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Vino & Velo Wine Consulting

Tourism is on a sabbatical this year due to COVID and while we’re going to miss spending time on our bikes with everyone we’re very excited to shift our focus from the Velo part of our name to the Vino, and the aromas, tastes, and feelings that that word inspires. Many wineries rely on tourism for the majority of their sales, whether it be directly to visitors in their cellars or to local restaurants and wine shops. During these difficult times we’re uniquely positioned to connect wine producers, especially boutique and small family wineries, with wine lovers…or wannabe wine lovers.

Leif is a certified AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommeliers) sommelier. He’s passionate about wine but what he loves even more is the challenge of finding the perfect wine for every occasion. In the last fifteen years he has crisscrossed the country with guests visiting wineries in every corner of Tuscany and many other regions. In the past his knowledge of wine and the producers has been a valuable complement to our main business of bike tours. Now is the time to take that deep knowledge of Italian wines to the next level and focus on getting Italian wines into the cellars of people wanting to expand their wine experience without traveling.

Leif stands ready to take the menu from your special occasion and choose the perfect wines to make your day unforgettable. If you’re interested in growing your wine cellar Leif can help you find wines and producers that will round out your selections so you’ll always have the perfect wine on hand. He can guide wine clubs in creating outstanding tasting events. Maybe your company would like to switch things up and give wine as bonuses or corporate gifts this year. The possibilities are endless.

Once the wine is chosen Leif will act as liaison between you and the vineyard. This is where his language skills and personal connections with many of the vineyards will become apparent as he helps assure a smooth order and shipping process.

Contact us at leif@vino-velo.com for more information about how we can work together to make your wine dreams come true.

Il Granaio

Il Granaio Rosso Toscano IGT
2009
Savignola Paolina Winery

Il Granaio, or “The Barn” is a very precious thing in all dimensions.

If you want to have a wine maker that has a good handle on its Sangiovese and Merlot, you should go to Savignola Paolina just outside Greve in Chianti, southeast, on the road to Lamole. This farm had been a property of the Fabbri family since 1780. The owners used to be Ludovica Fabbri together with her husband Antonio and her dad Carlo Fabbri, who took it over in 1998 from Ludovicas famous grandaunt the entrepreneur Paulina Fabbri. Ludovica Fabbri later sold it to the Swiss couple Manuela and Luzius Caviezel, who passionately runs this estate today. By the way, Paulina Fabbri was the first to put her Riserva into a Bordolese bottle. Savignola is the geopgraphical name of the farm, a name with Etruschian origin. Besides growing Sangiovese and Merlot, they do also grow Colorini, and Malvasia Nera.

Savignola Paolina has about 6 hectars in total of vines in southeast and southwest orientations, with 4 hectars of vines within the Chianti Classico appellation. Altitude is 330-350 m above sea level.

The Granaio 2009 is probably about time to open now, getting closer to its peak. This bottle that I got has been ageing good, it has a wonderful distinct dark garnet-orange red color. The wine has a bold and structured presence in the glass, with lots of dark fruit, liquorice, leather, vanilla and caramel in the nose. Il Granaio is dry, intense and persistent, with very smooth tannins. After a sip, or two, or actually three, I had some impressions of flavors like blackberry, black currant, dark cherry, liquorice, violet, juniper, dark chocolate and black pepper. Fermentation in steel tanks, ageing for 14 months in tonneaux and new barriques of french oak.

Some food pairings I would like to recommend is beef stews, venison steak, salsiccia sausage with white beans, pappardelle pasta with wild boar ragù, pasta with mushrooms or black truffle, salami, prosciutto and aged cheese like Parmesan.

Recommended serving temperature is 18-19° C.

Why wait, go for it now, before it disappears! (Only 2000 made.)     

