( English and Italian versions).

Thanks to the propelling force of the Garda DOC and top-quality wineries, international recognition is in sight. 

© Garda DOC

Text: Philip Sinsheimer
Photos: Philip Sinsheimer, Garda DOC Consortium, Perla del Garda winery
and Cesare Zucca

A few months ago, I had the chance to discover the Garda Lake region and its wines, invited by the consortium promoting the Garda DOC to the public and, in my case, a happy group of 30 wine and travel journalists from around the world.

© Philip Sinsheimer

For three days, we got to experience the beauty of the lake and taste the wines produced around it, often the two at the same time, as with this mesmerizing sailboat ride before sunset with a profusion of sparkling wines to sample. 

© Philip Sinsheimer

Great moments of dolce vita for sure, but we were also offered in-depth presentations to help us understand the history of wine production in the region, its specificities, and the raison d’être of this rather recent Garda DOC, created in 1996. My goal here is to focus on the specificities of this wine region, the DOC itself and a specific winery which we didn’t get to visit, but which wines I fell in love with.
Let’s be honest, getting to understand the world of Italian wines is a challenge for almost everyone non-Italian, and I’m sure for quite a few Italians themselves. The relatively recent country that is Italy, unified just over 170 years ago, counts numerous wine regions, subregions and localities, a diversity of vernacular wine varietals and a multi-tiered classification system.  

vineyard overlooking the huge Cantina di Soave, created in 1898 © Philip Sinsheimer

So, where are we here ? We are in Northern Italy, the Lake being located between Milano and Venice and surrounded by important historical cities: Brescia to the West, Mantova to the South, Vicenza and Padova to the East and Verona in the center of it all. In terms of wine, I must admit, my knowledge of the wines of the region was limited to the white Soave and the red Valpolicella, both with their own DOC dating from 1968 for the first and 1990 for the second. 

Beautiful Scaligero fortress-castle emerging from the lake at the Sirmione peninsula © Philip Sinsheimer

The wine producers we met during the extensive tasting session often had pull out a map to explain where their winery was and which categories they were producing. 

© Philip Sinsheimer

The Garda DOC was new to me, but not the DOC system itself, based on the French AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). I won’t get into the details of the Italian wine classification, but, in short, the 329 Italian wine DOC’s (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) are each defined by a strict geographical territory, but also a certain level of quality and rules regarding permitted grape varietals, maximum harvest yields, and aging requirements to name just a few. 

© Cesare Zucca

All this is good news concerning the quality of Garda wines that you may find at a wine store or a restaurant. But one can still ponder about the DOC itself, its function, and the reason behind its creation.  Why? Well, I was soon to discover that Soave and Valpolicella are only 2 of a total of 10 DOC’s that are within Garda DOC general area! To the West of the lake, one counts Riviera Valtenesi, to the South Lugana, San Martino della Battaglia, Colli Mantovani and Custoza, and to the East Bardolino, Valdadige Terra dei Forti, Monti Lessini, Valpolicella and Soave.  

So, what is the point? Why bother with a “meta” Garda DOC when there are already 10 smaller ones existing within its borders? 
Well, that’s the point, 10 is quite a lot for a limited area. Besides the last two, I dare you to remember more than three of the others in 3 minutes… 
The area was not suffering from a lack of DOC wines, but an excess of DOC’s themselves. Garda DOC is short and easy to remember. Name recognition is a big issue in a world market with more and more wine regions emerging, all the way up to Norway “thanks” to global warming. A widening competition paired with a declining wine consumption among the general population and the youth in particular, make it tough to market oneself and sell, especially when one is small. 

© Cesare Zucca

Producers of San Martino Della Battaglia and Terra dei Forti probably needed a little help to boost revenues. Their respective DOC regulations block them from using it to label wines produced from grapes grown on new parcels of land. The Garda DOC is an opportunity to gain greater recognition in the expanding world of wine regions and the shrinking pool of wine drinkers. 

