Getting ready for Vin Italy, 2017 – part II


Tuscany. It’s everything anyone ever said – ever raved about – and more; the great wines coming from Tuscany are merely icing on the cake

Tuscan wines (Bolgheri, Maremma, Scansano, Bibbona, Cortona, San Gimignano, Greve, as well as the more well-known regions of Chianti and Montalcino) are becoming even more consistent regulars at The Wine Pundit’s dinner table these days. To lend some perspective to the claim of more consistent regulars, I can say that I’ve been drinking them regularly for twenty years now – these days, though, it’s even more regularly.

I think the underlying reasons have to do with a groundswell of winemakers/owners that have become more conscientious; at the same time, they’re also in search of some modern enlightenment in terms of the land that they’re working, their family land, in most cases. As such, I see them getting in touch with their land by studying it – not just farming it – they’re in search of what grows best and why, vs. doing simply what tradition dictates; competition has a lot to do with this, too.

Of course, it’s only because of the current success of Tuscany’s wines that these growers are able to study AND farm at the same time, because in the past, no one had any time (or money) to do anything but work the farm.

Traditional, as it relates to wine-speak, is a buzz word of sorts; a talking point for many. Similarly,  Modernas it relates to wine-speak, has also become a buzz word, or talking point. And when I say has become, I’m really referring to changes seen in the past 40 years; which is just a few minutes on the face of the Tuscan historical clock.

There was a time when I got caught up in (read: believed) in this Traditional vs Modern nonsense; I proudly parked my bum in the Traditional camp and was quick to eschew those that were waving the Modern flag. What a tool.


I’m not sure if it’s in our nature to be divisive, or if it’s simply a function of modern-day messaging inputs, i.e. marketing and (cough), journalism.

I mention all of this because when I sit down at Vin Italy, or with a winemaker at their home and cellar to taste wines, I like to think the modern vs traditional meme is no longer holding me back from honestly approaching what’s in the glass. I think I’m free from those shackles, now, but it took a long time, many generous and knowledgeable friends opening great bottles over deep conversations of wine enjoyment, and, in the end, listening to what’s in the glass, not on some piece of marketing/critic fluff. Learning to listen to a wine, and disagree with conventional wisdom if you must, is a first step; listen to and trust your palate before all others.

Many times I will ask in advance to taste wines without seeing the label at all. I want to judge (and learn from) a wine without any noise, and labels have become noise; points are noise. Too often, this is not possible, or probably just too weird for most of my hosts.

By now you’re probably saying “what does any of this have to do with Vin Italy?” Because at Vin Italy, it’s all about noise, it’s everywhere: journalists (less often winemakers will do this too, but for some reason many of those hired to pour at these shows feel the need to market as they pour) seated beside me, exclaiming this or that, labels/bottles, sometimes with bands/etichette of gold lettering exclaiming 95 points!

Enough! I don’t want any noise – I want noise-cancelling headphones, and a blindfold. But this isn’t possible at Vin Italy, so the challenge is learning how to tune it all out; if I’m truly trying to understand a wine, I need to listen to it above all else.

(below: the line of locals waiting to taste Ar. Pe. Pe. wines. Best to have an appt and avoid these things)


That said, I’ll be doing my best (i.e. when I write tasting notes, there will probably be close to a thousand over these four days) to be as objective as possible for what is truly a subjective endeavor.

Below are 71 producers I’m going to try (71 @ just 15 minutes each takes 18 hours) to taste with; I kind of doubt I can get to them all. It’ll be hard because the Tuscany pavilion is always really packed with people (this event allows thousands of locals/non-tradespeople to attend, often they’re drunk, and it is a day off for them so none is really in any type of hurry, etc.). I’ve allowed myself nearly two full days. As my previous blog post suggests, I’ve got 3 of the 4 days planned just for Tuscany and Piemonte – doesn’t leave much time for the rest of Italy, which is a shame. I can already hear the clock ticking, and it’s making me deaf.

I need a drink.



Agostina Pieri
Antinori (Toromaresca)
(Poggio) Argentiera
Az. Agr. Lisini
Az. Agr. Montebernardi
Badia a Coltibuouno
Barone Ricasoli
Bibi Graetz
Caciorgna Paolo
Campo alla Sughera
Canalicchio di Sopra
Caparzo (see Altesino)
Casa Emma
Casanova di Neri
Castello dei Rampolla
Castello di Fonterutoli
Castello di Volpaia
Castiglion del Bosco
Ciacci Piccolomini
Col d’Orcia
(Az. Agr.) (Il)Colombaio
Conti Costanti
Fattoria Carpineta Fontalpino
Fattoria Le Pupille
Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano
Fattoria Uccelliera
Fattoria Viticcio
(Tenuta) Friggiali
Gianni Brunelli
Il Marroneto
Isole e Olena
Lamole di Lamole
La Palazzetta (Fanti)
Lazzeretti (if time)
Le Ragnaie
Mocali (if time)
Molino di Grace
Morisfarms (if time)
Petrolo (w/Costanti)
Pian Dell’Orino
Podere Salicutti
Poggio di Sotto
Salvioni (Az. Agr. Cerbaiola)
Sassetti Livio (Pertimali)
Siro Pacenti
Stella di Campalto
Tenuta Il Poggione
Terre Nere (Vallone Pasquale)
Tua Rita

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