Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Harvest 2011 At Kramer Vineyards

Did any major, life changing events happen to you in 2011? I suspect most readers here know about my move to Oregon and subsequent experience as a harvest intern, followed by my hiring as a tasting room manager. Originally I meant to write this blog post in November or December, but I kept putting it off because I could never figure out how to convey my experiences properly.

I'll give it a shot now, so please read on. Enjoy the pictures too! Here's a link to my Facebook photo gallery of Harvest 2011 pictures too.

When I first arrived in Oregon, I had no job, having quit Trader Joe's to move here. I was looking for work, sending out resumes and meeting prospective employers left and right. As you can imagine, it's a stressful time, living off one's savings and all. Becky's family (who own and operate Kramer Vineyards) was great during this period, offering me a chance to help out at the winery during Harvest. Because it provided much-needed income and gave me a chance to gain valuable production-side wine experience, I jumped at the chance.

Not so ripe, but very disease-free grapes
I got lost on the way to Kramer Vineyards on my first day. Driving along unfamiliar roads, mind racing, the pressure on, and I blew it. Thankfully I took a right turn at the next town and continued on my way. Arriving only about 15 minutes behind schedule, my first day consisted of watching the pickers lug bucket after bucket of chardonnay into the bins and peppering Kim Kramer, winemaker, with questions. I helped punch the pickers tickets, one punch per bucket, and when the fruit was in, we walked up to the winery.

Glamor? Nah.
Wine seduces us with the image of glamorous life in the vineyards, walking among gorgeous vines or gaily stomping grapes avec les pieds while a man in a vest strums a guitar in the background. When you're sitting on top of a drum press, sticky with grape juice, surrounded by yellowjackets, buffeted by cold winds, and bashing your knuckles bloody on the icy cold metal of the elevator, the romance is sucked out of life itself. All you can think about is that there are a few tons of grapes left until you're able to climb down and warm yourself next to a hissing propane heater.

Only after climbing down off that press, after the last grapes of the day were crushed to juice and fed into their respective tanks, did I begin to understand what I was a part of. We often grab a bottle off the shelf, open it, and enjoy the wine as it is. Rarely do we consider how that wine got into our glass, instead living in the moment of joy that wine brings. A sense of pride, honor, and contentment paced my fatigue, lifting my spirits as I drove through the darkness back to my home. I was finally part of creating something, a beverage that does so much for us, and for me personally.

As Harvest 2011 continued, I kept learning. Simple things like putting on a hose fitting correctly, shutting off the pump as the barrel fills up, opening this valve or that valve at the right time, and how to ignore those Yellow Jackets. Kim and Keith (Kim's dad, winemaker, viticulturalist, farmer) taught me more about wine; what goes into a press, a vat, a fermenter, a tank, a barrel, and lastly, a bottle. I learned about different yeast strains, barrel treatments, how to monitor fermentation and take notes, how to punch a cap down and how to pump over that cap. Wine began to change for me, for while I could now explore wine in more detail, and while the great ones excited me more than ever, so did I lament the bad wines ever more strongly.

By all accounts, Harvest was going very well. The fruit coming in was of excellent quality, without problems like botrytis, mildew, or bunch rot. Mid-October's string of sunny, relatively warm days provided a lifeline to 2011's growing season, allowing the grapes one last burst of ripening energy. Some blocks didn't get fully ripe though, and I learned which parts of the vineyards would ripen more fully than others. Those relatively underripe grapes went into sparkling wine (which we pressed to tank on Day 1) and rosé, one of pinot noir and one of carmine. Believe me when I tell you, those wines are going to be incredible. You'll have to wait till late spring before they're released though.

Somehow I managed these days relatively injury-free, which is an achievement. The crush pad is a dangerous place, with heavy equipment moving, hard metal protruding, winery dogs lounging, and watery grape must everywhere. At night I'd read up on the adventures of other harvest interns and winemakers, journeying with them as they struggled with weather, schedules, and all sorts of details that go into 750 ml of the good stuff.

Doing important things.
Working on a small, family owned winery also exposed me to realities of the wine industry. I was dismayed to watch critics at major publications turn in harvest reports where they talked to the folks at the million-dollar facilities and no one else. In fact, I got a little pissed because I felt that the little guys, especially ones with heritage firmly behind them, were getting hardly any coverage. Even the wine blogging set, always ones to trumpet their independence from publications, scarcely mentioned or made an effort to tell the story of what goes on at a small winery producing the best wines they can on the very fringes of the climate-zone. Laziness mixed with apathy perhaps.

