Just the two of us

Tuscany seems to be a very popular topic lately. It is funny that ever since I said I don’t like going to Tuscany because it is always too busy, I’ve been more in Tuscany than ever before and the same goes for the wines and food :-). You might have noticed it on my instagram or facebook, a few weeks ago I was having my summer holidays in Tuscany, or to be more precise in Terricciola.  The big difference between my holidays now and the ones from the previous years is that now we are not 2, but 3 🙂 which results that we can still go to restaurants, but not the same kind… if it weren’t for the fact we asked my daughter’s grandmothers to join us the second week of our holiday that is. This way my wife and I were able to have a day or at least one evening for just us 2… a date night if you will 🙂 For this date I already had the perfect restaurant in mind, Del Duca in Volterra, When I was here 2 years ago I didn’t manage to eat here. The first time I saw the restaurant while walking through the narrow medieval streets of Volterra the restaurant already attracted me!! This was even before meeting the owner/chef Genuino and daughter Claudia (who is host and sommelier in the restaurant) who are the most charming people you’ll meet.

Claudia and Genuino

Del Duca serves refined Italian dishes using as much local products as possible and preferably home-made products. Their home-made products go from hams, cheeses, bread, etc… it is stuff like this that separates a cook from a chef for me. Next to the refined food, the second reason to visit Del Duca would be for its exquisite wine list (if you go, ask to see their beautiful wine cellar) with lots of unknown treasures on it!! As I knew they also make their own wine on their estate ‘Podere Marcampo’ (about which I’ll talk in a next blogpost) this seemed like the perfect occasion to taste some of them… this all after a nice glass of Prosecco Rustico by Nino Franco to start what turned out to be a wonderful night out with my beautiful/charming wife whom I love soooo much!! (Scoring points)

Rustico by Nino Franco

Like always there were so many things on the menu that tickled my fantasy, but it were the ravioli with wild boar filling and potato/saffron sauce that did it the most. I must admit that I found it a strange kind of sauce with a potato sauce, but it worked out and was in balance with the strong flavor of the wild boar and saffron. My wife’s eye fell on the vegetable souffle with Tuscan ham. As wine we had the Marcampo which is a 50/50 blend of Merlot and Sangiovese that didn’t overpower our dishes, but rather a harmonization.

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Marcampo

We continued with in my case with a piece of red chianina meat (filet) with a Chianti/port sauce that like you probably can imagine needs a strong wine next to it like the Giusto Alle Balze that is a 100% Merlot wine. As Merlot lover here again the wine was a win. My wife stuffed guinea fowl with a bacon crust and she continued with the Marcampo wine.

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Giusto alle Balze

Just like every meal, this one had to be ended in beauty! According to my wife the chocolate mousse with caramel fudge on top of it was THE BEST she had ever had… now (few weeks after it) I sometimes still hear here asking for it in her sleep 🙂 . I took the puff pastry filled with custard (Calories don’t frighten me 😉 ) that just needed a nice dessert wine like Moscato di Pantelleria from the  Salvatore Murana estate (sweet, but not to sweet).

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Moscato di Pantelleria

A night to remember sums it all up I think. I wouldn’t have changed anything: nice location, great food and great company… Very satisfied and more in love then ever my wife and I set sail back to reality and to our lovely daughter 😉 and look forward to hopefully once again enjoy another delightful meal at Enoteca Del Duca

Del Duca

Having liked their wines and me being so close to their vineyard AND liking Claudia and her family so much I just had to visit their vineyard!! More in one of my next posts

Enoteca Del Duca

Address: Via di Castello, 2, 56048 Volterra PI, Italy

Website: www.enoteca-delduca-ristorante.it

Phone n°: +39 0588 81510

Visiting Megavino 2014

As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I’m not really a convention center person. I always feel like I’m begging for a glass of wine… I know that I shouldn’t feel like this, but in some way I do. On the other hand for many years I accompanied my dad and 2 of his friends to Vinitaly a wine convention in Verona (with around 5000 exhibitors/winemakers). The difference there was that this was I was able to spend more time with my dad (and a good excuse to travel) and we usually would also only visit the winemakers he knew personally and therefore it felt less like begging and more like just visiting a friend (which it also was). My visit to Megavino in Brussels this year was for the exact same reason, to visit friends… coincidentally mostly female friends that took me (and my friends) on a trip through their wines 🙂 🙂

