Italy

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We’ve just returned from a wedding at a villa in Umbria, and the desire to return is real! We spent a week lounging in the sun, drinking wine and eating delicious local food, swimming, playing with nieces and nephews, and making new friends.

My husband’s family is scattered all over, so this destination wedding was a way to bring us all together in an absolutely stunning part of Italy.

Villa Baroncino is in Umbria, just minutes from the border of Tuscany, down a long driveway and  atop a hill, minutes from the local town, but secluded from any sort of noise or traffic.

Italian Villa

Due to flights from Ireland and the two hour drive from Rome, we arrived at almost midnight. The next morning I couldn’t wait to open my eyes to explore the villa.

The drive up the gated driveway got me every time. It was just so beautiful and grand.

Villa in Italy

Views of nearby Lake Trasimeno greeted us every morning. The lake is great spot for swimming, kayaking, running, or having an aperitivo. More on that later!

Lake Trasimeno

Villa Baroncino sleeps 50 people, which makes it perfect for a wedding. Large families can all stay in the same spot, and its privacy and distance from any roads meant the kids in the family could run free.

We were in Villa #7, a studio-type room which included a small kitchen. The main villa building also has a kitchen that is stocked with all of the dishes, glasses, etc. you could need.

travel to Italy

The view to the right as we exited our room was of the pool and the eternally blue, cloudless sky.

villa in Italy

Our room was beautiful and comfortable. It came with air conditioning, but due to the stone structure, ceiling fan, and window covers, it was always naturally cool. There were times when I was a little cold in the mornings, despite it being hot and sunny outside.

Italian Wedding Villas. The bedroom of Suite villa 7.

Photo via Villa Baroncino

Villa Baroncino

Two saltwater pools kept us busy all day and into the night, and plenty of lounge chairs made it easy to find a spot to soak up the sunshine. . . and there was so much of it! The weather in Italy was truly perfect when we were there.

Villa pool

Umbria

The villa grounds were like something out of a movie. Grape vines, beautiful flowers, and plenty of green everywhere added to the feeling that we were far away from the rest of the world. It was a place to truly connect with nature while also being surrounded by rustic luxury.

vineyard   

Staying in the villa meant that we could cook our own meals, and two fire pit barbeques were perfect for grilling for our big group. I know a ton of planning went into all of us getting to the villa to enjoy the week and a beautiful wedding reception on the property, and I would say we all found it well worth it.

I can’t wait to share our day trips in Tuscany, the wineries we visited, and the food we ate along the way. Stay tuned!

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Tags: Italy, Travel, travel blog, Umbria, villa

You all know I love bubbly, but I’ll let you in on a little secret; Prosecco isn’t always my favorite. But then again, up until recently, I didn’t really know Prosecco. For me, Prosecco always brought to mind a pear-flavored, sort-of-sweet wine.

All of that changed a few weeks ago when I attended a Prosecco Superiore seminar at The Middle Gray in Brookline (which I love, by the way). It was a great afternoon of learning and tasting, and below are some of the highlights.

prosecco tasting

There’s more than one Prosecco. Did you know that? There are actually three designated types of Prosecco, and they are classified based on where the grapes are grown. Prosecco Superiore comes from Conegliano Valdobbiadene, a hilly area in North-East Italy, 50 km from Venice and around 100 from the Dolomites. Here, for over three centuries, people have grown the grapes that produce Prosecco Superiore, whose success began with the founding of Italy’s first School of Winemaking in 1876. The wine is hand-harvested only, due to the extremely steep nature of the hillsides. The vineyards have been so trained and shaped to the contours of the land that the area is being considered being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Prosecco tasting

Below you can see the buckets of grapes being moved from the vineyards. It’s a precarious undertaking! Unfortunately my camera failed me during the event, but there were some gorgeous photos. The region looks absolutely stunning.

Prosecco seminar

Prosecco Superiore can be dry or sweet or anything in between. Prosecco that is called dry is actually the sweetest, and the Brut Prosecco is the least sweet. As I mentioned above, I expect Prosecco to be sweet and was surprised at how most of the ones we tried were not.

We also learned that there are three types of Prosecco when it comes to bubbles; spumante (sparkling), frizzante (fizzy), and tranquilo (still). Still Prosecco, you might ask? Yes! Tranquilo is actually the oldest but least known type of Prosecco.

