The tempranillo grape is a lesser-known grape of all the grapes found in Spain. It is also an important grape for Spanish winemakers and creates an integral part of some of the most popular blends. But why am I talking about a Spanish grape festival in Italy?
Let’s find out more…
The end of summer marks the very beginning of the grape harvest. An amazing time of year. Countless festivals dedicated to wine are held throughout Tuscany. I have two particular “bucket list” items on my list while in Italy. One is to help bring in the olive harvest to make olive oil and the other is to assist in some capacity for a wine harvest.
Paul contacted me while reading our book on a flight back to the States. He told me in his email that he was on the plane and wanted us to know how much he was enjoying our book. He and his wife also have a home in Volterra. They are friends with the owners of a nearby vineyard where perhaps we can check off one of my bucket list items. He also invited Gary and me to bring in the harvest on their small olive grove in Volterra. Unfortunately, last summer was hot and dry and the olives weren’t worth harvesting. We are hoping to assist them this year. But Paul made the introduction to Beconcini wines.
The story continues…
Leonardo Beconcini and his wife Eva have an amazing winery in the hills of San Miniato. They grow several types of Tuscan grapes but one in particular – the Tempranillo – a Spanish grape! After purchasing the property, they began “getting to know” their land. It was a DNA analysis that proved some of the unknown vines were the Tempranillo.
The original pre-phylloxera grape in Tuscany they guess came to Italy around the eighteenth century. Those passing through the ancient Francigena pilgrimage route must have left or dropped them as the original route passed through the vineyard. Their website has a great video in Italian but with English subtitles that better tell their story.
The Tempranillo di Toscana Festival 2021
The festival was held the first weekend in September and because of Paul’s introduction, we were asked to be guests of Eva and Leo. How could we refuse? Drinking wine in a vineyard amongst these beautiful grapes. Did I mention there was dinner too?
The first thing Gary and I thought of was our friends JoAn and Jim who live also in Lucca, and thankfully only a five-minute walk away. They also love wine like we do – especially Jim. So we asked if they would like to join us for dinner in a vineyard.
San Miniato is about an hour’s drive south of Lucca. We didn’t want Jim to have to drive back after the event, so we all decided to stay overnight in this cute little town. Look for a post shortly on San Miniato.
We decided to attend on the first day of the event, Friday. Arriving in town earlier in the day we explored this town for a few hours. Then it was time to head to Beconcini Winery for the Tempranillo di Toscana Wine Festa 2021.
Arriving at the Vineyard
The drive through the vineyard to the parking lot was spectacular. The countryside – breathtaking. As we walked to the entrance, the lights through the rows of vines were strung and lit, along with tables. It was a dream come true – one of those items I could now check off my list.
We checked in, were given wine glasses, and the evening began.
We tasted some of their amazing wine – each getting better as the tasing continued. Then we tried the VignaLeNicchie – Tempranillo Toscana IGT. Our expressions after clinking glasses in a toast said it all. We all were in heaven. The wine was amazing. The Tuscan beef appetizer assortment, huge Fiorentina Steaks on the BBQ grill with baked potatoes, along with dessert – all enjoyed with good friends among the incredible scenery was beyond words. The live music added to the festivities and the evening couldn’t have been more perfect. Even under pandemic restrictions, Eva and Leo, along with their family and crew, created an amazing event and an evening I will never forget. We got to celebrate the beginning of the 2021 grape harvest of Tempranillo di Toscana.
The Tempranillo Festival 2022
JoAn, Jim, Gary and I just visited them recently for another tasting and to purchase more of the Tempranillo. They invited us again to the festival this year and informed us we could bring some friends. We will keep you posted as the time gets closer but if you are interested in dinner in a vineyard and tasting some amazing wines, let us know. The four of us plan to attend again this year.