The Trusted Experts from Willow Park Wines & Spirits (WPWS) have been travelling to Tuscany for over a decade. What began as a television show to share with the world the wonders of Italian wine and food became an annual pilgrimage to worship at the tables with enthusiastic winemakers, cooks and life loving Italians from all backgrounds. The people of Italy embrace whole heartedly the concept of the shared table. They love opening up their homes and hearts to travelers who want to learn about their history, their cuisine and their ancient tradition of wine making.
Last year the team from WPWS spent five weeks in Italy, sharing our love of the Tuscan people, wine and food with over a hundred friends, family, chefs and customers. After a decade of travelling to Tuscany we have created many special memories and life time experiences all due to our gracious hosts. So may warm welcomes form families of wine that freely give their time to welcome us into their homes and at their tables, teaching us the history of their ancient family or the exciting details of how they have just recently come to the vineyards.
The trip usually starts in the ancient village of San Gusme where our hostess Maria Sorgani has resided for many years as the Jackson Family Estates designer and host at their Italian property Tenuta di Arceno. Maria helps us get our guests settled in the privately owned apartments found in the walls of this 11th Century village. We start with a welcome meal at La Porta del Chianti, a destination restaurant for local food lovers that show cases the food of Sicily. The village is surrounded by the vineyards of Arceno in every direction and this vast estate is the single largest intact Chianti Classico Vineyard in Tuscany.
From this central base we can easily travel to Tuscany’s most scenic wine towns, Montepulciano, Montalcino and San Gimignano. We participate in cooking classes, enjoy formal tastings and fantastic meals with local ingredients complementing perfectly the lively wines. This is Sangiovese country and when your visit is over, you will understand its’ every nuance. The more modern varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot and Syrah will also be tasted and we will learn of the maverick “Super Tuscan” producers who have left an indelible imprint on the new wine standards of Italy.
Cooking classes are essential and each year we try new schools and return to old favorites. The most intriguing stop is at Sting’s Tuscan Estate Il Palagio where all the produce is organically grown, right down to the wild pigs for the prosciutto. A favourite stop is at Fonte de Medici with Michelin Starred Chef Matia Cincello where in his modern kitchen we are well entertained with a constant stream of jokes as he helps us unravel the intricacies of top level cooking. The casual Pici making classes at Carpineto’s home winery in Montepulciano has been among the most popular classes. And without a doubt the chefs at Castello di Gabbiano have helped us create many special dishes upon our return home based on their excellent instruction. The barbecue class at Castello di Fonterutoli is excellent as is the causal pizza making nights at the home of our very special friend Louie Tolaini.
Winery tours are an integral part of the Tuscan experience. This is not about the percentages of each grape variety. Almost 90% of the wines you taste will be made with sangiovese. This is about the intricate differences found in the vineyards in the soil and the age of the vines, in the aspect of the vineyards. All the small differences that make a wine unique to the very localized place it comes from.
For more information on exciting travel destinations on Trusted Expert hosted trips coming soon please click here.