Yet the days continued, the fruit wasn't going to stop coming in just because I was full of self-righteous anger. Work needed to be done and I needed to pull my weight. After all the pinot noir was in, we turned to sorting and de-stemming the fruit. If there was ever a tedious job during Harvest, this is it. Luckily I was working the sorting table with good people, helping pass the time much quicker. The fruit quality was excellent, lots of ripe clusters, not much rot or mildew anywhere. After it passed through our table it met the de-stemmer before being unceremoniously dumped into the fermenter bins.

This is not how you work a sorting table.
In those white plastic bins the hungry yeast began to do their work. There are no expensive concrete eggs or ceramic-lined concrete tanks here because Kramer Vineyards wasn't started as a vanity project by some millionaire who wanted the wine country lifestyle. If there is "real wine", this is how it's made. Years of experience and careful attention to detail mixed in with practical application of knowledge work together to shepherd grapes into wine. Balancing what the yeast does naturally with avoidance of issues like volatile acidity and stuck fermentations requires an artist's touch.

So it went, I watched and learned, asked questions, and worked. Knowledge gained that hopefully will be put to good use this coming year. That is a hint, folks. Twelve days passed with chardonnay, pinot gris, and muller-thurgau in tanks while the pinot noir sat in bins bubbling along merrily. If you ever get the chance to visit a winery after Harvest, do so, the aroma will stay with you forever. The air is tangy, perhaps from the carbon dioxide, and carries a distinct grapey smell.

Once the yeast are exhausted, it's time to load the gloppy mess into our faithful, knuckle destroying drum press. Shoveling thousands of pounds of grapes never felt so good. Actually, it doesn't feel good at all but it's a hell of a workout. That activity helped delay my nearly inevitable Portland weight gain by a month! The Harvest Diet, eat whatever the hell you want but work your ass off. The press uses barely any pressure to gently extract the juice from the grapes, and that juice is then sent to a settling tank where it rests until the day comes when we must barrel it and put those barrels into the cellar for aging.

Anyone who's worked a Harvest and filled barrels has invariably overfilled one..or more..I miraculously got away with just one geyser-like eruption of wine, my attention wandered while I filled the barbera we'd brought in from Washington. No more than a few gallons of the vivid purple stuff were lost though.

Once the barbera was put away, Harvest was basically over. 43 tons of fruit in, all of it now resting and evolving into wines I will be proud to drink. Authenticity is a huge buzzword in the wine world right now, so I propose this: authentic wine shows grapes in their most expressive form, and authentic wines are made by small producers who are bereft of high tech tools and facilities, who labor out of passion and dedication.

Harvest 2011 was an amazing experience, the ripples of which I am still feeling.

Beau Carufel

Monday, February 27, 2012

Panini and Barbera, and Life.

This afternoon Becky went out and bought a panini grill, fulfilling a long-held intent of ours. With that purchase, tonight became "panini night" at the abode. Becky enthusiastically manned the grill, such as it was, and created various combinations of panini that included ham/cheddar/mustard, onion/turkey/swiss/spinach-dip, and ham/spinach/swiss/spinach-dip. Aside from making me fat, Becky was experimenting to find flavor combinations we'd like.

As is usually the case, I was left wondering what wine to open this evening. My requirement was simple: whatever I opened had to be Italian. Armed with this strident selection criteria, I engaged my friend Meg Maker, via Twitter, to see what she'd recommend. If you haven't read Meg's wine blog, check it out because I guarantee you will learn something while enjoying the story she tells.

Meg immediately suggested a barbera, bringing joy to my heart and palate because Becky and I had just purchased some barbera at an Italian wine tasting several weeks ago. A local wine store, E&R Wine Shop, was responsible for my new-found (or: re-kindled) enthusiasm towards wines from "The Boot".

This 2008 Iuli Barbera del Monferrato proved to be a wonderful match for grilled sandwiches. The bouquet is bright with red fruit and pepper, tobacco, and a whiff of Old World funk. It smells authentic, it smells of a real wine, made without high tech gizmos and gadgets but made with care, attention to detail, and passion. I can respect that. The beautiful garnet color lends itself to a wine that tastes like red fruit and soil with tart acidity keeping the troops in line. Light body, a clean finish, and a singularly beautiful simplicity leave me wishing I had a better vocabulary so as to do this wine justice.

