Sunday, July 30, 2017

Short trip to the Tuscan Coast

I tend to forget that living in Tuscany is a privilege in itself and that documenting even the small excursions is definitely worth while, both to share adventures and places to go, but also just to remember and savour each trip long after, when those hot Tuscan sun rays are long gone and the shorter winter days come over us.

It has indeed been a warm summer here...warmer than any regular year and it's not over yet (new heat wave rolling as I write). So when possible it's a good idea to escape the hot inland and head out to some sea breeze. And also when possible, we'll hit a few wineries on the way to broaden our list of visited wineries and amazingly you always can learn something new!

When you visit wineries on a daily basis, you sometimes take your luck for granted. Perhaps also because you get to visit the same wineries multiple times. So when we have time to venture out of our normal paths, we're like kids in a candy-shop and try to savour the moment as you'll only have that "first" first!

So our first stop was at Duemani, a winery owned and run by local famous Tuscan winemaker Luca D'Attoma and his wife. Located North of Bolgheri close to a village named Riparbella, the winery is located inside a DOC called Montescudaio which unfortunately isn't very well known and in fact not very much used by the more well known wineries.
Duemani is a relatively new winery, still under development with the newest addition of an (amazing) tasting room recently opened. The grapes grown are mainly Cabernet Franc on limestone and clay (and Syrah, but we loved the Cab Franc so much more!) and made into delicious wines labeled IGP Costa Toscana and varying from a light and fruity style to velvety and intense wines. We loved them all (more or less) and would very much recommend you visit (40 euro per person for a visit and tasting of 4 wines - 2017 prices).

We left satisfied (and with something in mind for our upcoming wine club - lucky members!) and headed down the coast towards Suvereto in search of a little bite and we literally stumble upon a little eatery just off the road called Da Alcide. We had no idea we were in for such a treat, but the place was delightful both in decoration as in menu, wines, etc. Just loved it and would go back in a heart-beat. 

We head up the hills behind Suvereto village (yes, this is now one of Tuscany's 11 DOCG regions, but the DOCG is not used by the two producers we visit). We're visiting the lovely Maddalena at her organic/biodynamic winery called I Mandorli. She shows us around the vineyards where both Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon are growing on some fabulous Galestro rocks and we see the building site of her new Cantina (winery). She is still in the beginning phase, but her wines are already to be found at a lot of Tuscan restaurants and wine bars (especially the ones that focus on the natural style wines). 

The trip goes down into the valley in front of Suvereto and towards very well-known winery Tua Rita. Here the soil changes in character to more clay and red coloured. A great soil for Merlot from which the Super Tuscan Redigaffi is made. Now a famous winery of the Tuscan Coast, it really happened a bit by accident and by a lot of passion. The winery is still today run by the family, and Rita often peaks out of the window of her house to see who is perking around in the courtyard (see below)!

Il Garibaldi Innamorato in Piombino is one of my favorite restaurants, period. It's inside the "historic" part of Piombino (not the most picturesque of towns, but nonetheless quite lovely and right on the sea with magnificent views on Elba island). The appetisers alone will win you over, a serious of tapas servings of delicious home made fish dishes (around 6). After you can go for whatever you like as for example the famous fish soup...I had fried anchovies (that I couldn't finish) and Pierre had the best tagliatelle with friarelli and white fish (that I kept digging in to). Accompanied by a sparkling PriƩ Blanc from Val d'Aosta - it was perfect!

I had never been to La Pergola before and since we were in the neighbourhood of gorgeous Baratti beach and the Etruscan Populonia we decide to have lunch on the veranda. It's a little hot, but a nice view over the water and the rolling hills inland. We go for a Soave Classico (Inama) which disappoints a little (even though very quaffable it's simply a little too simple), but the food is very good even though not fantastic (I mean, it's tough seeing how well we ate the day before). I would still recommend it though as the fish is very fresh and the place is generally quite nice.

Il Bucaniere is a restaurant I've always wanted to visit (or at least since I heard of it), because it's owned and run by Fulvio Pierangelini's son (the legendary, but closed Gambero Rosso restaurant in San Vincenzo). So of course I was super excited to see what this place would be like, so I booked a table and off we go on a busy Saturday night. We arrive on the terrace and it's still too early for Italians to appear (it's 8 pm!). The place is all about simplicity, modern & informal. It's hanging just over the beach and the view on the Mediterranean absolutely mesmerising. We're a bit in a food coma, so decide to just take one thing each and then probably end it off with a cheese plate. The food was stunning and the wine list featured all sorts of fun wines, so (of course) Pierre gets a French white (muscadet). Yum Yum! Highly recommend! 

On the way home we decided to stop in at Borgo Pignano, a splendid relais outside of Volterra, where people can retreat from real life and immerse themselves into a perfect Tuscany. We sat at the restaurant "Al Fresco" and ordered pizza & beer (prices for wines were a little to steep for us locals). It was a great place to just sit and relax and enjoy beautiful view, and even if probably the most expensive pizza I've ever had in Tuscany, in all fairness it was made with superb ingredients (including flour obtained from the estate's own fields) and cooked in a proper wood-fired oven. So all in all I'ld say it's worth it for the exclusivity of the experience!