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"The Taste of Tradition" - Typical products, events and celebrations

The journey between taste and tradition in Montalbano is a tempting invitation to learn about the places which offer hospitality and refreshment, the businesses which pass on ancient know-how, a delicious way to learn about the territory. Starting with the many agritour businesses in the area which offer a global picture of Montalbano, each in a different key. In Montalbano, more than anywhere else in Italy, the term ?agriturismo? meets the various needs of the visitors. First of all, it must be noted that most of these structures are farmhouses in the typical linear style of Tuscan architecture; inside stone and wood are the ?historical? protagonists. Here the menus propose what is produced, frequently courses are organised for schools; teaching farms where hospitality becomes friendship based on sharing the farm work. An experience that begins at the inception and not with the finished product. The grape harvest thus becomes a common rite, frequently organised as a yearly harvest festival. Living the Montalbano experience also means appreciating organic farming, discovering the possibility of menus studied for those who suffer from gluten intolerance (coeliac disease), benefiting from the many structures free of architectural barriers. There is also a much appreciated form of agritourism which, in addition to the farm?s products, also guarantees high technological standards (satellite TV, swimming pools, internet connections), for those who do not want to give up the most modern comforts, even in a setting which has made the natural lifestyle its banner. In any case, the visitor to Montalbano will have a chance to learn about the environment and the territory through suggested excursions, at times with a guide, in close contact with a natural setting that has never been contaminated. The series of restaurants which offer traditional dishes is varied and ?covers? the entire territory, both important cities and lesser known towns. The camp grounds also offer high quality services. Direct contact with the wine cellars and oil mills ? the banner of Montalbano - is essential for tasting, choosing and seeing the products being made. Not to be forgotten are the handcraft laboratories, the shops of the Master pastry chefs, and the many events organised throughout the year which are a distillation of the area?s hospitable spirit, open mind and transmission of values and flavours, which are the very heart of Tuscany.


Among the wines produced in Montalbano, first mention goes to the Chianti Montalbano Docg, sub-zone of the Chianti territory. The high quality of this wine has been known since the XIII century, when it was sent, each year, to the tables of the Bishops of Pistoia, as a tribute. The extension of the wine territory in the Chianti Montalbano production area covers about 500 hectares, for a total of 180 producers and a yearly production of 25,000 hectolitres. The grapes used to make Chianti Montalbano are those typical of Chianti: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Tuscan Trebbiano and/or Malvasia del Chianti. It should be preferably served with meat and game, local cheeses and legumes. It has a bright ruby red colour, turning to garnet with ageing; it has an intense fragrance, a harmonic flavour, dry, fruity and slightly tannic. Minimum proof: 11.5. The production area includes Capraia e Limite, Carmignano, Lamporecchio, Larciano, Monsummano Terme, Quarrata, Serravalle Pistoiese and Vinci. In addition to the Chianti Montalbano Docg, the Montalbano area also proposes the Bianco della Valdinievole Doc, the Vin Santo della Valdinievole, the Bianco Empolese Doc, as well as numerous IGT (typical geographic origin) wines, among which we particularly note the ?Cerreto? wines. The production of Carmignano boasts the Carmignano Docg, the Vin Ruspo Doc, the Barco Reale Doc, the Vin Santo di Carmignano Doc, all particularly known and enjoyed abroad, as well.


In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de? Medici issued a decree and successive proclamation establishing precise standards for the harvest, and delimiting the production area of the wine of Carmignano. Practically speaking, it was a disposition which corresponds to the modern day Docg dispositions. The modern Docg for Carmignano arrived in 1990, fifteen years after the Doc recognition. The long history of Carmignano wine production, and in general, of the Montalbano wines, has its roots in the Etruscan (vessels for wine were found in the tombs of the Comeana area) and Roman epochs (Caesar assigned his veterans land cultivated with vineyards between the Arno and the Ombrone between 50 and 60 BC). The confirmation of this production is found in documents from the Carolingian epoch. But is was Francesco Redi who, in the XVII century, consecrated the Carmignano wine in verse. In his dithyrambic poem ?Bacco in Toscana?, Redi wrote: ?Se giara io prendo in mano di brillante Carmignano, cos? grato in sen mi piove che d?ambrosia e nettar non invidio Giove?1. Unlike Chianti, Carmignano also includes Cabernet. Tradition indicates that the first Cabernet vineyards were transplanted on the Montalbano hills by the will of Caterina de? Medici, queen of France, in the XVI century. Currently, the land planted with vineyards in the Carmignano production area extends over 100 hectares, in the hilly belt between 200 and 400 metres above sea level. The annual production is about 4,000 hectolitres. The grapes that go into the production of this wine are Sangiovese, Canaiolo nero, Tuscan Trebbiano and Malvasia del Chianti, Cabernet. The colour is ruby, tending towards garnet with ageing; it has an ethereal fragrance, with a violet scent; minimum proof: 12.5. Ageing: at least 12 months in oak or chestnut barrels (for the Reserve wines, 2 years). It is served preferably with roasts, game and poultry.

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