Experiences like tonight's serve to remind me (us?) that you don't need to spend a lot of money for a wine to be special or memorable. Sometimes a simple, cheap, authentic barbera paired with your girlfriend's first attempts at panini are all you need to remember just how good you have it.

Beau Carufel

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#WineChat, Hosted by @Beckyboo503 and @UCBeau, February 29!

That's right, Oregon's premiere wine power couple* will be hosting a #WineChat next week, on February 29th! Since we live in the Pacific Northwest, our focus will be on obscure and under-appreciated wines from these parts. We urge you to do the same and support small producers in the region.

Everyone knows that Oregon makes great pinot noir and Washington's red blends are among the best in the United States. Big deal! What about zinfandel from the Columbia Gorge or dolcetto from Washington? Bet you've never tried those before! Have you ever had a wine made from Marechal Foch? This #Winechat is all about stepping beyond your comfort zone and having fun!

We're awash in an ocean of pinot gris, most of it about as interesting as Coors Light. There's chardonnay and riesling in these parts, but big deal, those are grown all over the country. How about trying siegerrebe from the Puget Sound or gruner veltliner from the Willamette Valley?

The idea here is that trying more wines will make you a better wine taster. Rules don't exist, so feel free to bring whatever you desire to the virtual table. Becky and myself will be sipping some wines from Whidbey Island Winery, ones we ordered just for this awesome event.

2009 Whidbey Island Winery Siegerrebe
2009 Whidbey Island Winery Madeleine Angevine
NV Whidbey Island Winery Island White

So then, you might ask how to participate, and the answer is simple. #WineChat works via Twitter, and we recommend using a free program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to follow along. Participants will be using the hashtag "#winechat" during the roughly one hour long virtual tasting. As with every #WineChat, the event is open to any and all who want to have fun and talk about what's in their glass.

We hope to see you there! For more information on what #WineChat is, visit Marie Payton's website The Life of Vines and click the #WineChat page. Cheers!

*the term "wine power couple" is used loosely but is 100% accurate, we are in fact bundles of pure awesomeness. Just sayin'

Beau Carufel

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oregon Pinot Noir Blind Tasting

A few weeks ago Becky and I took part in a blind pinot noir tasting with her parents friends. They are part of a tasting group that meets once a month and we were fortunate enough to be invited, perhaps due to our good behavior the previous time..perhaps... While the theme was Oregon pinot noir, due to a misunderstanding I thought the theme was just pinot noir, and therefore brought along an international sample that I hoped would wow the rest of the tasters. More on that later.

This was what I'd term a "loose-blind" tasting because the only knowns were that we were tasting pinot noir and it was (supposedly) from Oregon. The vintage spread was 2001-2010, in my mind a great thing because it forced us all to think about each wine and dredge up previous tasting experiences. I always tell people looking to learn more about wine that blind tasting is one of the most effective tools you can use. Reading books is great, so is visiting tasting rooms and large events, but blind tasting engages the brain's memory centers in a powerful way, teaching us to evaluate and retain the characteristics of wines we taste.

Below is a list of the wines we tasted, put in order from first to last according to my rankings that night. It's important to note that this only represents how the wine tasted to me that night, and isn't necessarily an indicator of overall quality. I am presenting my tasting notes raw and unedited, save for spelling corrections, so that you might get the most accurate possible view of what I smelled and tasted.

1. 2010 Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir Willamette Valley:
Nose: Candy (jolly rancher), strawberries, vanilla..oak, clean and fresh. Green notes..stemmy even, partial whole-cluster fermented? Good stuff, I like how intense the bouquet is without veering into jam territory.
Palate: Light, uplifting fruit, red cherries and wild strawberries. Green, stemmy notes add texture. Some tannin, grippy, but not overwhelming. Impressive balance, light yet intense and full. YUM.

