Wine Blog

Wine Tasting in a Historical Setting at Wine & Siena

January usually begins with a trip to Siena to enjoy the event Wine & Siena for a couple of days. It is an opportunity to meet with wine writing friends and also to soak up a piece of Medieval history while sipping on interesting wine.

Sometimes you need to pinch yourself to realize that you are actually walking around with a wine glass and your camera in rooms where you can feel the winds of history blowing around you. It is not every day that I can enjoy two of my great passions together, namely history and wine.

In the Palazzo Comunale (town hall), Wine & Siena takes place right in front of the Allegory of Good and Bad Government as well as in front of Maestà by Simone Martini in the Sala del Mappamondo. These are rooms where you can almost hear the walls whispering of great personalities in Italian history that have passed through here.

Rocca Salimbeni, the headquarters of the Monte dei Paschi, is another historical building in Siena where wine producers are showcasing their wines during Wine & Siena. The building was built in the XIV century by the Salimbeni family and it was only bought by the bank Monte dei Paschi later on in 1866. They then restored it and made it their headquarters.

The third location of the Wine & Siena event is the 5-star Grand Hotel Continental right in the centre of Siena.

See the video below with snippets from Wine & Siena

See my articles 3 Top Wineries at Wine & Siena, Part 1 – Trentino meets Tuscany and 4 Top Wineries at Wine & Siena, Part 2 – New Tastings about previous editions of Wine & Siena.

Three Wineries at Wine & Siena

Going over to talk more about wine now, I have decided to focus on three different wine producers that I tasted during the Wine & Siena weekend. Two wines from the south and one from Tuscany. As you can see my passion for the southern Italian regions continues…LOL

A Tuscan winery going from clarity to clarity

Poggio al Chiuso is a smaller winery in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa. They are very close to the border of the Chianti Classico area but they produce Chianti DOCG wines. They also produce some very interesting Toscana IGT wines.

I got to know the brothers Marco and Matteo Corti via my oenologist friend Dario Parenti. He then reminded me to go and taste their wines at the event Vino é about three years ago. I really liked their monovarietal Merlot wine straight away which is perhaps not that common for me as I am not that a big fan of Merlot wines.

Other than their Merlot wineVoltaccia 49 – they also produce Voltaccia Chianti DOCG, two IGT wines, a white wine, and a very nice 100% Sangiovese rosé wine.

Let’s get back to the Voltaccia 49 that they decided to produce to celebrate their 60 years as a farm and winery in 2009. Voltaccia is the name of the small district just outside Tavarnelle where their great grandparents built the winery in 1949. The Merlot used to produce this wine grows in the Le Cappelle vineyard in this area.


It is a mineral, almost a bit salty, Merlot that is full-bodied and smooth with notes of red fruit and a bit of balsamic undertone. A Merlot where you feel the Tuscan territory. A wine you definitely need to try even if they only produce a smaller number of bottles per year.

I managed to bring a couple of bottles to our wine and food writers’ dinner at Borgo Grondaie and they were very appreciated.

Did you know that Voltaccia 49 was awarded the Wine Hunter Award by Merano Wine Festival in November last year?

Poggio al Chiuso is definitely a winery that step by step is finding its own spot on the Italian wine map. Let’s hope also on the international wine map soon.

My First Sip of Pallagrello Bianco at Wine & Siena

Now, I might live in Tuscany and travel frequently all over Italy for different wine events but still, it was the first time that I had the chance to taste a Pallagrello Bianco wine. I have tasted Pallagrello Nero many times but never the white version.

The wine in question was Lancella Pallagrello Bianco Terre del Volturno IGT from Cantine di Lisandro.

For an ex-historian like me, having had my focus on 19th-century nationalist history, Volturno, of course, is important as the place where Giuseppe Garibaldi and his voluntary troops defeated the Bourbons in their attempt to stop Garibaldi and reconquer Naples and the Kindom of Two Sicilies.

Furthermore, it is even more extraordinary to be able to combine Risorgimento history with a niche wine such as the Pallagrello Bianco one.


What better place to taste this wine than in the Sala del Mappamondo in Siena? Well, perhaps it would have been even better to taste it in Caserta in Campania paired with some yummy local food such as seafood or mozzarella di bufala.

Pallagrello is a native grape to Campania, more specifically the area around Caserta. Wine made with the Pallagrello nero grape used to be the favourite wine of King Ferdinand IV of the House of Bourbon.

The Pallagrello giallo (white) grape has often been mixed up with Coda di Volpe grape. See my article 4 Native Grape Varieties of Campania at #WinesOfItaly #LiveStream.

Lancella Pallagrello Bianco from Cantine di Lisandro (sorry I do not remember the vintage, perhaps 2017) is a fresh and fruity wine. A very mineral wine with a smoky hint or a touch of volcanic influence even though I do not remember well if the volcanic soil reaches so far. That might be me dreaming a bit after having tasted too many wines. LOL

A very enjoyable wine.

A Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Sicily at Wine & Siena

We are continuing to a region where Giuseppe Garibaldi started his battles in favour of the unification of Italy in 1860, namely Sicily. It is a region with a lot of interesting wine areas as most of you probably already know.

At Wine & Siena, I stumbled upon Andrea and Claudia from Valle delle Ferle winery in Caltagirone in Sicily. They caught my eye because they were very dynamic and simpatici, and I immediately got curious to taste their wines. Also, I admit because I have a weakness for a good Frappato.

Generally, I like Nero d’Avola a bit less but more because I often find it difficult to find a really good one. (That is, I am a huge fan of Nero d’Avola when done right.) Their Nero d’Avola convinced me though.

Valle delle Ferle is a small winery with about 10 ha of vineyards that were planted in the early 1970s. They are located within the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG area.

Andrea told me that what is special about them is the altitude of their vineyards. Their vineyard lots are located about 400 m.a.s.l. while generally the vineyards within the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG denomination are on 50-150 meters altitude. The soil is mostly clay in their vineyards.

I tasted their Frappato and Nero d’Avola DOC Vittoria wines and liked them both for their freshness and beautiful fruity notes. Their Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG is very smooth and with clean fruity notes; a delight to taste.


Tenuta Valle delle Ferle was also awarded for their Frappato Rosso 2016 last year at Merano Wine Festival.

At the Wine & Siena event…

…the combination of history, geography, and wine tasting makes it into a complete and fun event. Here, you get to travel back in time as well as travel all over Italy by discovering and sipping on wine.

And, to wander around tasting together with friends.

Katarina Andersson

Seen often at wine events streaming live, Katarina is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. She is the founder of WinesOfItaly LiveStream. She has been a guest at The Cellar, hosted by Richard Glover, at Wine Two Five, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Davis and Valerie Caruso, and at the Twitter chat #WiningHourChat founded by Li Valentine.

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