Vino-Velos (1-5):

Monna Lisa

Monna Lisa
Chianti Classico DOCG
Gran Selezione 2013

The beautiful Villa Vignamaggio just outside Greve in Chianti in Tuscany is a beautiful piece of history! The Gherardini family built this, the same family that Monna Lisa came from, the very same woman who in the early 1500’s stood as a model for Leonardo da Vincis famous painting.

Villa Vignamaggio has made a magnificient Chianti Classico, a Gran Selezione, which means the very finest grapes choosen, at the very most local and characteristic “terroir” they have. The criteria of quality is very high on a Gran Selezione, so some years they don’t make any Gran Selezione.

The base of grapes for the Monna Lisa is 85 % Sangiovese, and 15 % of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The ageing of the wine is made partly in 225 litres oak barriques (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) and partly in 15 hl oak barrels (Sangiovese) during 24 months, and a final minimum stay of 6 months in bottle for refinement. The overall time of ageing and refinement has to be at least 30 months.

The wine has a beautiful garnet red colour. The nose is complex and intense, with lot’s of dark fruit like black berry, dark cherry and black current, together with impressions of wet leafs and dirt, leather, vanilla, tobacco, orange, dark chocolate and graphite.

On your tongue you will notice it’s dry, very persistent with intensive elegant tannins, it’s bringing a good portion of acidity and therefore not too soft, and it has a beautifully rounded warm body. Monna Lisa brings harmony and balance to the meal.

We would recommend a meal with game, red meat, salmon, tuna fish, salami, mortadella, proscitutto and maybe some blue cheese.

Vino-Velos (1-5):

Rosso di Montalcino DOC

Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2016, Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona

Vinursprung: Rött vin från Toscana, Italien

Vintyp: Rosso di Montalcino DOC

Vinproducent: Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona

Toscana

En av Italiens mest renommerade vinregioner är Toscana, med många vingårdar som toppar flertalet omröstningar varje år. Det görs mest rödvin här, dock med en stigande andel produktion av vita och rosè-viner, inklusive lite bubbel, som italienarna kallar för spumante.

Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona

Vingården ligger på ca 300 möh strax söder om Montalcino i närheten av det berömda klostret Sant’Antimo. Vinfälten har en yta av 55 ha. Jordmånen är alkrik lerjord med inslag av sten.

Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2016

Färgen är vackert rubinröd med god genomskinlighet och fin konsistens.

Doftbilden är intensiv och komplex, med dofter av röda blommor som rosor och nejlikor, fuktig jord och löv, läder, röda frukter som jordgubb och smultron, lite björnbär, mint och rosa grapefrukt.

Smakintrycken är intensiva och långvariga, med smaker av smultron, björnbär, pepparmint, rosa grapefrukt, viol, vanilj och röda vingum. Denna Rosso di Montalcino är torr, frisk, relativt mjuk, med varma tanniner och en fyllig kropp. Vinet har fin balans och harmoni, det är redo att drickas nu, och kan också vänta några år i källaren. Rek serv-temp 18-20°C, i stora tulpanformade kristallglas.

Mat

Rekommenderas till toskansk fläskkorv (salsiccia), stekt/grillad fågel, gris- och nötkött, viltkött, lammkött, pasta med såser baserat på rött kött, fylliga soppor och stuvningar, salami, skinka (prosciutto) och till sist lagrade ostar som parmesan och pecorino.

Tekniska data

Druvblandning: Sangiovese

Fyllighet: Fyllig (9 av 12)

Klassificering: Rosso di Montalcino DOC

Alkohol: 14%

Vinifiering: Jäsning med skalkontakt i temp-kontrollerade stålfat och cementtankar.

Mognad: På ekfat från Slavonien i storlek mellan 2000 och 7500 liter, därefter en tid på flaska innan försäljning.

Lagring: 6-8 år

Vino-Velos (1-5):

Barbaresco Hamrin 2013

Barbaresco Hamrin 2013

Coming to Piedmont is always a pleasure, their selection of red wines are excellent! The Nebbiolo grape has become a good friend over the years for me. To travel around in Alta Langa and visit towns like Barbaresco and Barolo makes me feel at home.

