Wine Lover's Italy: The Wine Estate of Cook Under the Tuscan Sun
One of the lovely parts about staying at the beautiful Relais Il Falconiere during our Cook Under the Tuscan Sun cooking vacation is that you get to visit the family winery and vineyards, where they make flavorful and complex Tuscan wines. The Baracchi family, in particular Riccardo and his son Benedetto, have made it their mission to continue the family's wine-making history, which goes back to 1860.
The Baracchi wine estate grows five main varieties of grape, two of them typically Tuscan—Sangiovese and Trebbiano—as well as the international varieties Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah. They are grown on some 22 hectares separated into three different plots. The specific plots have different soil consistencies, and different exposure to the sun. So, for example, the sandy San Martino plot will produce Sangiovese and Syrah, while they chalky Gabbiano plot is dedicated to Syrah and Cabernet. The final plot, Montanare, lies in a clean, sunny valley and is dedicated to Sangiovese, Merlot, and Trebbiano, which has been growing there for more than 40 years. Each of the plots of land are treated as independent when it comes to cultivation, depending on their distinct altitude, climate, soil composition, and variety, and yet each helps to make the lovely, aromatic Baracchi wines for which the estate has become known. (For more on Tuscan grape varieties, see our previous blog post on Tuscan wines).
Grape production is purposely limited, so that each ounce of fruit is brought to its fullest potential. The winery is located at the San Martino plot, and is where the fermentation and aging take place. The Baracchi winery uses exclusively oak barriques. Three of their wines are part of the Cortona DOC: the Smeriglio Syrah, the Smeriglio Melot, and the Smeriglio Sangiovese.
Our cooking vacation Cook Under the Tuscan Sun takes place at the Baracchi estate, at their Relais & Chateau hotel Il Falconiere, and includes a visit of and tasting at the winery. It gives one a rare opportunity to stay with a Tuscan family and learn about their heritage, including their history of wine-making, first hand. Salute!
By Peg Kern