© Cesare Zucca

Besides the heightened name recognition, the Garda DOC allows and encourages them to produce monovarietal wines with world famous grapes such as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A bottle of Chardonnay Garda DOC is easier to understand by consumers around the world than a Colli Mantovani. But at what cost? 

© Philip Sinsheimer

Isn’t this giving up on local specificities and tradition ? Is it the beginning of the end to have the chance to sip a Lugana DOC wine made with the local Turbiana grape. Thought for a long time to be related to the well-known Trebbiano, it now appears that it has common roots with Verdicchio, and that, thanks to the specificity of the terroir, it became its own variety. To put it bluntly, is the system ready to let go biodiversity in the name of sales and marketing?  

© Philip Sinsheimer

Absolutely not, thank God ! And it came as a relief to see that the DOC plays an instrumental role in the growth of region without eliminating local specificities. The Garda DOC is not there to muzzle the 10 DOCs of the region, but to offer other opportunities. All the producers we met keep their line of local DOC wines and develop a Garda DOC line which can allow them to produce wines that have a chance to be find a place on the world market.

The 3000 hours of sun reflection on the Lake is a key element of the Garda terroir © Philip Sinsheimer

What about the quality of the wines themselves? Now that the bottle and its label can achieve name recognition, is the content of the bottle up for the challenge?  
As we could expect, only quality wines were poured during our various tastings. For lack of space and because exceptional quality, I will focus here on one producer in particular: Perla del Grada. The estate of 34 hectares is located on the South side of the lake with a terrain of morainic hills. The first wine of their production I had to taste was during the blind tasting organized by the Garda DOC consortium.  

© Philip Sinsheimer

It was the 6th sample but won first place, in my eyes at least. Nicknamed “Leonatus”, this beautiful red made exclusively from Merlot grapes showcased perfect balance : ripe fruit, but not jammy at all, probably due to a careful manual harvest, a cooling down of grapes at 10°C and a fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.
The ageing in French oak left discrete notes of wood, there to carry the fruit, not to hide it. The maturity of this 2016 vintage brought an elegant and subdued hue in the glass, it delivered depth and personality to this wine still perfectly vibrant and alive.   On the sailboat tour, we sampled one of their sparkling wines, the Perla del Lago Extra Brut. 

©Philip Sinsheimer

Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, this sparkling proved again the quality of the grapes themselves with beautiful notes of sweet peach and white flowers. The mouth was so refreshing that it hinted the fact it was an extra brut, in other words dryer than a brut. Here too balance was key : freshness and liveliness, yet a depth of flavor due in part to a 2nd fermentation in the bottle of at least 24 months on the lees. One step above yet in terms of depth and complexity is their high-end sparkling Castel Guelfo, “riserva dei fondatori”, with a second fermentation of 72 months at least, in magnum bottles uniquely.

Pratello Winery entrance: impressive stainless steel tanks sitting within the vineyard © P Sinsheimer

I did not taste the 19 different wines produced by Perla del Garda, but everyone I did displayed great technique, attention to details, and a distinctive style, a vision carried by the passion and personal involvement of Giovanna Prandini and her husband. They even created a unique bottle design making their wines stand out immediately from any shelf. 

Giovanna Prandini and husband at the head of Perla del Garda © Perla del Garda

 With wineries such as Perla del Garda and the two other family-owned wineries we visited (Pratello and Ricchi) we have the proof that the Garda DOC serves a purpose even for the best producers of the region. It enables them to create superb mono varietal wines that would not be possible to sell under the smaller local DOC to which they are attached and that they have not abandoned. It would be a mistake to imagine Garda DOC wines as generic and soulless, just meant to be marketable internationally under world renowned grape varietals. 

Rosé wines are a specialty of Pratello Winery where the young generation is full of passion- © Cesare Zucca
Ricchi’s 100% Chardonnay Meridiano cuvée is a beautiful expression of both terroir and know how
-© Cesare Zucca.
Garda DOC

Paradoxically, it is by tasting monovarietal wines from around the world that the notion of terroir is perhaps the most perceptible. A Garda Chardonnay will be very different than a white Burgundy or a chardonnay from Napa Valley. Soil, climate, and vinification methods make all the difference between one another. Here, the lake itself, the largest of Italy in size, is of great influence : sun reflection, humidity level, breeze and soil are all determining factors making a Garda DOC Chardonnay or Merlot unlike any other. Come taste the difference along the shores or as far as the beautiful village of Soave and, if you can’t, ask your favorite wine store or a Garda Lake winery to send you bottles to wherever you live. 

