The Biserno Experience

20140224-212010.jpgA warm breeze rustles the jasmine that climbs the terracotta wall, filling the air with it’s sweet perfume.  The fragrance matches the visual beauty surrounding us.  In the distance beyond vine covered hills, is the blue of the Tyrrhenian.  Vines meet sea…an exquisite sight!  On the veranda of Tenuta di Biserno, we are seated around a table adorned with plump olives, savory crackers and a bowl of pistachios, all to be enjoyed with our first tasting of Mount Nelson, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.  Our host Vittorio Mazzetti announces the rules.  We could not proceed until we finish the wine and the food.  With this statement, I know Vittorio and I were kindred spirits.

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We met up with Vittorio for a brief and animated history of Bolgheri and it’s lesser known neighbor, Bibbona located in the northern extreme of the Upper Maremma.   Biserno is “a project of passion” that brought the two brothers Lodovico and Piero Antinori together for the first time for a new adventure after discovering a terroir offering great potential.  Our host, Vittorio Mazzetti grew up with the Antinori family and since 1997, has worked for Marchesi Antinori.  It is clear that the External Relations Director for Tenuta di Biserno feels as passionately about the project as it’s creators.

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Admitting he was not a numbers guy, there would be no boring percentages or telling of what we “should” taste such as “a queer gecko on a fig leaf.”  We instantly loved Vittorio with his priceless descriptions.  “In a wine, we don’t want Simon and Garfunkel, we want the choir!”  When he added that wine should be enjoyed paired with food and that it is all about the experience, we knew we were in for a special day.  Surrounded by pots of lemon trees and overflowing hydrangeas, we enjoyed each other’s company, while sipping the refreshing wine.  Life was good.

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Moving inside to where we would continue the tasting with lunch, we were distracted taking in the detail of the beautiful estate.  The vast space and classic Tuscan arched brick ceilings were magnificent.  Our faces lit up like children at Christmas when we spied the table that awaited us.  Each place was elegantly set with multiple, shiny wine glasses.

20140224-170956.jpgFirst served were the antipasti.  Caprese, pickled zucchini, bruschetta and proscuitto were to be savored with another Sauvignon Blanc called Ram’s Hill.  Following Vittorio’s directions, we happily cleaned our plates.

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Next poured was Biserno’s well-known Insoglio, easily recognized by the picture of the wild boar on the label.  The most beautiful plates of Pesto Linguine were placed before us.  The aroma of basil and pine nuts, Heavenly!  Baskets of sliced, crusty Tuscan bread enhanced each end of the table.  In Italy, it is not tradition to dip your bread in olive oil, however, I can’t resist when the local, fruity and very delicious olive oil is available.  I swear, I could survive on wine, bread and olive oil alone.

Then it was the Coronato, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot…here we go!  We sampled the Il Pino, which depicts the two brothers, Piero and Lodovico, as the two boars on the label.

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Lastly presented was the Biserno which was 100% Merlot.  Accompanied with this delicious wine was the final dish of succulent, grilled beef and the popular Italian green beans stewed with tomato and garlic.

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Just as we swore we couldn’t possibly eat another thing, bowls of Tiramisu arrived.  Eyes grew moist at the sight of the dolce that was completely covered with shaved chocolate.

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Throughout the meal we were filled with the rich history of this beautiful collaboration.  For Vittorio, it was as much a part of his past as it was theirs.   The afternoon was truly magical, our stomachs, hearts and souls were full.  Tenuto Biserno lived up to its motto that to truly enjoy wine it should be about the experience.

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Thank you Vittorio for an amazing day at Biserno, for sharing your love and knowledge and expanding my love and appreciation of Italian wines.  You didn’t bore us with numbers which can cause one to lose the fundamental pleasure of enjoying wine.  That day you provided the experience allowing us to enjoy the happiness of drinking wine.

Salute!

Friendship and Travel

Friendship has been foremost on my mind this week.  I’ve reunited with childhood friends, one of them my best.  Ours began in the seventh grade and continued through middle school, high school and college.  Along with all the normal teenage stuff, we shared dreams and goals…and we had big ones!  My first trip abroad was to meet up with her after she finished a semester in London.  I wouldn’t say this trip created my love for travel, it was there much earlier, but it definitely gave me the desire for more.  Little did I know that it would be 17 years until I finally made it to Italy and as they say, the rest is history.

London 1987

London 1987

Since then I’ve had a serious travel bug with a desire to return to Italy as often as possible.  In a week, I will be arriving in Florence accompanied by 3 girlfriends.  We plan to soak up as much of the Italian lifestyle as possible, delighting in the culture, style, beauty and feasting on pasta, Prosecco and pastries.  The best caffe in the world will keep us energized throughout.  During our visit, we will join up with friends we’ve made on recent trips and probably meet more.

Tuscany 2009

Tuscany 2009

There is something about travel that bonds you with people on a different level.  Perhaps it’s knowing your time is short allowing the connection to happen faster.  I believe that travel brings out your true character and frees you to be open to adventure.  The shared experience with friends creates a lifetime bond.  I can’t wait to spend the next week forging new memories with old and new friends.

Paris 2012

Paris 2012

Getting together with my childhood best friend has rekindled the same closeness we shared as teenagers.  We both feel that after the 20 plus years that we were apart, we picked up right where we left off.  Only now we’re older and wiser, not to mention we have families.  The next chapter of our friendship is exciting and like the earlier years, I’m certain it will involve travel.

Tuscany 2013

Tuscany 2013

All of this reflection has me feeling grateful for the wonderful friends in my life; past, present and future.  It is the experiences and memories we share that connect us and make our lives richer.