt, Master of Wine

  • Senior judge for Italian wines at Decanter Wine World Awards tasting competition
  • Master of Wine specialized in Italian wines
  • Jane speaks fluent Italian and spends 6 month of the year in Umbria where she produces olive oil from her own trees
  • Director and Lecturer for 'Wine Academy Italia' running WSET Courses in Italy

Your Tour Manager: Mauro Businaro

Assisting the instructor and making sure logistics run smoothly and that your needs are answered will be Mauro Businaro.

Mauro is an experienced Sommelier and member of the AIS (Italian Sommelier Association).  He lives in Padua, Italy and organizes food and wine events, classes and day tours in Venice and the Veneto wine region. 

Tour Itinerary*

Sunday, May 27 | D

  • Participants arrive independently and meet late afternoon at Pisa Airport
  • Transfer south to the Maremma on the Mediterranean coast and check into beachside hotel 4-star Park Hotel Marinetta.
  • Enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the Hotel’s gastronomic restaurant.

Monday, May 28 | Bolgheri | B, L

  • Visit Ca’Marcanda, where Angelo Gaja, the renowned Piedmont winemaker, concentrates on growing international grape varieties.  A tasting of Gaja’s fabulous wines completes the visit.
  • At top Super Tuscan producer Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, you’ll have an in-depth visit and tasting.
  • Enjoy a wonderful gourmet lunch at Osteria San Michele.
  • Visit Podere Grattamacco, an organic producer in an unusually sunny microclimate.  You’ll have a visit with the technical staff and a wonderful tasting.
  • Return to the hotel for an evening on your own to enjoy one of their two fine restaurants, or other recommended restaurants nearby.

Tuesday, May 29 | Bolgheri, Suvereto | B

  • An auspicious start to the day with a visit and tasting at Tenuta San Guido and the most venerable of the Super Tuscans, Sassicaia.
  • Visit and tasting at Tenuta Guado al Tasso, part of the illustrious Antinori family of vineyards.
  • Enjoy some free time in the charming village of Bolgheri and have a light lunch on your own.
  • In Suvereto, visit Gualdo del Re, the great organic producer in the Val di Cornia DOCG.
  • Arrive in Siena, one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, and check into 4-star Hotel NH Siena.  The evening is yours to discover this incredible city and dine at one of its fine restaurants.

Wednesday, May 30 | Brunello di Montalcino | B, L, D

  • Great visits and tastings today in this classic Tuscany appellation, at three top producers like Canalicchio di Sopra, Maronetto, Biondi Santi or Il Poggioni.
  • Enjoy a rustic lunch with views of the valley at Locanda Demetra.
  • Move on to Radda in Chianti and check in to historic 4-star Palazzo Leopoldo.
  • Take the evening to explore the charming village of Radda, with our restaurant suggestions.

Thursday, May 31 | Chianti Classico | B, L, D

  • Your first visit is at Isole e Olena.  Here Paolo De Marchi produces the 100% Sangiovese Cepparello, hailed as one of the greatest expressions of Sangiovese from Tuscany today.
  • Visit Castello di Fonterutoli, with its state-of-the-art winery, spectacular view of Siena and great wines.
  • Enjoy a gourmet meal of Tuscan specialties at the estate’s own Osteria di Fonterutoli .
  • A visit awaits you at Fontodi, a certified Organic estate with a special terroir called “Conca d’Oro” (the golden shell) for its amphitheatre shape.
  • Return to Radda for your farewell dinner at the lovely (and delicious) Ristorante La Botte di Bacco.



Friday, June 1 | Chianti Classico | B, L

  • Visit highly-rated Badia a Coltibuono where you’ll not only visit their very modern winery but also their 11th-century Romanesque monastery and lush botanical garden, followed by a tasting.
  • Visit Castello Vicchiomaggio, with its ancient castle, and taste through their range of great wines.
  • Enjoy lunch at Rinuccio restaurant on the roof of the spectacular cellar at Antinori’s winery in Bargino.
  • Round out your time in Tuscany with a visit and tasting at the Antinori family’s legendary estate, Tenuta Tignanello.
  • Late afternoon group transfer to Florence Santa Maria Novella train station and Florence Airport.  You may wish to extend your stay to visit this beautiful city with many cultural sites of interest.



Legend for meals included in your tour: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

* Itinerary subject to change: every effort will be made to keep the itinerary as close as possible to what appears here; however, the final itinerary and estates/winemakers included may vary due to wine producer schedules, availability and factors beyond our control.  The wine estates visited during this trip will all be of the highest quality.