2. 2009 Craggy Range "Te Muna Road" Pinot Noir Martinborough:
Nose: Zippy raspberry, rose petal, hints of baking spice, and a touch of oak. Beautifully aromatic, reminds me of the best of CA and OR pinot's. 2006/7Oregon pinot?
Palate: Ripe red berry, oak, spices, raspberry jam, taut acidity that refreshes the palate. Great structure. Impressive! **Note: I later threw this result out because the wine was not from Oregon.**

3. 2009 Montinore Estate Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley:
Nose: Oregon funk, bright fruit, woody. Nice minerality, it's a dusty, earthy kind. Balanced nose, I like the interplay between the fruit and forest floor notes.
Palate: Nice acidity, keeps the mouthfeel light and fun. Red fruit...cherry and raspberry, good proportions of each. Well-integrated tannin, this is so approachable and friendly right now. Young, 2009 or 2010 maybe?

4. 2001 Panther Creek Cellars Bednarik Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley:
Nose: Very light, with red fruit and a hint of green stems. Some earth and Oregon funk that's and muted. Seems graceful, could be an older vintage?
Palate: Very smooth approach brings some fruit, spice, and a touch of oak. There's some alcohol on the finish but it's not too harsh. Nice flavor integration, seems kind of simple though, lacking any "wow" factor.

5. 2006 Oak Knoll Red Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley:
Nose: Loads of bacon-y meat, teriyaki, dark fruits, and brown sugar. Interesting savory notes, could it be Brettanomyces? Not much fruit or Oregon funk pushing through, hard to figure what this is.
Palate: Oaky, like really oaky. Sweet baking spices, cured meats, but here are some bright red fruits finally coming out. Very mellow palate presence, smooth and soft despite the spice and oak. Uninspiring though.

6. 2008 Johan Nils Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley:
Nose: Tons of oak, like a vanilla-soaked bag of wood chips. Behind the oak lie ripe red cherry and herb aromas, but it's disappointingly oaky compared to the others. Very light bit of funk, almost completely washed out by the wood.
Palate: Sweet oak and cherry preserves dominate, the acidity feels beaten down. May be a young pinot but right now it's just too heavy and clunky to enjoy. Hopefully not the wine I brought! Sticks out for the wrong reasons.

What, if any, conclusions can I draw from this tasting? 

A lot, actually: I have much to learn about Oregon pinot noir, for starters. Also I realized that I've got to learn how to blind-taste better. In this case, I let myself get distracted and I think my notes showed that. My distrust of what my palate tells me is another thing to work on, and I think it's something a lot of us do. Often what our gut (or palate) tells us right away is invaluable and attention must be paid to those "hunches".

The poor showing by the Johan Nils Reserve was a shock, since Johan is one of my favorite Oregon producers and I am always touting them to my friends and family. I think the Nils will get better with age though, it's going through a "dumb" phase. Willamette Valley Vineyards shocked me with their Whole Cluster pinot, it was so good and so cheap, around $20! Montinore's wines impressed me last time I visited and it was good to see that it wasn't a fluke. The group really enjoyed the Estate Reserve pinot noir, and at around $25 it's a bargain for the quality level.

While I had to discard the wonderful Craggy Range Te Muna Road from the final standings, it really held up against Oregon's array, further proof that New Zealand has come into their own as a pinot noir producer. In the interests of full disclosure, it was a sample sent to me for review purposes.

I suppose tastings like these serve to remind us all that wine is dynamic, ever-changing, and learning about it is a task you will never finish. It could be worse though, because educating yourself about wine is perhaps one of the most fun activities you can do.

Beau Carufel

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

I've written about Parducci wines frequently over the last year and the wines have generally been very good, in some cases excellent, and always a great value. You can read my past blogs about Parducci and see what I mean. Recently I was sent two more bottles to sample, the new "Small Lot Blend" series. Both the chardonnay and pinot noir are priced with an eye towards by-the-glass placement in restaurants and wine bars, their respective srp's being $11.00 and $12.00. That said, they are also both available at retail locations as evidenced by my query.

The pinot noir is 100% pinot, aged for eight months (assuming that's in oak), and produced in large quantities - 20,000 cases. The chardonnay on the other hand was subject to a neutral-wood and stainless steel regimen, along with 5% barrel fermentation. It was produced in much small quantities, only 6,620 cases. Depending on your perspective, these wines could be seen as large production or small production, but I looked forward to tasting them and seeing if Parducci had continued its run of great quality wines at bargain prices.