© Garda DOC

Special thanks to
Garda DOC consortium 
Perla del Garda Winery
Cantina Ricchi
Pratello Win

( Versione in italiano)

© Garda DOC


Grazie alla forza del Garda DOC e di cantine di eccellenza, il riconoscimento internazionale è in vista.

Text: Philip Sinsheimer
Photos: Philip Sinsheimer, Garda DOC Consortium, Perla del Garda winery
and Cesare Zucca 

Qualche mese fa ho avuto la possibilità di scoprire la regione del Lago di Garda ei suoi vini, invitato dal Consorzio di promozione del Garda DOC al pubblico e, nel mio caso, da un felice gruppo di 30 giornalisti di vino e viaggi da tutto il mondo.

© Philip Sinsheimer

Per tre giorni, abbiamo potuto sperimentare la bellezza del lago e degustare i vini prodotti intorno ad esso, spesso contemporaneamente, come in un affascinante giro in barca a vela prima del tramonto con decine di spumanti da degustare!

© Philip Sinsheimer

E’ stato un grande momento di dolce vita, accompagnato da presentazioni approfondite per aiutarci a capire la storia della produzione vinicola nella regione, le sue specificità e la ragione d’essere di questo Garda DOC piuttosto recente, creato nel 1996.
Il mio obiettivo qui è concentrarmi sulle specificità di questa regione vinicola, sulla DOC stessa e su aziende vinicole che non abbiamo potuto visitare, ma di cui mi sono innamorato.
Capire il mondo dei vini italiani è una sfida per quasi tutti i non italiani, e sono sicuro per un bel po’ di italiani stessi. Il paese relativamente recente che è l’Italia, unificata poco più di 170 anni fa, conta numerose regioni vinicole, sottoregioni e località, una diversità di vitigni vernacolari e un sistema di classificazione a più livelli. .

vigneto affacciato sull’immensa Cantina di Soave, creata nel 1898 © Philip Sinsheimer

Siamo nel nord Italia, il lago è situato tra Milano e Venezia e circondato da importanti città storiche: Brescia a ovest, Mantova a sud, Vicenza e Padova a est e Verona al centro di tutto. In termini di vino, devo ammettere, la mia conoscenza dei vini della regione si è limitata al bianco Soave e al rosso Valpolicella, entrambi con la propria DOC datata 1968 per il primo e 1990 per il secondo

Bellissimo castello-fortezza scaligero emergente dal lago presso la penisola di Sirmione © Philip Sinsheimer

I produttori di vino che abbiamo incontrato durante l’ampia sessione di degustazione spesso tiravano fuori una mappa per spiegare dove si trovava la loro cantina e quali categorie stavano producendo. .

© Philip Sinsheimer

Il Garda DOC era nuovo per me, ma non il sistema DOC in sé, basato sull’AOC francese (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Non entro nei dettagli della classificazione dei vini italiani, ma, in breve, i 329 vini italiani DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) sono definiti ciascuno da un rigoroso territorio geografico, ma anche da un certo livello di qualità e da regole in materia di permesso vitigni, rese massime del raccolto e requisiti di invecchiamento per citarne solo alcuni

Tutto questo è una buona notizia per quanto riguarda la qualità dei vini del Garda che potete trovare in un’enoteca o in un ristorante. Ma si può ancora riflettere sulla DOC stessa, sulla sua funzione e sul motivo della sua creazione. Come mai? Bene, ho presto scoperto che Soave e Valpolicella sono solo 2 su un totale di 10 DOC che si trovano all’interno dell’area generale Garda DOC! Ad Ovest del lago si contano Riviera Valtenesi, a Sud Lugana, San Martino della Battaglia, Colli Mantovani e Custoza, ed ad Est Bardolino, Valdadige Terra dei Forti, Monti Lessini, Valpolicella e Soave. .

