At Cignella we are lucky to be close to some of the most famous wineries in the world. Everyone who stays must explore one of the wine regions and our good friend Esther Juergens, at Vino Vistas, offers excellent wine tours and tastings to suit all. Her passion and knowledge of wine is amazing so we thought we would ask for her top tips on wine and Tuscany, two things she knows a lot about!
1. What brought you from your native Germany to the wonderful world of Italian wines?
I took a wine trip through Tuscany and was absolutely enchanted by the landscape and vineyard views. You might say, as with any good wine, the magic starts in the vineyard. Funnily enough, I did not like my first Brunello, but that has since changed!
2. Do you have a favourite Italian wine – or are there too many to choose between!
The Brunello grape (Sangiovese) , if treated well is capable of rendering amazing wines! However I also love Italian whites; Falanghina is a great food partner and there is always Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to Champagne.
3. If I had only one afternoon in Tuscany – where should I go to experience the finest vineyards?
Tuscany has around 30 wine regions but close to Cignella, I would have to say the Val D’Orcia wine region for its landscapes, and Montalcino for both landscape and wine. After all Montalcino is part of the Val D’Orcia which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. When you aren’t working, how do you spend your leisure time?
I love to travel and explore other wine regions and I also enjoy the cultural treasures on my doorstep. As a former salsa dance teacher I love to dance and love the summer open air dance events, especially those by the sea. I love the fact that, from Montalcino, I can get to the beach in only an hour – who could ask for more?
5. Which wines blend perfectly with some of your favourite local dishes?
My favourite pairing is the famous Fiorentina Steak with Brunello and I must mention our sweet dessert wine, Moscadello, which is lovely with (cured) Pecorino cheese.
6. What are your two favourite places in Tuscany and why?
That is a tough question! Gazing over this magical landscape with its changing colours is amazing. Also I love Siena cathedral, it is absolutely stunning BUT there is nothing more magical than watching a full winter moon rising over the magical abbey of San Galgano.
7. What do you like best about living in Tuscany – apart from the wine of course!
I appreciate the “Dolce far Niente” or “Sweet doing nothing”. Too many people rush around and we should allow time for a little chat on the street or a quick ‘caffè’. On the subject of coffee, not only am I spoilt with having to drink one of the best wines in the world (Brunello) but also Espresso and Cappuccino are better in Italy than anywhere else!
Vino Vistas is growing and adapting as tourism is changing, and wine tourism is an important sector. I strive to combine tradition and new ways and to offer authentic experiences which are fun and informative. Excellent service is vital and I love sharing my passion, international experience and knowledge at all levels, from absolute beginners to the ‘wine geek’.
Thanks so much to Esther, if you want to book a Vino Vista tour then visit her website or ask our onsite manager at Cignella when you arrive. So don’t delay, check out our availability and visit the fabulous wine region for yourself.
See you soon