Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Remembering Renzo

Renzo Marinai is a veterinarian by education and training, but is now a wine maker. We visited his beautiful grounds in Tuscany's Conca d'Oro (Golden Shell), where he and his dog led us on a tour and tasting.

What's cool about Renzo's small operation is his "back to basics" approach. (Instead of creating separate grape and olive fields) He plants olive trees among the vineyards -- and wheat, too. He believes living together helps their immune systems as well as the soil. Of course, in addition to the wine from grapes, he makes oil from the olives, and pasta -- and perfume -- from the wheat.

I bought a bottle of the perfume, Vita, for myself. It smells heavenly: clean, fresh, Tuscan. It was a bit of a risk, considering I haven't worn perfume for years now on account of allergies.  But the risk paid off: no rashes.  So I get to be reminded a bit of Italy now and again.

But you really want to know about the wine, right?  Panzano, where Renzo lives, is in Tuscany.  Which means the wine is Chianti.  As most wine makers do, he ferments in stainless steel and ages in oak.  But his wine ages to the sound of Mozart.  According to Renzo, the candence of the composition is reverberated by the wood, enhancing the aging process.  I especially liked the Chianti Classico Riserva. And he also poured some of his Kadar for us to try -- a special treat because there are only 290 bottles of the stuff!


This was one of the more memorable winery tours.  It's one of the smaller wineries in the region, but is very unique in terms of philosophy and product line.  And the tour was by the proprieter himself -- who, for someone of my parents' generation, is a pretty spiffy dresser!

It's been over two months since the trip, and although I have tons of photos and can probably write an individual post on each of the vineyards we visited, I'll abbreviate the process by sharing a list of the others we visited:

One last and special post to go, and I can say, "Ciao, Italia!" for now.


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