Allora, qual è il punto?
Perché preoccuparsi di un Garda DOC “meta” quando ne esistono già 10 più piccoli all’interno dei suoi confini? Bene, questo è il punto, 10 è abbastanza per un’area limitata. Oltre agli ultimi due, ti sfido a ricordare più di tre degli altri in 3 minuti…
La zona non soffriva di carenza di vini DOC, ma di un eccesso di DOC stessi.
Garda DOC è breve e facile da ricordare. Il riconoscimento del nome è un grosso problema in un mercato mondiale con sempre più regioni vinicole emergenti, fino alla Norvegia “grazie” al riscaldamento globale.
Una concorrenza sempre più ampia, unita a un consumo di vino in calo tra la popolazione generale e tra i giovani in particolare, rende difficile commercializzarsi e vendere, soprattutto quando si è piccoli. . .

© Cesare Zucca

Probabilmente i produttori di San Martino Della Battaglia e Terra dei Forti avevano bisogno di un piccolo aiuto per aumentare i ricavi. I rispettivi regolamenti DOC impediscono loro di utilizzarlo per etichettare i vini prodotti da uve coltivate su nuovi appezzamenti di terreno. Il Garda DOC è un’opportunità per ottenere un maggiore riconoscimento nel mondo in espansione delle regioni vinicole e nel bacino sempre più piccolo di bevitori di vino. .

© Cesare Zucca

Besides the heightened name recognition, the Garda DOC allows and encourages them to produce monovarietal wines with world famous grapes such as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A bottle of Chardonnay Garda DOC is easier to understand by consumers around the world than a Colli Mantovani. But at what cost? 

© Philip Sinsheimer

Non si tratta di rinunciare alle specificità e alle tradizioni locali? È l’inizio della fine per avere la possibilità di sorseggiare un vino Lugana DOC prodotto con l’uva Turbiana locale. Considerato per lungo tempo imparentato con il noto Trebbiano, ora sembra che abbia radici comuni con il Verdicchio e che, grazie alla specificità del terroir, sia diventato un vitigno a sé stante. Per dirla senza mezzi termini, il sistema è pronto a lasciar andare la biodiversità in nome delle vendite e del marketing? 

© Cesare Zucca

Assolutamente no, grazie a Dio! Ed è stato un sollievo vedere che la DOC svolge un ruolo determinante nella crescita del territorio senza eliminare le specificità locali. Il Garda DOC non è lì per imbavagliare le 10 DOC della regione, ma per offrire altre opportunità. Tutti i produttori che abbiamo incontrato mantengono la loro linea di vini DOC locali e sviluppano una linea Garda DOC che può consentire loro di produrre vini che hanno la possibilità di trovare un posto sul mercato mondiale.

Le 3000 ore di riflesso del sole sul Lago sono un elemento chiave del terroir gardesano © Philip Sinsheimer

E la qualità dei vini stessi? Ora che la bottiglia e la sua etichetta possono ottenere il riconoscimento del nome, il contenuto della bottiglia è pronto per la sfida? Come ci si poteva aspettare, durante le nostre varie degustazioni sono stati versati solo vini di qualità. Per mancanza di spazio e per qualità eccezionale, mi concentrerò qui su un produttore in particolare: Perla del Grada. La tenuta di 34 ettari si trova sul versante sud del lago con un terreno di colline moreniche. Il primo vino di loro produzione che ho dovuto assaggiare è stato durante la degustazione alla cieca organizzata dal consorzio Garda DOC.