Your 6 Day, 5 Night Tuscany Immersion Study Trip includes:

  • Instruction throughout by Tuscan wine expert Jane Hunt, Master of Wine
  • The services of a Tour Manager throughout, to provide customer service and logistics support
  • Deluxe, air-conditioned motor coach transportation throughout, with bottled water on-board
  • 2 nights at 4-star Park Hotel Marinetta in Marina di Bibbona, double occupancy
  • 1 night at 4-star Hotel NH in Siena, double occupancy
  • 2 nights at 4-star Palazzo Leopoldo in Radda in Chianti, double occupancy
  • 2 gastronomic dinners expertly matched with top-quality regional wines
  • 4 gourmet lunches expertly matched with top-quality regional wines
  • 5 buffet breakfasts
  • All professional-level tours and extensive tastings at renowned wine producers
  • All hotel and other taxes, and gratuities for included restaurants

RESERVE NOW

Pricing

Price per person, double occupancy: US$ 4,295.00                                                                                                                                                      

Single Supplement: US$ 395.00

Deposit upon reservation: US$ 1000.00 per person, per trip

Get US$ 150 off each additional trip you take!*** 

NOTE: There are a limited number of twin rooms available. Please let us know if you’d like to share a twin room with another participant to avoid the single supplement and pay the double occupancy price instead. 

***After you have reserved your first Study Trip in 2018, you will receive a Discount of US$150 for each additional Study Trip you take in the same calendar year. This Discount will be deducted from the final balance payment for each additional Study Trip. You must pay in full for the first Study Trip you reserve to be eligible to receive the Discount for additional Study Trips.

Space is limited to 18 participants, so reserve your space today!

ITINERARY PRICING RESERVE NOW  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Call: +1 302-415-3036

For more information:

We have partnered with Terroir Wine Services to operate our immersion study trips. TWS has been organizing exceptional wine tours in France since 1999. Contact Lauriann Greene, the Study Trip Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at  +1 302-415-3036.

Enjoy memorable meals at Gastronomic restaurants and estates


 

Learn about the wines of Tuscany!

The following video is taken from our past member webinars library. Enjoy!

PAST MEMBER WEBINAR: Chianti Classico with sommelier Jeffrey Porter

ITINERARY PRICING RESERVE NOW  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Call: +1 302-415-3036

2017 TUSCANY WINE TOUR GALLERY:

Producers visited on our May 2017 wine study trip to Tuscany:

  • Ca’Marcanda
    As impressive for its amazing eco-design and architecture as for its spectacular wines made with precision and attention by the Gaja family of Barbaresco fame.
  • Tenuta dell’Ornellaia
    Founded in 1981 by Marchese Antinori, the estate is owned since 2005 by the equally aristocratic Marchese de’ Frescobaldi family.  Amongst their wines is the unique and magnificent 100% Merlot Masseto.
  • Grattamacco    
    One of the earlier Bolgheri estates founded in 1977, the 25 hectares of organic vineyards include the full gamut of French “Bordeaux” grapes growing alongside Sangiovese and Vermentino.
  • Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia)
    Tenuta San Guido’s  iconic Sassicaia wine was the result of an experiment to grow Bordeaux grapes in the Bolgheri region, which previously had little history of viticulture. This incredible wine was “born” internationally in 1968, though owner Marchesi Incisa della Rocchetta had been making the same wine for private consumption since 1948!
  • Tenuta Guado al Tasso
    This fabulous estate (the name means “Badgers’ Crossing”) owned by the Marchesi Antinori has over 300 hectares.  As with the majority of Bolgheri producers, wines are oriented around the classic red ‘Bordeaux’ varieties though a very fine white Vermentino is also made.
  • Gualdo del Re
    Situated farther south in the Suvereto area, Gualdo del Re is a family business. Consultant winemaker Barbara Tamburini has gained a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the finest Merlot wines in Italy.
  • Marroneto
    The estate was purchased in 1974 and has been slowly developed since then.  Now after well over 30 years, it is considered one of the finest in the Brunello di Montacino region.
  • Canalicchio di Sopra
    One of the newer generations of Brunello producers and an upcoming star.  The owner, Francesco Ripaccioli, is passionate in his approach to vineyard management and in the cellar.
  • Biondi Santi
    The “original” Brunello di Montalcino producer.  Owned by the Biondi Santi for many generations, it is from the 1920’s that today’s real story begins.  These wines have an affinity for great ageing.
  • Isole e Olena
    Owned by Paolo de Marchi who, in his very modest and quiet way, has been a trailblazer for Chianti Classico.  His attention to mapping the geology of the estate took place at a time when few considered the importance of the ‘terroir’.  He also pioneered the first 100% Sangiovese wine.
  • Castello di Fonterutoli
    Situation in a stunning position, the ancient hamlet of Fonterutoli owned by the Mazzei family looks toward Siena.  The estate is a huge and historic mixed farm growing olives, vines and lavender with wild game roaming in the surrounding woodland.
  • Fontodi
    The Manetti family purchased Fontodi and came to produce Chianti Classico comparatively recently in 1968.  A certified organic estate, the winemaking has evolved unencumbered by local tradition and the wines demonstrate a marvellous purity of flavor.
  • Badia a Coltibuono
    This beautiful estate located in an ancient abbey is as stunning for its garden and buildings as for its wines, which have been firmly in the higher echelons of Chianti Classico for many years.
  • Tenuta Tignanello
    The original “Super Tuscan” wine born in the Chianti Classico area.  Owned by the Marchese Antinori family, this special wine is a barrel-aged blend of local Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc.
  • Antinori at Bargino
    The new Antinori winery at Bargino is a masterpiece of architecture.  From outside, it is as if nothing is there – on the inside it is a cathedral built for making and ageing wine.      
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