The great summer weather continues, which is why it feels amazing to live in Tuscany. And it’s why the wine region makes superb wines. The vines are still a little behind schedule. They suffered during the flowering due to wet and cold weather, so there was bad berry set. But it could all turn out for the better. They may produce fewer grapes, which could mean better concentration and ripeness. Wait and see.
I was driving back from Florence last night at about midnight, having come from a dinner with Marvin Shanken, who was over for a week's vacation with his wife and daughter. We were also joined by Lamberto Frescobaldi and his wife and son. It was about 66 degrees Fahrenheit outside, fresh and cool. I had the sunroof open in my car. The midnight air was lightly humid. It refreshed my skin. The stars were shining bright and beautiful, and the moon was large and luminous. I felt like I could drive without the lights on. (Don’t worry, I didn’t!)
It was one of those nights that make you feel like you're dreaming. It was as if my car was driving on its own. Maybe I was dreaming?
But the fact that the temperature fluctuations from day to night are so large is what makes Tuscany a very special wine-producing area. Lately, at midday, the temperature reaches about 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and by 3 or 4 p.m., it’s a hot 90 or so. But then the temperature starts dropping, and by midnight or the early morning, it’s in the low 70s or high 60s. This is why Tuscan reds can be so rich in fruit and relatively high in alcohol, yet maintain fresh acidity and a subtle complexity in their aromatic qualities.
As I drove, I remembered a tasting about 20 years ago in Tuscany that I attended with Paul Pontallier, the technical director of Château Margaux. I think it was a comparative tasting of Bordeaux reds and super Tuscans. Anyway, I don’t remember the results, but I do remember that Paul turned to me during a dinner after the tasting and said, “Tuscany is so beautiful that it has to make great wines.”
Yes, Tuscany is beautiful, and Tuscany does make great wines. There’s happiness here. There’s beauty in so many bottles of wine here.
I turned on the song “Lucky Man” by The Verve and continued on my journey home.
John Osgood — New York, NY — June 26, 2008 1:50pm ET
Dr Patrick Frenchick — Germany — June 26, 2008 2:10pm ET
Bob Golbahar — Los Angeles — June 26, 2008 3:56pm ET
Oscar A Fernandez — Diamond Bar, CA — June 26, 2008 5:00pm ET
Tyler Mcafee — Houston, TX — June 26, 2008 9:34pm ET
James Peterson — San Antonio, Texas — June 26, 2008 10:59pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — June 27, 2008 1:29pm ET
Todd Dewitt — Cincinnati, OH — July 6, 2008 11:17am ET
John Nelson — Dallas, Texas — July 23, 2008 11:36pm ET
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