© Philip Sinsheimer

Era il 6° campione ma ha vinto il primo posto, almeno ai miei occhi. Soprannominato “Leonatus”, questo bel rosso ottenuto esclusivamente da uve Merlot mostrava un perfetto equilibrio: frutta matura, ma per nulla marmellata, probabilmente dovuta ad un’attenta vendemmia manuale, un raffreddamento delle uve a 10°C e una fermentazione in acciaio a temperatura controllata serbatoi d’acciaio. L’affinamento in rovere francese ha lasciato discrete note di legno, lì per portare il frutto, non per nasconderlo. La maturità di questa annata 2016 ha portato un colore elegante e tenue nel bicchiere, ha conferito profondità e personalità a questo vino ancora perfettamente vibrante e vivo. Durante il tour in barca a vela, abbiamo assaggiato uno dei loro spumanti, il Perla del Lago Extra Brut.

©Philip Sinsheimer

Ottenuto da uve Chardonnay al 100%, questo spumante ha dimostrato ancora una volta la qualità delle uve stesse con belle note di pesca dolce e fiori bianchi. La bocca era così rinfrescante da suggerire il fatto che fosse un brut in più, in altre parole più secco di un brut. Anche qui l’equilibrio è stato fondamentale: freschezza e vivacità, ma una profondità gustativa dovuta anche ad una seconda fermentazione in bottiglia di almeno 24 mesi sui lieviti. Un gradino sopra ancora in termini di profondità e complessità è il loro spumante di alta gamma Castel Guelfo, “riserva dei fondatori”, con una seconda fermentazione di almeno 72 mesi, in bottiglie magnum uniche.

Ingresso della Cantina Pratello: imponenti serbatoi in acciaio inox posti all’interno del vigneto © P Sinsheimer

Non ho assaggiato i 19 diversi vini prodotti da Perla del Garda, ma tutti ho mostrato grande tecnica, attenzione ai dettagli e uno stile distintivo, una visione portata dalla passione e dal coinvolgimento personale di Giovanna Prandini e suo marito. Hanno persino creato un design unico per la bottiglia che fa risaltare i loro vini immediatamente da qualsiasi scaffale.

Giovanna Prandini che con suo arito è al timone di Perla del Garda© Perla del Garda

 Con cantine come Perla del Garda e le altre due cantine a conduzione familiare che abbiamo visitato (Pratello e Ricchi) abbiamo la prova che il Garda DOC serve anche ai migliori produttori della regione. Consente loro di creare superbi vini mono varietali che non sarebbe possibile vendere con la DOC locale più piccola a cui sono legati e che non hanno abbandonato. Sarebbe un errore immaginare i vini Garda DOC come generici e senz’anima, pensati solo per essere commercializzabili a livello internazionale con vitigni di fama mondiale.

I vini rosati sono una specialità della Cantina Pratello dove la giovane generazione è piena di passione
© Cesare Zucca
La cuvée 100% Chardonnay Meridiano di Ricchi è una bella espressione di terroir e know how
© Cesare Zucca

Paradossalmente, è proprio degustando vini monovarietali provenienti da tutto il mondo che la nozione di terroir è forse la più percettibile.
Un Garda Chardonnay sarà molto diverso da un bianco Borgogna o da uno chardonnay della Napa Valley. Terreno, clima e metodi di vinificazione fanno la differenza tra loro.

Grada DOC

Qui il lago stesso, il più grande d’Italia per grandezza, ha una grande influenza: il riflesso del sole, il livello di umidità, la brezza e il suolo sono tutti fattori determinanti che rendono uno Chardonnay o Merlot Garda DOC diverso dagli altri. Vieni ad assaporare la differenza lungo le sponde o fino al bellissimo borgo di Soave e, se non puoi, chiedi alla tua enoteca preferita o a una cantina del Lago di Garda di spedirti le bottiglie ovunque tu viva.

