Viva Italia


Ecco, complimenti and a myriad of anglo-italian littered the dialogue as a crack Goedhuis team of Robin, Tom, Jamie and Julian convened on the Tuscan coast on Sunday evening to embark on a seriously amusing and very informative few days.

Dinner that night set the pace in a really stylish sea-side restaurant, La Pinetta in Marina di Bibbona, concluding late under the stars. We had initiated ourselves with a horizontal tasting of Super Tuscans including the mighty Sassicaia where we were due the following morning at 9.00. Trouble was we were one passport light on leaving the hotel – Strutt’s was missing. The hotel swore they didn’t have it…..British consulate, Carabinieri; all seemed to take second place to a full day of wine tasting. Monday culminated with the Sestis at Castello di Argiano in Montalcino, and while tasting early evening my cellulare rang with the affirmation that the passport was indeed handed to us. Clearly none of us could remember this – but sure enough, on inspecting my luggage, there was the passport – thank the Lord ! Reflecting in Sesti’s pool on an extraordinary day it is clear that Sassicaia is in a class of its own, and equally the Brunello 2002 (a difficult vintage) from Sesti seems remarkably good value.

Tuesday morning involved a very quick trip to the Cinzano owned Argiano estate to taste the miraculous Super Tuscan Solengo 2004. Fantastic! Earthy black fruit nose and fabulous concentration. Definitely an estate that merits a shirt – check out Tom’s Suolo bright red Polo – very natty. Salvioni next which is tiny and to my mind his Rosso is better than most Brunelli. We bought all we were offered which was sadly very limited. Across to San Gimignano for a really funny lunch with Simone Santini who makes ezceptional Vernaccia. We ate tripe, unbenownst to me, urgggghhhh, amongst a feast of other delicious food. Simone is both very passionate and extremely incisive. He got the measure of each of us in seconds. His 2006, which is organic, is quite glorious. A winding hour long drive brought us high into the hills of Chinti to Riecine to see Sean and his dog Zolfo. These are very serious wines indeed and tasting his Chianti Riserva 1995 shows just how magnificently they age. We are very lucky to have responsibility for this geat estate. It seems rude not to fill your boots with his La Gioia, which will, in translation, bring you great “Joy”. We stayed the night at Il Molino di Grace, donned silly hats, ate great food and the wines are wonderful.

An early morning sortie to Ambra in the relatively unknown DOCG of Carmignano revealed some very serious and very well priced reds which seemed a great way to start the day – Tom and I departed for UK to the rain sodden Stansted to leave Robin and Jamie heading north to the hills of Piedmont and the delights of Revello, Cavalotto, Pira and friends. This is a stunning country – pure stylish food, friendly wines and great value. Viva Italia!