The area near the town of Montalcino in the province of Siena has has been known since the Middle ages for a sweet white wine made from Moscadello. Much of the vineyard tracks were decimated by phylloxera in 1860s. The devastation caused by this tiny root louse also enabled the region to gradually change to a red wine producing region when the vineyards were planted to Sangiovese after the discovery that American root stocks were impartial to Phylloxera.
With rolling hills and wooded countryside, the Chianti region is in the heart of the historic and beautiful region of Tuscany.
Chianti was one of the first delimited wine zones in Europe with codification for the modern Chianti zone established in 1932. Eight sub-zones of Chianti: Classico, Rufina, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane, Colli Arentini and Montalbano, Montespertoli.
We are in the region of Calbaio which is located in the Maremma region of Tuscany. Etymologically the name Maremma comes from the Latin word “mare” for sea. This relatively new wine region is very near the sea. Parts of the region were filled with gravel and drained, which enabled the planting of grapes and other crops. Although there are rolling hills, the Maremma region is lower, and a bit warmer than some of the other more famous regions of Tuscany such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
The city of Montefalco is in the heart of Umbria, Italy. Montefalco is famous for the dark red grape variety of Sagrantino. There is written evidence that there were vineyards in Montefalco in the year 1088. Grapes were often grown promiscuously with vineyards growing along side or within other crops. Orvieto was the preferred sweet white wine of the papistry in the Middle Ages. Umbria is a region of hills, mountains, rivers and lakes with the entire area untouched by the sea.
The Tokaji region can be very humid and this humidity promotes the spread of Noble Rot. Noble Rot is caused by the special fungus Botrytis Cinerea. The fungus shrivels grapes as they hang on the vine, reducing the water content and concentrating the sugars. The grapes turn very dark, moldy and look incredibly unappetizing. Grapes bunches affected by this fungus are often referred to as having Botrytis Bunch Rot.
Harvest can take two or even more months to complete as the Botrytis works its magic unsystematically through the vineyards. Grapes for the sweet wines of Tokaj are picked in multiple passes through the vineyards selecting only the perfect shriveled grapes, often one small berry at a time...
I have just landed in Budapest, Hungary. I am on my way to explore the World Heritage Site region of Tokaji.
From Budapest we drive northeast on the M3 towards the Zemplén Mountains in the very northeast of Hungary. The region is close to the border of Slovakia near the confluence of the Tisza and Bodrog Rivers. The three hour drive takes us through flat countryside with fields of grain, wheat and corn. As we near Zemplén county, there is an uplift in the geology and the flat ground begins to move into rolling hills...
Alex Gambal and his wife Diana Williams Gambal have arrived from Burgundy, France. After a casual dinner on their first night in Salt Lake City, we enjoyed a multi-course, formal dinner at Valter’s Osteria in downtown Salt Lake City on their second evening.
Maison Alex Gambal is a relatively new domaine in the historic region of Burgundy; only twenty years. The focus of the domaine is on growing great grapes to create wines that are authentic to the appellation. Sustainable viticulture is paramount...