Tuscan Estate Montestigliano Hosts Art Exhibit and Dining Under the Stars

As I wine, music and arts lover, who wouldn’t be excited about hearing of such an event in Tuscany, Italy?  It certainly peaked my interest, but is not in my plans.  Just in case you are taking a trip to Tuscany shortly, you may want to consider attending this event at the Tuscan Estate Montestigliano.  Enjoy!

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Montestigliano in Tuscany

Montestigliano in Tuscany (Image courtesy montestigliano.it) 

Throughout July, Tuscan estate Montestigliano marries terroir and culture in a yearly art exhibit held in the granary above its ancient barn.  This year, five international artists (painters, photographers, writers, musicians), all members of the Stanza 251 group, descend on the historic locale to exhibit their cool, contemporary work in this timeless, rustic setting.  The show can be seen every Monday from   July 1 to July 22 in the afternoon between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., or by appointment.   For more information, contact info@montestigliano.it or call +39 0577 342189.

Special Event July 17

On July 17 Montestigliano opens its doors to an evening of Prosecco, opera, fine dining and art.  Guests will enjoy an apertivo, view the artwork and settle into an evening of music and song with Baritone Pierluca Porri, accompanied by Francesca Giovannelli on the piano.  Pierluca has sung with Europe’s most famous opera houses such as L’Opéra de MonteCarlo, Le Theatre Royale de la Monnaie a Bruxelles, il Liceu di Barcelona, and the Opéra Nationale de Paris.  Dinner will be served in the estate’s courtyard, under the Tuscan stars. Price:  40 €.

About Stanza 251

Stanza 251 http://www.stanza251.com/is an on-line e-zine of fiction, poetry and imagery, founded by Carlo Zei and Stefano Loria. A new poem or story appears on the site every Tuesday, anew image every Friday. Stanza 251 also publishes a series of e-books and paperbacks, and organizes literary and visual arts events.  All of the artists at the show participate in Stanza 251. 

Participating Stanza 251 artists include: 

  • Stefano Loria: Co-founder of Stanza 251, Loria is a painter and writer.  In the Visual Arts field, he is considered one of the leading representatives of new-generation abstractionists.
  • Francesco Niccolai: A professional photographer, Niccolai has dedicated himself for years to making portraits of jazz musicians and much more.  He has recently developed a personal series of unpredictably nuanced and intimate landscape photographs.
  • Andrew Smaldone: an American artist who has lived in Italy for years, Smaldone has developed a specific poetry of images, painting environments emptied of their original function, almost reducing them to pure geometry and light.
  • Tomoko Sugahara: A Japanese artist of rare sensitivity, Sugahara works on an idea of subtle, fragile painterly atmospheres, producing juxtapositions that are sometimes material, sometimes chromatic.
  • Carlo Zei:The other co-founder of Stanza 251 who, aside from writing, is engaged in photography. He explores landscapes with a poetic, ironic eye, for which he prefers black & white prints, as exemplified in his series, “Christo on the Beach”.
  • Matthew Licht: A writer on the edge between realism and paradox, his adventure stories are animated by a parodic intent, but are richly nuanced with existential and social themes.  All of the ingredients of his stories are flavored with an irresistible sense humor, which makes for a particularly pleasant reading experience. He is also a skilled performer.
  • Marco “Shark Guitar” Naffis: One of Tuscany’s most brilliant Blues and Country guitar players.

About Montestigliano:

Montestigliano is a privately owned farm estate (agritourismo)with self-contained 18th century holiday villasavailable for rental.   All have been professionally restored and furnished.  Each is fully equipped with kitchens and private baths. Every villa has easy access to some of the most beautiful countryside in Tuscany.  With 2475 acres of cypress avenues, olive groves, fig trees and ancient terraces, it’s an ideal location to walk, enjoy the countryside and truly experience Tuscany.

Follow Montestigliano:

On Twitter:   https://twitter.com/Montestigliano

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fattoria.montestigliano

Novo Pizzeria and Fontanafredda Wine in the BC Marketplace

Poggiotondo Bianco Toscana 2011

Sometimes last minute events are the most fun.  I received a short notice invite to try a new red wine, a Barbera,  from Italian producer Fontanafredda being released in the BCLDB stores. Also at the event is a white blend of Malvasia, Trebbiano and Vermentino produced by Alberto Antonini.  To top it off, the wine tasting was going to be held at Novo Pizzeria on Burrard St in Vancouver.  How could I refuse.  I love wine and pizza!

The white wine comes from Tuscany which is perhaps the most famous of all Italian wine regions, while the Barbera is from Piedmont. The Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes are found all over Italy, particularly in the center and north. I have noticed recently an uptick in Trebbiano wines coming into the BC marketplace.  Barbera, according to Wikipedia “..is a red Italian wine grape variety that, as of 2000, was the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano).[1] It produces good yields and is known for deep color, low tannins and high levels of acid… The best known appellation is the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) Barbera d’Asti in the Piedmont region. When young, the wines offer a very intense aroma of fresh red and blackberries. In the lightest versions notes of cherries, raspberries and blueberries and with notes of blackberry and black cherries in wines made of more ripe grapes. Many producers employ the use of toasted (seared over a fire) oak barrels, which provides for increased complexity, aging potential, and hints of vanilla notes…“.

