On Monday I head out to Tuscany and Piedmont in Italy and then Burgundy in France to tour the very estates and sample many of the same wines that will be featured on upcoming Wine On The Road tours. First we'll explore Tuscany and focus on the wines of Chianti Classico and Bolgheri (home of the Super Tuscans). We’ll also spend time in Lucca, a historic walled city west of Florence. This expedition will be offered twice in 2011: 5/4/11 – 5/14/11 and 10/16/11 – 10/26/11. Please go to www.wineontheroad.com/tour_tuscany.php for more information .
Grapes have been grown in Burgundy since Roman times. That accumulated experience results in wines that are defined by micro regional differences. Because of the widely varying soil types, elevations, inclines and exposures, these gradations can show up in vineyard sites that are only a few meters apart. Traveling the Rue de Vins Grand Cru south to north, from Beaune to Dijon, is a quintessentially Burgundian experience for any oenophile. The unfolding spectacle of all those kilometers of orderly vines is a mind-blowing journey, allowing the viewer to see terroir shifts as natural changes in the lay of the land. If only all of wine country were so organized, so well understood!
If Tuscany is a garden then Piedmont is a jungle, still beautiful but not quite as civilized. The hills are steeper and the woods a bit deeper, but that doesn’t make this part of Italy any less interesting from a wine point-of-view. Far from it, Piedmont is home to several varietals that lodge near the top of many wine lovers’ lists.
I’ve taken some amazing journeys to wine country all over the world, visiting beautiful terroir and conversing with the fascinating personalities who grow grapes and make wine. One of my favorite such places is Tuscany, a sun-drenched vinous heaven about two-thirds up the western coast of the boot of Italy.