Sister (looking slightly distressed): It’s 12.30… almost 1 actually….
Me: Are you hungry?
Sister: Just something small, ok? I am on a diet.
Me: Yes of course, err… me too. (lying and casually mentioning the proximity of the village of Bolgheri and an intriguing story of very clever wine makers)
Sister (winking): And glass of wine? Just one cheat glass, it’s ok, with the diet I mean? Since we are here… You know the Super Tuscan stuff… must be way cheaper here than anywhere else, no?
Me (serious): Obviously cheaper, and red wine is good for you. Full of antioxidants.
Sister (visibly relieved, activating the Google map navigation): yeah, sounds good, just for an hour, or even less.
Me: absolutely, just a quick pit stop.
We are our way from Pisa Airport to the Livorno sea side where we are going to spend a few days with family, just a few kilometers away from the medieval village of Bolgheri on the picturesque Tuscan coast.
Until 40 years ago, Bolgheri was mainly known to the world for its spectacular cypress trees. Then, a few very clever local wine producers in an attempt to distinguish their Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah blends from the inexpensive “table wine,” definition enforced by Chianti DOC strict rules, created “super Tuscan”. Today, most super Tuscans use the legal appellation of IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), which gives producers more flexibility than Chianti DOC and more prestige than ‘table wine’, in fact, these super Tuscan wines often carry a price tag of 70 Euro per bottle.
We park our car just outside the medieval arch of Bolgheri, we browse the small village looking for the best lunch spot. We opt for a small restaurant called ‘La Merenda’ – snack in English. And of course, we order only a little tasting of the local salami (I am lying), some bruschettas and a glass of Bolgheri.
The wind is slightly blowing, the sun is shining, a perfect end of summer afternoon. We attack our lunch chatting and catching up, sipping the infamous Bolgheri. 3 and half hours later, we are on our way to our original destination. Really.
We spend the rest of the weekend eating huge home cooked meals of pasta and seafood, drinking loads of Bolgheri wine and aperitivi in the beautiful Etruscan village of Populonia, sunbathing and exploring the small villages and hidden beaches you can reach only by crossing rivers, having fantastic Tuscan dinners with a view from the top of the hill of Castagneto Carducci, buying tons of olive oil and wine, dipping Cantucci biscuits in Vin Santo and watching breathtaking sunsets on the sea. A perfect way to end the summer.