2010 Parducci Small Lot Blend Chardonnay Mendocino County: A very pale chardonnay, I'd liken it to a New Zealand sauvignon blanc in color. Aromatically I get a lot of sweet apple and pear notes, some buttery pastry-crust too, and maybe the barest hint of a mineral component. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with vibrant acidity at the edges of my tongue that restrain the pastry-crust note, providing balance and texture. Just like on the nose, that ripe golden apple comes through along with an easygoing dollop of fresh stone fruit. A light, airy finish ends the Parducci on a pleasant note. Overall I think this is a wonderfully food-friendly wine and it nails the by-the-glass intent that Parducci had when creating this line. I would gladly drink this chardonnay over many higher-priced examples for it's lightness and balance. 13.5% abv. $11 suggested retail price.

2010 Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir Mendocino County: I like the color here, it's a beautifully vibrant Burgundy that mellows out to ruby-red towards the edges of the glass. The bouquet is a nice mix of vanilla, cedar, baking spice, and a core of prominent black cherry-plum mixture. At only $12, the complexity level is unusually high. A sip brings out very ripe red fruits backed up by a firm acid streak supported by subtle oak before the mildly tannic finish cleans things up. The core fruit flavors of sweet cherries and plums are welcomed, where they form a very sippable pinot noir. This is light-bodied, fun, and still possess enough intensity to stand up to salmon and even some red meat. I often lament cheap pinot noir, but this deliver above the price point. 14.0% abv. $12 suggested retail price.

Over the course of two days, both wines showed very well considering their price. The chardonnay maintained a light, uplifting feel and the pinot held on to the firm acid and fruit notes that made it so pleasurable in the first place. I guess you could say that Parducci passed the test once again with their Small Lot Blend wines.. If you see these wines on a list somewhere, it's safe to order them and know that you're getting a good quality wine that will pair with a wide range of foods.

Visit Parducci on the web
Parducci Winery on Twitter

With that, my first Parducci wines of 2012 were a big hit and I look forward to bringing you more of their bottlings over the next 12 months. Hopefully this year they sample me on the more expensive stuff too! Thanks as always for reading.

These wines were media samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir New Releases

(img src:
Quick: How long as Brancott Estate been growing grapes and producing wine? You might be surprised to learn that the company now known as Brancott has been around since 1934, when the company (then known as Montana Wines) first start planting grape vines in New Zealand. Fast forward to 1975, when the first sauvignon blanc grapes were planted in Marlborough at the Brancott Vineyard. As we know today, that was the beginning of something big.

Now Brancott Estate is the largest producer and exporter of Marlborough sauvignon blanc in New Zealand. Their signature style of high acid, citrus-flavor themed white wines has been around since 1979 when the first vintage was released.Within a few years, Brancott sauvignon blanc was winning accolades all over the world. Here in the United States, a veritable wave of inexpensive sauvignon blanc washed over our shores, to be lapped up by a wine drinking public looking for light, friendly white wines at low prices.

I was recently sent the new releases from Brancott Estate, and sat down one day to taste through them in order to see if much has changed since my first Brancott wine, almost a decade ago. The wines remain true to form, as inexpensive, high quality, easy drinking whites and reds. I was once again pleased to find these New Zealand wines varietally honest and straightforward. It's no wonder that they are on so many restaurant wine lists, and on so many wine drinker's shopping lists.

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2010 Brancott Pinot Grigio Marlborough: Pours as clear as Sprite into the glass. The bouquet is lightly grassy, complemented with lemon notes. Secondary aromas include summer flowers and a touch of pineapple. For such an inexpensive, high-production wine, the bouquet is impressively complex. In typical pinot grigio fashion, the citrus-themed acid notes approach fast and hard, coating the palate before giving way to a gentle mid-palate of tropical fruit and hints of pear. While simple and a bit disconnected from the complexity of the bouquet, the mouthfeel is good and refreshing. This New Zealand pinot grigio is more interesting than a lot of Italian bottles. For a good time, blind pour it for some wine-geek friends and ask them to guess. 13.2% abv. $10 suggested retail.

2011 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough: A pale yellow color, if I was fancy I'd say "delicate straw" or some other banal term. The aromas are very nice, a mix of lime juice, grass, and kiwi fruit. Hints of pineapple peek out from around the lime-citrus edges. When tasted at proper temperature (hint: not straight from the fridge) I also detected a wonderfully ripe passion fruit aroma that helped temper the lime and grass. On the palate the acid screams out at me, leading to a procession of citrus, gooseberry, and pleasant minerality. The finish is quick, a touch more citrus and it's all over. I'd love this wine paired with grilled fish, scallops, or a salad with creamy ranch dressing. Even by itself, this is a nice, fun sauvignon blanc. In my opinion, there's no need to over-pay for a sauvignon blanc from Napa Valley when for under $10 you can drink this. 12.5% abv.

