A wonderful wine tasting trip to Tuscany to taste those beautiful Chianti.

By: The Cross, Kenilworth, restaurant manager Giuseppe Longobardi

Another reason to love my job!

Tuscan wine region on map

I always said that my job is great and I love it. One of the reasons is for the wine trips.

Essentially you go visit vineyards, cellars, and talk with the people who really make the wine and take the opportunity to taste a large range of wines that may not ever reach the UK market.

Last June thanks to Liberty wines one of our suppliers, I got invited to a trip in Tuscany.

Well, I was really excited to go back to Tuscany after my university experience there, I was there for vineyard and winemaker experience, and from that, I have unbelievable memories.

The trip planned was quiet though, very rigid schedule and when you start with a flight delay it doesn’t help.

Tuscan wine region flowers

Real passion and a great choice.

We visited a few producers which were Poggiotondi, Capezzana, Selvapiana, Fontodi, Isole e Olena and Felsina.

What caught my attention was the eyes of these people, the passion that they put into their job and how important it is for them to produce a good wine.

I found a few interesting wines, not only Chianti and Super Tuscan but also great Vin Santo and white wine.

A few of the wineries are in the range of organic production. This is when you have a scheduled law for produce Chianti DOC or DOCG in such an addiction of quality.

I am not a fanatic of organic production and biodynamic because I believe in science. I know that they can help if something goes wrong but I choose to work in this range to really give the wine an additional value.

Tuscan wine cellar with barrels

Chianti!

Chianti was the main subject of the trip. If the wine is not ready to drink or isn’t made with care, this can be a straight punch in your mouth. The Chianti taste was all good quality, with a classic note of cherry tobacco and a hint of leather. The tannins were well balanced with a good acidity.

My attention was caught by the Organic Chianti Poggiotondi for its great value and Chianti Classico from Felsina for its elegance.

Something interesting out of Chianti range was the Trefiano from Capezzana in Carmignano producer, blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Canaiolo showing exceptional elegance in the nose and long taste on the palate with red cherry and jammy flavours with a spice finish.

Flaccianello from Fontodi, this wine is part of my past as I used to serve it when I was working for Vineria Reggio in Campo dei Fiori Roma, Flaccianello. It is what the Americans call Super Tuscan because it is an IGT wine made with 100% Sangiovese. Technically on origin Chianti was made by 70-80% Sangiovese blended with Canaiolo, Malvasia nera and either white grape. Today in Chianti Classico white grape are forbidden.

Tuscan wine cellar with bottles of wine on a rack

Flaccianello is a full body wine with eucalyptol and red fruit nose, which is powerful on the palate with a succession of red fruit, spice and tobacco notes, with well-integrated tannins.

Then the Vinsanto is a sweet wine made mainly from Trebbiano and Malvasia grape that after the harvest is left on straw mats to dry then they’re gently pressed and put in wood barrels to age. Some producers keep them for 3-4 years but others 6 or more. This powerful sweet wine has a full body and if well-made have a great balance between the acidity and the sweetness with the aroma from fig to almond to dry apricot and honey.

We tasted a few and in the end, my favourite was from Felsina which had a lovely balance and had a very memorable taste.

Conclusion

To conclude my trip was instructive, busy, hot and full of memorable people. This is what the wine does, it connects people from different backgrounds that enjoy a good glass of wine.

If you’ve never been to Tuscany, I recommend you to visit the Chianti area because it has beautiful views, passionate people, great food and memories in every corner.

Giuseppe Longobardi

Giuseppe has a true passion for wine. He is the Business Manager and Wine Director at The Cross Kenilworth. The Cross offers a fine selection of wines alongside its Michelin Starred food.