Hamrins Barbaresco has a beautiful dry entrance with tannins very present, a fresh acidity and good warm flavours of black currant, liquorice, black berry, mature figs and black pepper. A wine to be drinken with food.

Enjoy this Barbaresco with a steaming meat stew, preferrably meat of game like deer, elk or wild boar. An alternative dish is one of my favourites, the classic Tuscan sausage of pork meat with some fennel: salsiccia! The typical Bagna Cauda Piemontese with some meat would maybe be my choice if I were in the area.

If you buy more than one of these you could take one very year and see how it develops, I don’t this vintage has peaked yet.

Denomination: DOCG (Denominazione Origine Controllata Garantita)

Type: Rosso

Grapes: Nebbiolo

Alcool: 14.5º

Price: 25 €

Vino-Velos (1-5):

Chianti Classico Riserva – Corte di Valle

Corte di Valle makes one of my favourite Chianti Classico Riserva. They also have some really good saffron production, and I would recommend you to try some of their saffron pasta! The saffron plants blooms in October on the slopes of Corte di Valle. It’s a colour explosion that you really should see one day in your life!

2014 was a difficult year for many wine producers in Italy, with lots of rain and cold weather far into the month of May, which could explain a Chianti Classico Riserva with 13 % of alcohol, not too low by any means, but not high neither, merely an indication of a less sunny year.

Corte di Valles Riserva has a beautiful garnet red with small shades of ruby red. Lots of dark fruit in the nose, some vanilla, leather and graphite. The wine has an intense dry entrance with a good load of classic Sangiovese tannins, a well developed body with flavours like black currant, blackberry, black pepper, truffle and pepparmint. I would recommend to decant it before serving.

The ageing process concists of 18 months in the oak barrels and then refined in bottles for 8 to 12 months. The wine should be good for some more years of ageing, but they really do good now!

It never hurts with some local salsiccia with this Riserva from Corte di Valle. A steak of lamb would be awesome! For Thanksgiving a big turkey from the oven!

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Vino-Velos (1-5):

Time Flies

Clearly I haven’t kept up with my writing here. Mostly because we stay pretty busy out on the bikes researching future trips, riding with clients and just riding for fun.

We’ve done some amazing things on the bikes since I last wrote. Each of them can truly be called a celebration. We’ve ridden with others, yes, but we ahve also done a few things on a personal level this year that make us proud. For our own enjoyment we rode the Vattenrundan in Sweden during June, a 300km ride around a lake in Sweden that over 20,000 other riders also enjoyed. We also rode in the Prosecco Cycling gran fondo with clients, clocking in at only 95km but with 1550m of elevation gain! Luckily there was prosecco at the end…

We celebrated birthdays with good personal friends and with new friends. We found the perfect place for a proposal, at a hilltop naturally. We helped countless newlyweds have a perfect day in the countryside tasting wine and eating great food. We celebrated friendships that have lasted decades. We have spent time with families who love travelilng together. We’ve worked with groups from one individual to 75 persons strong. (That one required a lot of organization, cooperation and a group of guides.) We’ve spent an hour with some people and days with others. We’ve met people from all over the world. The one unifying trait?

They all wanted their celebration to include a ride on a bike, and they wanted to share that experience with others.

Contact us to find out how a ride on a bike can be one of the highlights of your own vacation this year!

Another season begins

It’s not Easter yet but the weather has become more predictably beautiful, and with the sun comes another cycling season.

Right now it’s perfect weather. The nights are cool and during the day the sun is strong and warm. Everything seems to be blooming and the air is heavy with the scents of apple blossoms and wisteria while the green grass is already dotted with bright yellow dandelions and brilliant poppies.