© Garda DOC

Un ringraziamento speciale a  
Garda DOC consortium 
Perla del Garda wine
Cantina Ricchi
Pratello Winery

© Garda DOC

Perla del Garda winery 


You want more?
I really enjoyed the Friulano, pure expression of the territory, the Chardonnay, the fruit of an international vine that finds here a suitable habitat, thus becoming one of the most characteristic white wines of the region; Sauvignon, also in this case an international grape variety which, thanks to the frequent daily temperature changes and to the fresh and dry soil, enhances its characteristics.
Finally I lusciously indulged in a glass of Ribolla Gialla, which comes from a native grape known in the 1300s and since then present on the table of the Doge of Venice and which finds its optimal position in the hills.
The winery is an extraordinary example of architecture integrated into the landscape, a symbol of the Gori family’s love for their land. Developed on three levels, it has been designed with respect for tradition and, despite being equipped with all the modern equipment to limit the use of permitted chemical products as much as possible, its construction is inspired by the old principles for the correct vinification and aging of wines The stainless steel containers and on the lower floor, excavated inside the hill, the wooden barrels are optimal and help red wines in their ripening phase, respecting their typicality and taste. Furthermore the use of refrigeration allows to obtain long and not tumultuous fermentations: in this way the wine retains the aromas and the aromas that the grape has obtained during the maturation, making the use of chemical products superfluous.
The tasting area welcomes guests with its contemporary design and the large window overlooking the vineyards and allows natural light to illuminate the environment. A place to live a sensory journey that, through the wines and recipes that best interpret local raw materials, leads to the discovery of the stories of these lands between territory, history, culture, traditions, excellences.Let’s party!
Magnificat ,the newest Gori creation, boasts the Classic Method sparkling wine signed Cantine Goritells while its excellence and expresses at the same time the joy for the result achieved after years of study and work. It starts with the harvest, which takes place between the last days of August and the beginning of September and, as for still wines, is performed manually in boxes of only 20kg, we proceed with the selection made with soft destemming on the sorting table, yes continues with fermentation in steel tanks and with bottling until manual disgorgement, after a stay on yeasts of at least 24 months. Finally, no sugar or “liqueur d’expédition”: only sparkling wine from the same cuvée to obtain a Zero Dosage with minimal residual sugar, a dry, elegant and natural taste, now increasingly appreciated.
Magnificat becomes part of Cantine Gori only in the magnum version, with 1.5 liter champagnotta bottles that make its evolution more stable and protected and enhance its sensory characteristics. The cuvée of Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%), typical blends of the eastern Friuli hills, best expresses a terroir that has always been devoted to the production of wine and to which the Cantine Gori are deeply linked.

Happy 10th anniversary !
Gori s familily celebrated the first certified organic harvest and was able to celebrate it with its first Magnificat bubbles!
Did you know that the ‘Vermouth’…
The vermouth was officially invented in 1786 by Antonio Benedetto Carpano in Turin,
But they say that this aromatic liqueur has a millennial history. Apparently already the Greeks used to add spices, honey and sea water in wine amphorae, however the legend according to which Hippocrates would be the inventor of Hippocratic wines, precisely wines flavored with honey, herbs and spices, is just a myth, but above all the wines were flavored to mask their defects, given that they were crude and highly perishable products.
Gori, au contraire, decided to the best grapes and best wines to make its great vermouth, simply called THE VERMUT, a product that emphasizes the Friuly territory by selecting the best qualities of Friulian wine, adding creativity, ingenuity and innovation.Aromas of herbs, fruit and spices give strength to our vermouth enhancing typically artisan properties.
Thanks to the richness and quality of the native vines Gori created 3 different varieties:
From the lands of Ramandolo, with its fine and lovable taste and its ancient vineyards on the Friuli hills, blended with spices and aromas to give birth to the Red Vermouth.
IL VERMUT CANNABIS Vermouth Bianco e Aromi
A revolutionary yet simple recipe, born from the union of different cultures, but at the same time complementary, with antipodal flavors and which together create an exceptional drink Did I get stoned? not really …Did I get satisfied? A lot!
and finally…
IL VERMUT BIANCO Ribolla Gialla and Friulano
A blend of  Ribolla Gialla and Friulano, embellished it with spices and aromatic herbs, making it unique, classic, but at the same time innovative (and my favorite!) Ready ?
Let ‘s start a great ‘Gori-speed’ tasty journey!


