In Tuscany, part 2
Sorry about the radio silence, but I have been on a tight schedule here in Chianti Classico country, and the hotel internet connection wasn't working last night. So now I'm taking a break in an internet cafe in Italy in a small gap in the program, before dinner and tasting tonight.
I didn't realise before that in Italy, because of terrorism laws, you can't use an internet cafe or the hotel internet connection without a passport, identity card or driving licence, which they then photograph and send to the officials. It seems kind of weird and control-freaky.
It has been a jolly press trip so far. I'm with Tom Cannavan, Simon Woods, Jane Parkinson, Sally Easton, Andrew Catchpole and Christine Austin, and it has been good humoured and easy going. We have started at 0815 each morning and not finished until 2330 each night, but it is just for three days. You get to know people reasonably well when you do a trip like this with them. So far no conflicts or falling-outs to speak of.
Being here during the vintage has been great. There's something special about seeing grapes being picked and then made into wine that doesn't lose its magic, even if you have seen it happen before. The grapes look just perfect, but most winemakers aren't expecting 2008 to be a particularly good year because of the poor weather in May and June, followed by extreme heat in July and early August.
What about the wines? They have varied quite a bit. Some have been ethereal, complex and thrilling, while others have been a bit rustic, or forced, or too modern. It is hard to pin down exactly what Chianti Classico is. One thing is clear: nowhere else apart from Tuscany manages to make compelling Sangiovese.
I won't be more specific now because I want to keep my powder dry for the proper write-up. I do have some wonderful photographs and videos, though.