After the party – late July 2019

Saturday       Work in progress

Jill and Peter drove to Switzerland taking the magnums (presents from Giulio and Gianpaolo) and the remaining bottles of Trento doc sparkling wine we used for the toast. 

Photo of group

The rest of us headed to Morisfarms cantina at Poggetti, just beyond Cura Nova on the Scarlino road for a tasting with Giulio and Janey, followed by lunch with the WSET group at La Nouvella.  

Jason went in pursuit of Cala Violina and succeeded in finding it as well as hiking 6 kilometres in the adjacent nature reserve.  

Photo of cala 

The weather changed rapidly during the afternoon and the cagools and umbrellas became v useful during the evening when we set off in batches for a family meal at Grassini’s with Erica and Steve, Jonny, Hugh and Laura, later sharing the ritual bottle of Nippozana downstairs with the WSET bunch, as we waited for the rain to ease. 

Photo of Nip and Grassini

Sunday saw Jess and Jason leave for Pisa airport with Laura and Jonny, while Rob and Joanna, having visited Sassotondo on Saturday, attempted a round Tuscany drive (via Siena and Lucca!) to Pisa. Harry drove Anna, Sara and Vicky to Siena, while Allan, Hugh and Rebecca stayed local after the mining museum (closed for refurbishment) disappointment. We delivered Erica and Steve to Follonica station, who made it home the next day unscathed though their journey via Milan and Paris was not uneventful  included two breakdowns and an ‘unresponsive’ nonna… 

Vecchio Forno group

In the evening we visited Il Vecchio Forno so that David, Anna, Hugh and the WSET group could undergo the Fiorentina experience. Allan, Rebecca and I passed on that one. 

By Monday bills were all paid; WSET crew left first ( though poor Vicky had a luggage delay) followed later by Allan, Rebecca, Anna and Hugh, all heading for Pisa. The english weather had shifted from record heat to record storms; hence more travel disruption – not to mention peak passenger numbers in school holidays. 

We set off for the southern Maremma via Istia dell’Ombrone and an appointment at Belguardo with its eneologist, and the main manager – both keen to respond to David’s climate change questions, and giving us several hours of time and explanations. 

Belguardo photo

La Gioia agriturismo was tucked a kilometre of white road behind well-known successful ristorante La Mandorlaie (which was recommended several times in and around Scansano). La Gioia is the work of a Sicilian builder and his north Italian (Bergamo) long-suffering, very keen to please wife. The rooms are the old cowsheds, restored after the rustic fashion, surprisingly cool and comfortable. The place is very functional and practical, especially for families. Th pool and its terrace, and the breakfast room pavilions do suggest elegance – which is a little misleading!

Photo from website

Despite my fears, not one mosquito bite! La cuoca of 40 years service produced flavourful, unsophisticated food chosen from hand-written menus and eaten by the pool. 

Me by pool

The astroturf mini-football pitch doubling as tennis and basket ball pitches was intended to draw squadre but best serves their two sons who have little other entertainment. The widow who owned the surrounding farm land carried on the traditional activities : sheep grazing, hay making,

 some cereals, and fruit trees. Nearly all the agriturismo’s food: meat, cakes, vegetables, and fruit and various juices were home grown, and the wine local (Terenzi). The sheep were moved regularly to graze this dry landscape, and guarded at night by three large, barking, generally friendly white dogs. The walk to La Mandolaie in starlight on our second night was accompanied by very robust barking, both ways; the familiar and characteristic sound of night-time rural Italy. 

Sheep movement; dogs in fields

We enjoyed using the pool (whose temperature was perfect) every afternoon after our various outings. 

Tues – LAmiraglia and the hunt for wifi

My photo

On to Magliano and lunch in the wifi bar

Gates, walls, views

Back for a rest before heading to the outskirts of Grosetto to find  Gli Attortellati on the via Trapola and its huge zero miles set menu w Gianpaolo and Justine and family, who we met at 20.00 after our visit to La Marina di Victorina 

Photos of sea

Wed 

Ghiaccio Forte etruscan site – spectacular views – vineyard visit w Milo and Etruscan vines and spring. Bit late cos of wrong side river. Etruscan links Marsilana et al  to Pitt) 

Photos

Terenzi – unpretentious v successful family venture – delightful woman providing open cantina tastings using enomatic machine

Tried to access Roccapesta seen across valley from Terenzi; failed

Onto L’Amiraglia for a impromptu tasting with very charming Giusy thinking of doing WSET  and meeting Francesco again from 12 years ago… hilarious

Le Mandorlaie for an excellent supper – weighty Roccapesta reserva – OK but not o/s

Dogs barking para? 

Thurs 

Le Pupille (maps perhaps here of Scansano routes incl La Mozza and Roselle) w Ludmila?

Photo of us

Her recommendation to eat at La Parolaccia in Rosette N of Istia and over the Ombrone

Where we soup di Porcini e Funghi and D’s Orata Fabulous

Then back to Scansano to talk to the director of the Consorzio – car parked at top of townwhen there was a carpark. Scansano seems v depressed eg La Cantina now closed

Back up to the S cooperative  i Vinaioli with a solemn woman good at her job.

Swam; supper at the ranch inthe interests of solidarity, drinking the better wine we bought at Terenzi. Lovely french family w little girls doing handstands… 

Fri 

Simone Castelli at 414. Friendly but anxious, looking reasonably prosperous… oaked Trebbiano seemed a step too far to me. Few km from La Gioia towards La Mozza. 

On to see what else there is…. Val di Toro w Hugh (English) and Anne-Marie from Sicily whom we had met at VinItaly and also in2007 when looking for MorisFarms’ Maddonina nearby

Irene – charming and v measured made a wonderful host esp in comp w grumpy Hugh 

Daughter of Le Mandorlaie

Headed forMM via Rosette- reposo – second ristorante equally good…swam; then toMagdi’s for Champagne and Pian di Ciampola 3rdwine of Montevertine

Sat 

Photos, blogging, resting and swim. Lunch at La Tana w Raphaella and then swimming*

Supper at GF before La Boheme … used Grassini’s facilities… D dozed in final act despite Mimi!! 

Sun 

Francesca, Stephano andLuna  

Then back road via …. to Suvereto and the ‘fish’ restaurant. Dal Caccini .Recognised us! 

Swam before Grassini for supper and an elderly alicante 2011 next to Danish couple who have an appartment in MM

Hysterical and also fantastic Aida. Costumes bonkers; ugly sister princess and french knickers baring pretty buttocks of the just pubescent dancers.. started 30 mins late; finished at 01.10

Mon 

Ordered wines from Magdi for Sue’s surprise tuscan wine tasting. Headed for Pisa and a v full airport. Plane 90 mins late. Home by 21.40 to join James et al who are camping until new house ready and furniture in. Happy days….

 

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