Travel, food & lifestyle.
Born in Milan, Cesare lives in New York, Milan and the rest of the world, traveling up and down in the US, Italy and Europe. Cesare photographs, tells about cities, cultures, lifestyles and discovers both traditional and innovative gastronomic delights.He meets and interviews top chefs from all over the world, “stealing” their recipes and telling you everything here, in a perfect ‘non-touristy-tourist’ style.





SISTER MOON…not only a great Sting’s song…

Sting and his wife Trudie  are honorary citizens of Figline and Incisa Valdarno (Florence) where they own the Il Palagio estate; the announcement was made official by mayor Giulia Mugnai during a festive party at the Palagio  Farm Store.Sting entertained friends and funs with a great unplugged version of his hit Every Breath You Take” and  Roxanne  Wich is also the name of one of his wines





Villa Il  Palagio perches elegantly at the top of a long steep drive, overlooking the distant Tuscan hills and the undulating countryside which has always had profound agricultural significance. The Villa Il Palagio perches elegantly at the top of a long steep drive, overlooking the distant Tuscan hills and the undulating countryside which has always had profound agricultural significance. Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 13.19.50The nearby medieval town of Figline Valdarno was known as the “barn of Florence” for its abundant corn supplies. Grains, wine, oil, sugar beets, peaches, apricots and cherries have long been grown here. Not only…Palagio has been the summer retreat for
Sting and Trudie’s family and friends for more than 15 years.
Palagio produces an excellent red wine.
A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvigon Biodynamic wine. Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 10.26.06Named after Sting’s song “Sister Moon”
this was the first IGT Toscano wine produced at Il Palagio.It was 1979 when the single Message in a Bottle came out and today, with hindsight, one could say after 30 years that the title was in reality a prevision. The modern fairy tale of a rich and famous singer who retires to private life in a country villa “under a Tuscan sun” can be almost perfectly applied to the Tuscan experience of Sting and his wife Trudie Styler. It came true at the Il Palagio estate in Figline Valdarno, Florence’s historic breadbasket with its rich earth and slew of producers.

Rose, Beppe Rosato is a blend of Sangiovese and other red grapes of the Tuscany tradition. It is a pink peony colour, fresh perfume with notes of pineapple and peach. Fresh smell at palate, sapid with good persistence.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 13.20.01 Il Palagio also collects a wide variety of flavoured honeys, each with their own distinct taste and floral notes. Chestnut is dark and robust. Acacia is mild and delicate. Thousand Flowers has a rich caramel and buttery taste. Erica is runny and intense, perfect for spooning. Forest is complex and aromatic. All of our honeys are bursting with the health-giving properties for which honey has historically been renowned, notably vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.The olive trees which grace Il Palagio’s landscape date back for many hundreds of years and have been sensitively restored to full productivity. This is largely thanks to the care and dedication of Estate Manager Paolo Rossi, who insists that the orchards are not irrigated, a system which is labour-intensive but which greatly improves quality. e.

more info

Easter Colomba and Italian wines classes by Diana

Colomba is a traditional Italian Easter yeast bread. It is shaped like a dove (colomba in Italian), the symbol of peace and resurrection.Soft and fragrant, colomba is a generous cake with butter and eggs, filled with raisins and candied orange peel.20160229_145836-1024x576The colomba could mean not only a peace message but also solidarity. Like in the case of the artisanal Colomba Arcobaleno (Rainbow Dove)  created by the Milanese sommelier Diana Zerilli  who supports gay rights and gay issues in Italy, such as marriage and child adoption. Her colomba is made with Sicilian Avola almonds, Calabria cedar, kneaded with Vernaccia Mormoraia, a traditional white wine from San Gimignano,d zerilli

Beside food, Diana passion  and expertise is (of course) wine. Twice a week, she gives classes and wine tasting at Hotel Rubens in Milan.

Each class will introduce an Italian region, with its local wines and food.

Here the current calendar
March 10th Wines from Valle d’Aosta
March 17th Wines from Veneto and Diana’s Chiantigno drink tasting
March 22th Wines fron Piemonte.
Classes will continue in April, after Easter Holidays.



Each class costs 35 Euros.
If you are interested, you can contact Diana at