It seems like overnight it has become possible to eat lunch on the terrace overlooking a valley of vineyards just starting to show the promise of this year’s vintage. To wear shirts and shorts, and to sunburn after only a short time in the sun.

It’s time for Aperol spritz and white wine and prosecco. Time for sunblock and rides into the countryside. There’s so much to see and do and taste out there and the beginning of the season is exciting because even we don’t know exactly what surprises are out there to discover!

First Sundays

Not everything happens on a bike or with a glass of wine in our hands. I swear.

One of the really great things that Italy has sponsored since 2014 has been to offer free admission to state museums on the first Sunday of the month. Florence has responded by opening some of the city museums and gardens for free as well. That means if you are planning a trip to Florence or Italy you may have the opportunity to see a museum or two for free if you can plan your trip to coincide with the first Sunday of the month.

As an example, for the first Sunday in March we visited the Archaeological Museum near Piazza Santissima Annunziata. It’s a treasure trove of Etruscan, Roman, Greek and Egyptian artifacts collected by the  Medici and Lorraine families, and eventually donated to the city. It’s the kind of museum I could spend the whole day investigating.

The Bargello is another museum that is open on first Sundays. It’s a favorite among artists and students of art because of its many sculptures, with at least four different versions of David and several Bacchus. The Galleria dell’Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David is free on first Sundays, as is the Uffizi. The Boboli and Bardini gardens are also on the list along with parts of the Pitti Palace. You can find a fairly comprehensive list of museums here.

If you’re planning a trip and are lucky enough to be in Italy, especially Florence, on the first Sunday consider taking that day to visit a museum. My advice? Get there early as the lines can be outrageously long because who doesn’t want to get into a major museum for free?

Confession time: I only go to the museums when it’s raining or bad weather. Sunday is the day that every person capable of pedaling a bike is out on the road basking in the sunshine and the camaraderie of fellow cyclists.

Winter Riding

Both Leif and I are from much colder climates; Leif is from Sweden and I’m from Minnesota in the United States. We’re used to cold and snow and weather that doesn’t invite cycling for months out of the year. This doesn’t mean cycling doesn’t happen in those climates, it just changes significantly for those who chose to ride year round. Different bikes, different clothing, different terrain. Very different mind set.

Part of the attraction of Tuscany for Leif was the longer cycling season. And if you’re from the north it truly is a year round season: It’s only the clothing and often your speed that needs to change. When I came here I didn’t cycle but really really really enjoyed what is in my experience a pretty mild winter. Now that I ride I appreciate that warmer winter season even more.

We’re very lucky, we know this. We have many friends who have to stay inside during the winter and use a trainer because of work schedules and less daylight hours, or simply because they have a great dislike for being cold. Since we’re in the off season our schedule is super flexible and we can ride at the driest and warmest time of the day. One of the perks of our kind of work.

While I suppose this could be classified as “riding outside the season” this is the perfect time to see Tuscany in a whole new light. The cooler temperatures are a welcome respite from the melting heat of summer. Fall is the smell of wine fermenting as we ride by a farm, the chatter of workers picking olives in a grove and the swift change of colors as the vines and trees prepare for winter. Winter itself is another kind of ride. The air is scented with wood smoke from the many houses that still heat with wood. The trees may be bare but we can see the shape of the hills clearly and trace the change in soil and climate from one valley to the next. Coffee breaks take on a whole new meaning as they mean warmth inside and out. We may come home cold and wet, but we also feel incredibly alive.

For now we put on our long pants, long sleeved jerseys, warm socks and gloves and hat and head out just as much as before. When the temperatures really dip down, like into the single digits (Celsius) we’ll break out the long underwear and super warm accessories and ride a little more carefully on those wet and/or frosty roads. But we’ll still be outside riding and enjoying the warmer days with bright sunshine but also the those other days, bitterly cold wind in our faces as our toes and fingers go slowly numb…because this is the way we’ve always known winter to be.

cascine-001
The colors are peaking right now.