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Salcheto – the only energy self sufficient winery in Italy

December 8, 2011 by Christine No Comments »

This years harvest was an important one for Salcheto. The 2011 vintage was harvested, is being and will be vinified without any use of fossil fuels! In fact Salcheto managed to cut itself off from the national grid this year and is now wholly self sufficient for its energy needs.

Salcheto have achieved this in part by reducing their need for electricity through innovative energy saving tenchniques such as solar collectors, vertical gardens and the capture and circulation of cool night air to provide air conditioning in the summer. The gases produced during the fermentation process can be used to stir the must.

35% of the energy  gained from biomass is obtained from the vines themselves with sustainable hedge, bush and tree management providing the rest of the biomass energy.

Geothermic energy is used through 400 meters of probes buried throughout the vineyards.

Solar energy provides the remaining needs.

Salcheto have created their new innovative winery with accessiblilty for visitors and would welcome anybody who wishes to take a stroll along the paths through the terrain or browse through the visitor centre.

Salcheto have also made the notable achievement of being able to provide the first European Carbon Footprint for a bottle of wine, thanks to a scientific committee established around the company’s projects and coordinated by Prof. Domenico Andreis of Siena University. The result of this research which constitutes a first benchmark for the industry is 2.02 kg CO2 equivalent per 750 ml bottle of wine, first index of such a kind to be certified worldwide inside an inventory based on ISO 14064 standard.

Well done Salcheto.



The beauty of Brancaia

April 8, 2011 by Inez No Comments »

Brancaia is one of the leading wineries in Tuscany, Brancaia only produces four wines,  however the four wines which they do produce are quite simply outstanding.  There are many contributing factors which make a wine so special the first being the location of the winery.  Brancaia being  in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone is an area famous for it’s excellent “Terroir”.  Brancaia’s vinyards all have hillside location, looking south, southwest or southeast which means the grapes recieve maximum sunlight and  ripen to their full potential, consequently improving  the flavour of the wine.  The vines are then planted quite close together which resutls in the vines having to compete with each other for the nutrients in the soil.  The moderate amount of stress which they suffer from also results in  the grapes ripening earlier and the yield being reduced.  A reduced yield gives a far better quality of wine. As the saying goes “A struggling vine, makes good wine” .

The bunches of grapes on the vine are then thinned out mid June,  this means that the remaining grapes recieve all the of the vines attention and the concentration levels are increased which again improves the flavour and quality of the wine. 
Naturally each of the different wines have different vinification methods but all of the equipment used at the estate is modern and stat of the art.  The barrels used for maturing are French oak with medium toasting and used only for 3 years as they believe after this period the lovely oak flavours are imparted less and less.

As you can see there are many reasons for Brancaia’s success,  from their viticultural methods in the vinyard, to the vinification methods in the winery.  Their success comes from scrupulous attention to detail in all areas and we are proud to be importing their wines.

Inez O’Shea
“A Taste of Italy”


Brancaia Tre                                           Brancaia Il Blu



Brancaia Illatraia                              Brancaia Chianti Classico



Montepulicano d’Abbruzzo with Beef and Guinness Stew

February 4, 2011 by Inez No Comments »

The Marquess' Beef & Guinness StewDespite the fact that it’s still 5 degrees outside, summer is not far away. Already the days are getting slightly longer, and the sun is just that little bit warmer, in other words, there’s a ligh at the end of the tunnel.  Having not experienced many COLD winters, being from Brisbane,which is considered to be a “sub tropical” environment, I wondered to myself in November how on earth I would get through the long, cold, argious winter. However suprisingly I found that winter isn’t  all THAT bad! One things for sure sailing, and swimming goes out the window however there are many aspects that I DO enjoy about winter. The main aspect being the change in diet, to be honest our diet in Brisbane never really changes, simply because it’s not cold enough and winter doesn’t stretch long enough for things to change too dramatically, the temperature on everage  in winter is about 20 degrees during the day and perhaps in the dead of the night the temperature may drop below 8 degrees.  So as you can imagine there is no real need to eat wholesome warming meals, and drink rich full bodied reds.  So although we would crack out the soups and perhaps eat inside rather then on the verandah, nothing much changes for us during winter. 
However as I’ve discovered this is not the case here, rack’s of lamb, stew’s, casserol’s, slow cooked meat, polenta, pudding,  and warm soufle’s are all wonderful winter dishes which I’ve come to know and love.  It really makes such a nice change to sit down to a good bowl of hot soup, or a hearty casserol with a little bread and butter to mop up the sauce.  Naturally with these types of dishes requires a good full bodied red. Which is why I chose to pair this dish with a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  The
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Coste delle Plai by Jarno Trulli comes fromt the Abruzzi region, and this wine is usually medium to full bodied.  It is a wine renowned for being jam packed with flavour.  Because Abruzzi is in East/central Italy the climate is lovely and warm, which consequently increases the sugar and alcohol levels in the grape. The Montepulciano grape ripens quite late so it’s unsuitable  for the North of Italy,   however it thrives in the long warm summers of Central Italy.                                                                                                                                                                      
Montepulciano d’Abbruzo has a lovely deep rich purple colour, with soft tannins.  The Coste dell Plai is medium bodied and has a strong aromas of prunes, black cherries and red fruits  On the palate it has flavours of red berries, plum,  and notes of mature fruit.  It is rich and balanced with a long finish. The strong fruit flavours went very well with the rich flavours of the beef, onions, and juices of the guinness and it is a wine that you can continue to enjoy well after your meal.

