HOTEL RIF IN SANT'ANGELO IN COLLE: MAY 27, 2015

Montalcino's festival season hasn't started yet and we're still waiting for the release of the program of Jazz&Wine 2015. But with the longer days and warmer weather the first musicians are back in town. Sabrina Turri closed Montalcino's music season last autumn at La Pieve and is reopening it this spring with a concert in the beautiful piazza of Sant'Angelo in Colle. 





HOTEL RIF, SANT'ANGELO IN COLLE, WEDNESDAY MAY 27, 7 pm

The concert is organized by restaurant il Leccio. Come early to enjoy the sunset view from the town walls of Sant'Angelo in Colle (the best in Montalcino) or to have dinner at restaurant il Leccio before.

If you're not going out on an ordinary weekday catch Hotel Rif on Sunday May 24 at Siena's Teatro dei Rozzi for a special performance commemorating Italy's involvement in the first world war together with writer Emilio Franzina. Or come to Cinigiano on lunch time on Saturday May 30, to start the weekend with music and plenty of aperitivi and hopefully even a dance to Hotel Rif's lunch time gig in my Tuscan village.




12 MONTHS OF BRUNELLO: SEPTEMBER IN MONTALCINO - HARVEST TIME (PART ONE)




For a wine loving traveler there is no better month to visit Tuscany than September. Vendemmiathe wine harvest is around the corner and the vineyards look at their best with bunches of grapes showing off their beautiful dark red and blu colors - known as Brunello in the case of Montalcino's famous Sangiovese varietal. 

From early September you'll be able to see the first pickers in action, whilst they harvest Montalcino's rare patches of white wine grapes and French varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Franc. True to its importance, the Sangiovese Grosso grape is the last to be ready. The harvest of the Brunello grape will start during the last days of September in the lower lying vineyards with southern exposition and during the first half of October in Montalcino's higher vineyards and North facing areas.  


sangiovese (Brunello) grapes ready for picking

Fonterenza winery's sangiovese vineyard shortly before the wine harvest

Vinification leftovers

Sangiovese grapes in crates during the wine harvest in Montalcino

White wine grapes in a cellar in Montalcino







GOOD TO KNOW

The approaching wine harvest turns jovial vintners who spend infinite hours in the wine cellar talking to complete strangers about ideal barrel aging time and their nonna's homemade pasta recipes into monosyllabic neurotics, who keep pulling out their iPhone to check the weather forecast yet again. This might not feel like the ideal time for a winery visit, but instead of feeling hurt about the lack of attention jump at the occasion and fire away questions about the vintage in the making. You won't just learn plenty about the perils and pitfalls of wine making, but you'll also provide the vineyard staff a welcome occasion to let off some steam in this tension prone month. 

THE WEATHER IN SEPTEMBER: In the second half of the month nights can be cold high up in Montalcino's town center with its elevation of 567 meter, but days are mostly glorious with the type of heat that's enjoyable and doesn't make one want to spend the day indoors hiding behind closed shutters like in July or August. 

All photos taken by Francesca Padovani during the wine harvest 2014. The talented young winemaker runs Montalcino's organic Fonterenza winery together with her sister Margherita Padovani. Follow Francesca on Instagram for beautiful hands on updates from the natural wine movement in Brunello town. 

Fonterenza's organic Brunello 2009



TWO FOR ONE - ITALIAN FOLK MUSIC & TUSCAN FOOD: SEPTEMBER 13 and 16, 2014

When summer comes to an end one fears the worst in Montalcino. From music festivals and al fresco dining the population moves right into the wine harvest and nights out become suddenly a no go (anybody who has ever spent a day picking grapes will know why). 

Thanks god we are not quite there though. A few white wine grapes may already be off the vine, but since Montalcino is Sangiovese co
untry we still have a couple of weeks before things go berserk and a last couple of events before Brunello town's social life falls temporarily asleep. So better make sure you'll be there!

Hotel Rif, the Italian band around singer songwriter Sabrina Turri will take you on a trip through Italian and Mediterranean folk music in one of the most beautiful venues Montalcino has to offer. Restaurant la Pieve is located on the Tuscan town's south-western slopes, so make sure you leave Montalcino a bit early to take in the fabulous sunset on the road that leads via Tavernelle to La Pieve (if you want to do an extra hour of exploring visit lovely Camigliano beforehand). Then take a seat and enjoy dinner at restaurant la Pieve accompanied by the fabulous sound of Hotel Rif.  

Singer Sabrina Turri with Hotel Rif
Sabrina Turri during a concert of Hotel Rif







HOTEL RIF AT LA PIEVE DI MONTALCINO
Saturday 13th and Tuesday 16th of September 2014

Be sure to make a reservation. Price for concert and dinner 35€. Booking: info@lapievedimontalcino.it; +39 0577 81 66 04. 

La Pieve has beautiful rooms too, if you want to stay overnight. In case they are all booked try one of my favorite holiday rentals in the area: Art and Garden in Monte Antico (20 minutes from La Pieve).

Last but not least, check out Hotel Rif's website and their new record Piedirante to get ready for a last great night out in Montalcino this summer. 


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