2010 Brancott Pinot Noir Marlborough: Dark red, bordering on garnet, all the way through. The nose is interesting, some forest-floor notes, a hint of funk (the good kind), and an undertone of dark berry fruit. On the palate the Brancott has a darker orientation as well, more black cherry, plum, and a hint of leather. I also feel the acidity is a bit harsher, not as nicely integrated as other New Zealand examples. Still, you could do a lot worse for around $10. Perhaps the biggest fault in the wine is the finish, it evaporates into nothingness far too soon, leaving a bitter, stemmy quality behind. Bottle age will help out with the flavor integration issues but again, at the $10 price point you can do far worse. I'd happily drink a glass of this with salmon or red meat.

The Brancott wines are often maligned by wine geeks (bloggers included) as being to homogenous, a familiar refrain being that they're not worth drinking because they are mass produced. What those out of touch people fail to realize is that Brancott is everywhere and at under $10, provides an excellent level of quality. Sure, production is high, but it's consistently a high-sales brand and therefore we can infer that Brancott's style appeals to many people.

For that reason, I recommend any of these wines to those of you looking for a consistent, reliable producer with a fun back-story and great availability. None of these wines will knock your socks off but as I said in the pinot noir review, you can sure do a lot worse for around $10.

These wines were media samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Divino Tuscany, May 17-20

(img credit: Alessandro Moggi)

How does a four day festival in Tuscany sound? If you're like me, it sounds pretty damn good. This just came down the PR wire and I'm curious if any of my readers are going or would go. What appeals to me is the wine and food tastings, along with the first night's Cuban cigar and Grappa pairing. How could that not be fun? Now the price, a really hefty €1,900, or $2,486 at current exchange rates for each ticket. That doesn't include airfare either, and as far as I can see, you're on your own for where to stay. If you're considering this type of event, perhaps a budget of $5,000 to $7,500 is necessary. Of course, if the organizers want this humble blogger to cover the event and are going to pay his way, who am I to say no?

Event: Divino Tuscany 2012
Date/Time: May 17- 20, 2012
Location: Florence, Tuscany. (Italy..the same region Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino come from, among others)
Description: One-of-a-kind, 4-day celebration of the best Tuscan wines, food and culture. Divino Tuscany will offer a distinctive program that highlights premium wines: wine tastings with Tuscany’s top winemakers, seminars and grand tastings curated by James Suckling, former Senior Editor and European Bureau Chief of Wine Spectator and one of the world's most influential wine critics; special luncheons and dinners prepared by Michelin-starred chefs and entertainment organized by IMG Artists, one of the leading producers of cultural and lifestyle festivals. Participating winemakers include Marchesi Antinori, Frescobaldi, Mazzei, Ricasoli, Il Borro, Petrolo and Castello Banfi, and more.
· Festive welcome dinner to open the second edition of Divino Tuscany with the Italian premiere screening of James Suckling’s and James Orr’s film Heart and Soul of Cuba, recently shown to rave reviews at the Sonoma Film Festival, live music from Havana’s hottest pianist, Ernán López Nussa performing with his trio, and Grappa tasting with Cuban cigars
·Gala dinner at the opulent Palazzo Corsini on the banks of the Arno.
·Grand Tastings at the Grand Hotel Villa Cora poured by the winemakers and proprietors themselves.
·Saturday night dinners in the private Palazzi of the most well known Tuscan wine families.
·Join James Suckling as he escorts you through private tastings with winemakers he has personally invited for this intimate experience.
·Divino Tuscany will close with a relaxed country lunch at the private villa Il Palagio, courtesy of owners Sting and Trudie Styler.
Tickets: The Full Pass Package for Divino Tuscany is €1900 per person, including applicable VAT/IVA. Readers may purchase event tickets online.
General Inquiries:
IMG Artists UK / Divino Tuscany
Phone: +44 (0)20 7957 5800; Fax: +44 (0)20 7957 5801
(img credit Alessandro Moggi)

So what do you think? Would you go if you had the money?

Beau Carufel