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      November 2013 > A full-bodied welcome

A full-bodied welcome

Self-guided walking holidays in ItalySangiovese is the grape variety best known for producing Tuscany’s great wines, like Brunello, Chianti and Morellino Scansano, the variety and richness of the wine dependent on il terreno – the nature of the soil, the terrain and exposure to the warming Tuscan sun.

In the Apennine Mountains, however, it is far more than that.
Here, it is better known as a time-honoured symbol of the region’s heartfelt hospitality, a proud tradition of the welcoming mountain people.

In days gone by, when the young Bruno Bartolomei and his father walked to the neighbouring hamlet of Cà Lenzi, they were always welcomed with the traditional greeting, “a ‘vag à tur un bottiglion ed vin” – a promise to ‘go and get the big bottle of wine’, which often turned out to be a 2-litre bottle of the local Emilian wine, Sangiovese. As Bruno explains, “On every dining table, in every house, there would always be a large bottle of wine waiting in case a friend, member of the family or even a stranger, showed up unexpectedly because the wine has always been the way we welcome people. It also gives those guests the chance to toast their hosts and wish them a long and happy life – after all, il vino fa buon sangue ('wine is good for your health') if taken sparingly, of course!”

Today, Bruno – now the effusive owner of the Hotel Montegrande in Vidiciatico, which he runs with his wife Piera – continues this tradition. On arrival, you can’t fail to notice a giant, two-litre flagon of red wine in reception, from which he will insist on pouring you a glass, while you sit and relax after your walk. “Salute!

Wine is important to Bruno and his family. It's a part of everyday life. So we asked our friends at Laithwaite's Wine for their thoughts and recommendations:


Self-guided walking holidays in ItalyIn Tuscany it would be easy to think it’s all about Chianti. Situated in the hills between Florence and Siena, the Chianti region is Tuscany's wine-making powerhouse. In 1716, Cosimo de' Medici III, Grand Duke of Tuscany decreed that this region could produce what today is known as Chianti Classico – easily recognisable by its distinctive Black Rooster label on the neck of the bottle. But while this might be at Tuscany’s heart, the lifeblood of the region’s famous reds is Sangiovese. And it is here that Italy’s most planted grape achieves greatness in the wines of not just Chianti Classico but also Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Of course, we should also mention Super Tuscan – those rule-breaking, big rich reds that came to prominence in the late 1960s, blending their Sangiovese with varieties from outside the region, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.

Self-guided walking holidays in ItalyPrincipe Strozzi Vernaccia 2012 – RRP £8.99 (28928)

Classy example of Vernaccia - by far Tuscany's most interesting white grape, making wines that are fresh and lemony with an interesting nutty complexity. It grows around the famous hilltop town of San Gimignano. As an aperitivo, this wine's a great way to start a dinner party – and some lively conversation, too. The Strozzis were once powerful bankers, statesmen and rivals to the Medicis.


Collezione di Paolo Riserva 2010 – RRP £11.99 (64840)

Winemaker Paolo Masi has been delighting fans with his handcrafted Tuscan reds for two decades at Fattoria di Basciano, the estate founded by his grandfather in 1900. His flagship Chianti Riserva regularly wows judges at international wine shows. Over a year in barrel lends gentle complexity to the dark cherry, cedar and spice notes. Seriously smooth and fabulous for fattier meats like duck.


You can buy any of the featured wines at and, as an Inntravel customer, you can benefit from a 20% discount on your first order over £50 if you order before 16 February 2014 by clicking here > and quoting ‘INNTRAVEL’.*


Enter our competition to win a short holiday for two people in the beautiful Langhe wine growing region of Piedmont in Italy. Two runners up will receive a case of wine specially selected by Laithwaite's.

* offer only available to new Laithwaite's Wine customers

Posted: 13/11/2013 12:03:02 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: competitions, gastronomy, Italy, lifestyle

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