My Wine Notes

  • Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2010

    Poggiotondo Bianco Toscana IGT 2011, Italy ($16.99). Light lemony colour. Lively citrus with some lime and flowers on the nose.  Very pretty. Light body, dry with high acidity making it very refreshing to drink. Citrus and bitter apricot pit flavours, and some leesy creaminess on the palate.  A nice wine to drink this summer on the patio.

  • Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2010, Italy ($17.99). Medium ruby colour in the glass. Woody nose, not oaky.  Also some sour cherry aromas. Light body, dry with medium acidity.  It has a very light vanilla flavour that floats on top of the cherry and ripe raspberry flavours.  Soft mouth feel with some acidity at the back of your tongue. Very tasty.

Both wines are very approachable, have an excellent sub $20 price, and use a screw cap, so you should have no reason not to buy these wines and enjoy them.

Enjoying Novo Pizzeria’s Pizzas

I do enjoy thin crust pizzas baked in a brick oven and made with fresh ingredients.  Novo Pizzeria kept making pizzas with different ingredients, some with tomato based sauces, others without.  Each pizza was unique and very tasty.  Enjoy the pictures of the process of making the pizza, to reaching my plate!  Enjoy!

Making a pizza at Novo Pizzeria.

Novo Pizzeria cooking the pizza.

Novo Pizza right from the oven.

Novo pizza with wine.

More Novo pizza with wine.

Wine for Father’s Day, June 19, 2011?

Father’s Day is coming up fast.  Do you know which wine you will be pouring for your dad?  For some of you, you already know what your dad likes, e.g. He only likes Australian Shiraz, so picking a bottle should not be too difficult.

For others, your dad does not have a favorite wine.  So how would you choose a wine?  One of the easiest ways to pick a wine is to pair the wine with the food you will be having with your father.  If you are going to have a BBQ beef or lamb, you may want to select a full bodied red or an oaked chardonnay.

Grilled salmon or chicken can pair with a light bodied red or a white wine.

A pasta with cream sauce would pair nicely with a red or white wine that has higher acidity to cut through the creaminess.

A pasta with tomato-based sauce classically pairs with a Sangiovese-based wine from Tuscany, Italy.

If you father is a vegetarian, consider the type of sauce that the food is cooked with.  Is it creamy, made from tomato?  This flavour will help you choose the appropriate wine.  You could use one of the pasta selections that I described.

Some MyWinePal Wine Suggestions:

D’Angelo Sette Coppa 2005, BC. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. It is primarily Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with lesser amounts of the other grape varieties. Light garnet in the glass. Tarry, cassis and black cherry aromas. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and vanilla on the palate with some spiciness. Medium length with firm tannins kicking in on the finish. Try with BBQ beef or lamb.

Casa Montes Bodegas & Vinedos, Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec 2006, Argentina. This wine is opaque purple in the glass. Dusty with black petter aromas. Full body with ripe black fruit and lots of spice. A BBQ wine for beef or lamb.

Township 7 Chardonnay 2008, BC is 100% barrel fermented and aged in French and American oak, giving it more body and some creaminess. Vanilla and apple aromas. With flavours of citrus oak and apples. Nice round mouthfeel with a slight bit of spiciness and a coconut finish. Try this with any BBQ meats or fish.

Another Chardonnay would be the Hope Family Wines, Liberty School Chardonnay 2007. This Chardonnay, from the Paso Robles area of California, has 5% Viognier in the mix. It is medium lemon in the glass. Pineapple, vanilla, and creamy nose. Medium body, with peach, apricot and honey flavours.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Chardonnay 2008 , Washington was very elegant.  This wine was medium golden in the glass. Vanilla, oak, lemon and apple aromas.  It was medium body with toasty, lemon and light spice on the palate.  Light acidity to complement the roundness of the wine.  Spice and lemon on the finish.  Would go nicely with some salmon.

Casas del Bosque Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2008, Chile. This wine spent 9 months in french oak. They like to use 2-3 year French oak barrels as much as possible for all their barrel aged wines so the oak is there, but not in your face. This one had a wide range of aromas. Strawberry, oak, red cherry, dill and mushroom at first, but then some vanilla on the nose. The wine was quite fruity. Lots of red cherry, but also some dill and vanilla. Quite smooth, medium length, and a dry finish. Try with BBQ salmon or chicken.

Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina “Basciano” 2007 DOCG, Italy. This wine is primarily Sangiovese but has 5% Colorino. Red delicious apple and cherry aromas and flavours.  Also vanilla and cherry on the palate.  Medium tannins with a dry finish. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005, Italy. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Man O’War Vineyards Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc 2009, New Zealand. This wine was very light lemon in colour.  Herbal and jalapeno pepper aromas. High acidity with more jalapeno and herbal flavours.  Light body, but long length.  Very nice. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, BC, is light lemon in colour. Flowery and apple aromas. Good acidity with a bit of residual sugar. Red apple and citrus flavours. Elegant. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

Note if you can’t find these particular wines, find a similar wine, such as a replacement for the Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec could be the Bodegas Salentein Primum Malbec. If you feel unsure, ask someone who works in your wine shop.  They should be knowledgeable about the wines they carry.

Enjoy Fathers Day with your Dad.