Megavino

My first stop was at the French Pavilion to join the always lovely Miss Vicky (that all of you probably all know from me mentioning her in some of previous blog posts). Not only is she a very nice French young lady, her life also turns ALL around wine. She makes wine, writes about wine, knows almost everything about wine and travels the world to share that wisdom and to bring together people to drink and share their experiences about wine both Miss Vicky as other wines (in a nutshell). One of Vicky’s goals (I think) is amongst other to put French wine in the picture again and give them a younger image. In which to my opinion she ( lots of French winemakers also support her in that mission) succeeds. Megavino this year was also a little family moment for Miss Vicky as she brought her whole family to the convention (besides her mom). Surprise , surprise, her whole family also work in the wine business 🙂 (besides her brother whose main activity is art). So I was able to try all their wines and I’m really not able to say which vineyard I preferred, Miss Vicky’s or her dad’s…. What I can say is that we (me and my friends) had a preference for their Fleurie (both Miss Vicky as from Domains des Moriers) because of the fact it is an easy to drink wine with a nice aftertaste and from Miss Vicky’s white’s I did like the fresh en fruitiness of the Beaujolais.

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Megavino

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My next stop was to meet Claudia from Podere Marcampo. I had never met Claudia before, we only knew eachother from our correspondence over the internet 🙂 normally the plan was to visit her vineyard during my trip in Tuscany earlier this year, but due to a few schedule changes we didn’t make it happen… The combination of Claudia’s and her enthusiasm when we met at Megavino made me wanting to immediately join her to visit their vineyard in Italy :-). Podere Marcampo is a fairly new small vineyard (only 2ha of vines and around 10000 bottles a year) that was started around 2006 when father Del Duca purchased Podere Marcampo. Wine making isn’t (yet) their main focus as besides winemaking they also have already for many years a refined enoteca/restaurant in the historical centre of Volterra called Enotaca Del Duca (a must if you are ever in the area). They also have a Agriturismo in the middle of their vineyards on top of a hill with some breathtaking views (also around Volterra). I didn’t stay their yet myself, but one of my friends did and enjoyed every moment of their stay :-). Regarding their wines you can still feel and hear they are still looking for the exact direction they want to take and are still experimenting a bit… what you must know is that the area around Volterra is not really seen as a wine area as the climate isn’t as mild as for example 50 or 100km around them . Nevertheless this didn’t stop them (difficult is also an option 🙂 ). Because of the use of Sangiovese and Merlot grapes and the fact the wines aren’t too heavy, makes their wines an every person’s friend. I must be honest and admit that some of the wines I tasted were still a little too young, but still very drinkable 🙂 I’m already looking forward to try their wines when they are a bit older!

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The frosting on the cake on this day was without any doubt the Master class I was able to take thanks to France Wine (UbiFrance) about wines in Amphora. It basically is a ceramic container in which they age and conserve wine already since the 8th century before Christ!!! The reason I subscribed for this course was because it just intrigued me that a technique like this still god used after century’s aaaand that it was my friend top sommelier Cesar Roman who would be teaching the masterclass. It might seem unbelievable, but I learned quite a lot in those 45 minutes, like that the first signs of winemaking can be found in Georgia (country)… form all places I never expected it was Georgia 🙂 . And this is just one of the many things I learned, but I’ll be talking in more detail about this in one of my next posts. The taste of the wine wasn’t 100% my cup of tea 😉 (“of course not, it was wine 🙂 🙂 hahaha, sorry!! Bad joke I know) but just like with all wines, I’m sure there also some very good or better amphora wines of my liking…

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I did visit more stands, but I wanted to keep it “short” 🙂

So even-though I’m not really a convention center person I did have a great time at Megavino! Thanks guys!