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We tasted the following wines. With so many wines, so much information, and great conversation with the group about food, travel, and wine, I was once again bad at tasting notes. I will let you know that I enjoyed all of the wines we tasted and would absolutely seek out the Brut Proseccos for future enjoying. Prosecco, even at top quality, is a great value and food-friendly, making these wines approachable and appropriate for everyday, not just special occasions!

Astoria Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry – $20

Perlage Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry “Col di Manza” – $18

Mionetto Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze Dry “Luxury” – $22

Adami Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Asciutto  “Vigneto Giardino” Rive di Colbertaldo 2015 – $22

Borgoluce Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $25

Mongarda Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $15

Ruggeri Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Vecchie Viti” – $21

Bortolomiol Valdobiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Prior” Millesimato 2015 – $15

Biancavigna Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Rive di Soligo 2015 – $18

Plan your own Prosecco travels with these wine tourism itineraries.

Thank you to Prosecco Superiore for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston blogger, bubbles, bubbly, events, Italian wine, Italy, prosecco, wine, wine events, wine tasting

Happy Friday! It’s a good day to talk about wine, don’t you think?

About a month ago, I received the opportunity to review VinoVersal wine club, and I of course jumped at the chance. I enjoy wine clubs as a way to make sure our wine fridge is stocked with different wines.

The first wine club tasting parcel featured wines from Salento, Italy, a region I knew nothing about. In addition to six bottles of wine, the parcel comes with a beautiful magazine highlighting the region and connecting the wines and wine region to the recipient.

VinoVersal

Isn’t this lovely? I learned that Salento is in the heel of Italy, that it is gorgeous, and that it produces some velvety, lush wines, my favorites being the Pietra Caya Malvasia and the Tenuta Boncore Negroamaro. They were all good though. Tasting notes (from VinoVersal) are at the end of the post. wine club magazine

I got to meet the VinoVersal team and taste all of the wines at the Boston Wine Expo as well, which was great. One of the things I love about travel to wine country is meeting the people behind businesses; wine people are always so nice! While chatting with the team, I learned that someone actually visits each wine region for extensive tasting research (tough job!) and chooses bottles for the parcels. I love the connections that wine brings, and I found it really nice that they wines aren’t just randomly included. These wines were all high quality and introduced me to grapes I never look for.

VinoVersal Wine Club

 

Would I order it for myself?

Absolutely. At $95 for six hand-selected bottles of wine, including shipping and including the fun and informative magazine, it’s a great deal and a great gift. Wine clubs like this encourage people like me (who tend to gravitate to certain wine regions all the time) to expand the palate and to learn more about the wine world, something I love to do but am not always proactive about.

The wines included in the first tasting parcel are as follows.

Negroamaro Salento

The scent is a powerful impression, rustic but perfumed.  Starting with traces of licorice, figs, and eucalyptus.  The taste is full of dried fruit, sweetness and yet earthy and slightly spiced.  A distinctly acidic, full finish wine.  The color is deep and robust.

Primitivo Salento

With up- front fruit and a blend of dried strawberries, olives, and freshly cut hay this wine has a taste of sweetness from the sun-ripened Primitivo grapes with accents of fig and lavender.  The color is medium but packs a punch for this red.

Primius Primitivo Di Manduria

The nose is typical Primitivo with ripe cherries and chocolate.  This wine is balanced and refreshing.  With only 6 months in oak; don’t lay it down or ponder over it’s possibilities.  “Release the Brakes”  Enjoy this medium color balanced wine.

Pietra Caya

Rustic describes this wine with forest berries and lavender.  A big glass of fruit but delicate velvety selections of acids and tannins.  The color seems medium, but the flavors have depth.

Salice Salentino Riserva

The aroma is inviting with dark chocolate, licorice, caramel, and fig.  The same impression follows thru with balanced acids, tannins and a slight sweetness from some over ripened grapes.  24 months in oak give this wine something to talk about over dinner.

Contrada Del Falco

First impression in the vineyard and the grapes, think cigar box, dark chocolate, a little dust and some ripe stone fruit.  Now taste the broad mix of ripe fresh fruit and sun dried raisins.

VinoVersal provided me with a complimentary parcel for review. All opinions are my own.

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Tags: Italian wine, Italy, wine, wine blog, wine club

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