From the Hilltop of Badia a Coltibuono
May 26, 2016 Comments (0)
Day 6 of Wine and Food Bike Trek Across Tuscany
Wednesday morning brought sunshine and another cool breeze. We can't get enough of this gorgeous Tuscan spring... We fueled our bodies well for the days ride at breakfast. I won't go into too much detail, but it's important to mention that there was a chocolate table, and a honey station complete with a 12" x 24" honeycomb which dripped its contents into a bowl for all to share. #mykindabreakfast
It felt as though the entire ride to Badia (bad- EEE-ah) a Coltibuono was uphill; the good news: it was a gradual climb. The destination: 600 meters (1800 feet) elevation. Our determination was well rewarded as we rounded a corner several hours later, to behold this former abbey which was founded in 1051. The Abbey of the Good Harvest. In a word: magnificent. The Vallombrosian Order developed the estate over the centuries until they held several thousand acres, all of which was farmed by the order and the families who lived on the property. The bounty was shared. Napoleon secularized the abbey in 1810 and evicted the monks. Ownership changed several times, until it came into the hands of the Stucchi Prinetti family, which has brought it to its current state of renovation, with it main focus being wine and olive oil production, agrotourism, and hospitality.
We had the great fortune to spend two hours with enologist and co-owner Roberto Stucchi Prinetti. Educated at UC Davis in the art of winemaking, he has brought his pioneering personality beautifully to bear on this historic estate. He led the curve in the appelation by going organic when "it was still a dirty word". He has also incorporated Biodynamics into the daily routine here at Badia a Coltibuono. Skins, must, stems, and everything else used during the harvest process is ground and returned to the vineyards, so that "all that is taken is the juice". This dogged determination and philosophy has resulted in healthier and more fecund grapevines, which ultimately leads to world class wines. The winery is modern, pristine and updated, but Roberto is deeply devoted to indegenous varietals and yeasts and the classic techniques and methods of Chianti Classico. The Sangiovese grapes are moved into fermentation tanks via gravity as opposed to pumping machinery so as to preserve their delicate skins and minimize bruising. One of many things that happens here to ensure a final product that is top shelf.
Roberto led our tasting, and we began with the 2013 RS. It is a light, bright red, perfect for pastas, pizza and even some fish dishes, according to our host. Mexican and Asian cuisine which is tough to pair can work with this wine as well, he tells us.
Fun fact: there are two estate dogs: Trendy, a Golden Retriever who loves people and rustic Italian bread. The other is Argo, a large white Italian breed which closely resembles a wolf, but a bit bigger, who prods you when your arms becomes tired from scratching his neck. This dog was bred to protect local livestock from the wolves native to the region. We heard Argo barking into the night as we slept...