One of the things I have missed most in recent months is certainly the Tuscan preview event, an important appointment for me not only for tasting wines but also because it is one of the best moments in my social life. It's important for me not only to taste the wines but also because it's one of the best moments in my social life: seeing colleagues, and in many cases friends, and producers - and here too we have a long-standing tradition with some of them - and how can I not feel the absence of moments spent strolling in wonderful places, among which I would undoubtedly put Montepulciano at the top. A pearl of our country. I have been visiting it for a very long time, and I remember with particular nostalgia when, during the work at the tasting table, the lunch break took place in the crypt of the Chiesa del Gesù and the food was prepared by the women of the Contrada di Voltaia. Pure pleasure.
One of the unmissable dishes was ribollita, one of the symbols of Tuscan cuisine. Its roots are very old, so much so that already in the Middle Ages there was a soup that can be considered the direct ancestor of today's ribollita. At that time, the lords would have their meat served on unleavened bread buns, which were then given to the servants who would boil them together with any ingredients they could find: usually herbs and vegetables from the countryside (celery, carrots, cabbage). This soup was then reheated and eaten in the following days. This "recipe" has been refined over the centuries, but not by much, becoming over time the legendary Ribollita. Today, the recipe calls for black cabbage (better the Tuscan kale), which must have "taken the winter ice", even if the cold of the past no longer exists, cannellini beans, carrots and cabbage as well as the typical bread without salt. A truly poor recipe, as was the case with most country people. It tastes even better if reheated the next day with a little chilli pepper.
Among the many estates, I pleasantly remember Tenuta Vallocaia, owned by the Swiss Bindella family. The company was founded in 1983, working hard and in depth has given new life to an estate in the beautiful territory of Argiano, with the director / winemaker Capuano the company has developed to work 40 hectares of vineyards divided into 4 different areas, Vallocaia, Camparone, Santa Maria and Fossolupaio where it is the Sangiovese, called Prugnolo Gentile to be the fundamental soul. The production sees the presence of several labels, Rosso di Montepulciano (Fossolupaio), and three Nobile di Montepulciano (Bindella - I Quadri - and the Riserva), as well as Vin Santo di Montepulciano from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes and Occhio di Pernice from Sangiovese grapes.
A winery that is looking to the future with optimism, and that not even during this terrible last year has stood still, but is investing in the years to come by expanding its reception area, even including catering to make it even more attractive to the vast world of wine lovers and wine tourists. I hope ribollita will be present in their thoughts as it is in mine.
To get to know the soul of Bindella, I recommend their Nobile di Montepulciano I Quadri 2016, a dark ruby red with a bouquet of sour cherries, sweet spices and Mediterranean herbs. In the mouth, the taste has an excellent texture, tasty tannins and great persistence, a Nobile of rare refinement and, what is not bad, with an excellent price in relation to its goodness.