Beef and Guinness Stew 

  • 2 large onions , diced
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 1 garlic clove , crushed
  • olive oil                                                                                                                                                             
  • 1kg braising steak , cut into chunks
  • 6 tbsp plain flour , well seasoned                                                                                                 
  • 500ml Guinness
  • beef stock fresh, cube or concentrate made up to 250ml                                                                                   
  • parsley chopped, to serve
  •  Method:

    1. Cook the onions, thyme and garlic with a little olive oil in a large casserole until the onion is softened and translucent. Dust the braising steak in the seasoned flour and brown in a hot pan with a little oil.
    When the beef has a good, even colour, add it to the pan with the onions and pour in the Guinness. Top up with the stock to just cover the beef.
    Cover and simmer over a very low heat or transfer to a 150C/fan 130C/gas 3 oven for 2-3 hours until the beef is meltingly tender (check after 2 hours). Season to taste and add some chopped parsley. Serves this with colcannon.


    Inez O’Shea
    “A Taste of Italy”


    The “Green” Evoloution of Salchetto

    November 9, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

    Salcheto Winery, Montepulciano, TuscanySalchetto is based in the Montepulciano region very close to Siena. The estate stretches over 113 acres 81 of which are vinyards. There are many remarkable aspects about Salcheto but probaby the most outstanding is the simple fact that Salcheto have decided to go “green”, this for a winery is not easily achieved!!

    Up until a few years ago Salchetto was like any other winery, they had power supplied by the local power company, they plugged in their computers, they they used air conditioning in summer and heating in winter,  basically they were normal !! However Salchetto has decided to change their ways and become completely “environmentally friendly” As you can imagine this is a huge investment and one which has taken a huge amount of planning, time and money.

    Salchetto will use all natural methods of heating, lighting, and airconditioning. There will be no electric lights in the different working areas, but only solar light panels, since they plan to work only during daylight hours. An efficient insulation system, together with many other innovations for example, cooling of the roof by recycled water evaporation will reduce energy consumption. Heating will be provided by using the excess foilage from the vineyards and tree cultivation. Cooling will come from the geothermal exchange of temperature with the soil, a natural and simple system that will bring their tanks during fermentation from 25 to 14 degrees with a small, 1 kilowatt pump.  Of course they will need some electricity to run things. As a result they will use 20 kilowatts of solar energy.

    Salcheto Wine Tasting

     Along with the complete reconstruction of their winery they are still managing to produce their award winning wines. Rosato di Toscana, Chianti Colli Senesi, Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, and the famous “Salco” and “Salco Evolouzione”.  For those of you who aren’t aware of the story behind the “Salco” phenomenon, basically the workers in the winery  kept noticing that grapes from a particular section of the vinyard were arriving in near perfect condition, which is very unusual. After closely studying the grape they discovered that the grape is a native clone of the  Prugnolo Gentile grape.  It’s cluster was well spread and, therefore, better able than others to resist light over-ripening and reach “full maturation.” 1.5 hectars were then replanted and in total just 9000 bottles have been released 5000 were were aged in oak for 18 months and then left to age in the celler for 4 years this is called “Salco” and 4000 bottles were left to age for a further 6 years “Salco Evolouzione” and thus an extrmely rare and particular wine was born.

    Salchetto have achieved a huge feat and are to be commended. We look forward to visiting the winery and seeing this amazing achievment for ourselves. Well done!!

    Inez O’Shea
    “A taste of Italy”


    “Inside the Italian Kitchen” Book Launch

    November 1, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

    Well  we are pleased to report that the recipe book “Inside the Italian kitchen” co- written by  Marco Roccasalvo and Anne Kennedy has well and truly been “launched”. The evening was a thorough success, and in true Marco style he managed to prepare a lovely array of Italian food. No Italian event is without a wheel of fresh parmesan, and naturally this was provided along with proscuito, salami, mozzarella and fresh seafood and vegetable dishes.    

    The gourmet foods were washed down with the selection of wines provided by “A taste of Italy”, the wine list selected for the evening, included a sparkling Falanghina by Cantina del Taburno, Greco by Cantina del Taburno and a super Tuscan by Brancaia.

    Now all that is required is to give the recipe’s “a go”  I have no doubt I will continue to enjoy his lovely food. The book will be available for sale from “A Taste of Italy”

    Inez O’Shea
    “A taste of Italy”



    October 24, 2010 by Inez No Comments »

    It seems as though when it rains it pours, last week we had a wonderful book launch and this week we have Roberto Bosticcio coming to visit us from Italy. Roberto works for Salcheto and supplies us with “Chianti Colli Senesi”,  Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile, and the famous “Evolouzione”. 

    Salchetto is a winery based in Montepulciano, Tuscany. They are renowned for their excellent red wines. The winery at the moment is undergoing huge renovations, so that the entire winery will be “green” in other words extremely environmentally friendly.  We are very pleased to be associated with Salchetto and we welcome Roberto!!

    Inez O’Shea
    “A taste of Italy”


    Wine scores

    July 14, 2008 by Inez No Comments »

    Here are the latest scores for some of our Wines

    Robert Parker for la Brancaia

    • Brancaia Il Blu 2005 92
    • Brancaia Ilatraia 2005 91
    • Brancaia Tre 2005 88

    Robert Parker/Winespectator for Ciacci Piccolomini

    • Ciacci Piccolomini Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso 2003 RP 93/WS 91
    • Ciacci Piccolomini Brunello di Montalcino 2003 RP 91 / WS 90
    • Ciacci Piccolomini Ateo , 2005 WS 89
    • Ciacci Piccolomini Fabius 2005, WS 89
    • Ciacci Piccolomini Poggio della Fonte WS 87

    Robert Parker on Tenuta San Guido

    • Sassicaia 2005 93