New Year’s resolutions with a difference …

Christmas has been and gone, you had a wonderful time, enjoyed La Collina del Sole - Rebecca Jensenbeing with your family,  ate lots of turkey, sausages and … plum pudding, drank a bit and are generally feeling rather full. We have created a list of New Year’s resolutions at La Collina del Sole  that you can look forward to and that we hope you enjoy Savour the most AMAZING food when you are in your Lucca Villa Rental either brought in for you to enjoy or cooked for you so you don’t lift a finger, like home-made Tagliatelle with Funghi Porcini sauce or wild boar on polenta. Read the visitors book while surfing the Villa rentals in Tuscany andLa Collina del Sole view make sure the villa of your choice has wonderful reviews and a “feel” that makes people want to return. Sample the culinary delights available near your Holiday villas in Lucca like truffle sausages, lemon scented olive oil, garlic cloves in oil with peppers. Take advantage of the once in a lifetime experiences available at the Villas for rent in Tuscany  like swallow “happy hour”, picking the grapes at Vendemmia time, or learning to make your own pizza from scratch. Make sure there is PLENTY TO DO like sunbathing, swimming, walking and hiking, riding and funghi hunting. Plunge into a cool salt water infinity pool to relax and make the most of all the facilities when you rent a villa in Tuscany Book into at least three of the best restaurants in the region, sampleRestaurant their antipasti    and every pudding on the menu Chill out with the locals in fabulous cafés drinking a freshly squeezed orange juice, and a pipping hot frothy cappuccino at breakfast and watch the world go by. Check out the local beauty spots, and historic villages Make the most of the time you are there by checking out all up and coming events on the weekly Blog and regular FACEBOOK updates Chill a lovely bottle of the wine, put your feet up and ENJOY the sunset ! Sunset at La Collina del Sole

Viva la Vedemmia !

If you wondered where the Lucca villa rental organic house wine came from, while you sipped it at La Collina del Sole , the most beautiful among Villas for rent in Tuscany… well it started in the vineyards surrounding this luxury villa which is the best among holiday villas in Lucca. During the autumn the Vendemmia occurs in the hilly region which surrounds villa rentals in Tuscany with beautifully rich soil, temperate winters with occasional snow, the odd shower and fantastic sunshine all summer, in fact the perfect weather when you rent a villa in Tuscany At La Collina del Sole the “pick of the bunch” when you rent a Villa in Tuscany we hand pick all the grapes that go into our wine,  we do not use large grape picking tractors, as the carefully tended terraced vineyard would be damaged, not to say ruined.

During the Vendemmia each bunch of healthy clean grapes or grappolo d’uva is handpicked and placed into buckets. To produce these bunches there needs to be the perfect combination of sunshine to render the grapes sweet, and rain to render them juicy, but not too much rain; otherwise the harvest is ruined. Hail rips the skin of the grapes and renders them useless; other unusual occurrences like a birds nest would also render that particular bunch hard to use !

The Vendemia is carried out when there has been enough rain to swell the grapes, and before too much water is ingested by the vine. The grapes are then taken in their buckets to a pressing machine. I am sure you will be pleased that the pressing of the grapes is no longer done by foot !

The wine press leaves the skins relatively undamaged while extracting all the juice, the skin is left to mature with the juice in the large vats. The combination bubbles away fermenting for around 10 days, when you put your ear to the large barrel you can hear the gentle sound of “boiling”. White grapes will produce white wine and dark grapes will produce red wine, this is due to the pigmentation in the grape skin. A highlight of the vendemmia is that after all the hard work of picking the grapes and juicing them  a celebration meal is enjoyed !

After aproximately 10 days the skins will have formed a crust and the “juice” is ready, then very importantly ONLY when the moon is waning is the juice transferred into 5 gallon glass demijohns or “svinare” . The skin crust is then used to make Grappa or homemade hooch, but La Collina del Sole does not do this, we use it as fertilizer.

The wine is left to settle for around a year, sediment within the wine demijohn settles, and so the wine needs to be transferred into a clean demijohn around 4 times over the few months it takes to mature. This transferring of the wine is always done when the moon is waning, as you can see it does not do to be in a hurry with wine making !  One interesting fact is that when the moon is waxing the fermenting wine augments and gently re-boils, so is best left alone to simmer !

When the wine is ready and the moon is waning, it is transferred into wine bottles, very gently and carefully, the bottles are then labelled and HEY PRESTO! You have your delicious La Collina del Sole wine !

Italians have had centuries to improve their techniques, and we have learnt not to interfere with the wisdom of our friends who know so much about the processes of wine making.  So next time you drink a lovely mouthful of organic house wine, think of all the love and care that has gone into it, SALUTE !

As august ends ... the Wine Festivals Begin !

As August draws to a close, just around the corner is the MOST beautiful month as you rent a Villa in Tuscany, it is September when alongside La Collina del Sole your favourite Lucca Villa rental who produces their own wine, dozens of other vineyards both independent and with Villas for rent in Tuscany and Italy for that matter blossom into wine making.  So while you are in a Holiday villas in Lucca  why not try your hand out at grape picking, if you pick the right  Villa rentals in Tuscany you should be able to join in the fun, The vendemia dates change from year to year so do check in with us at Lucca Villa Rentals when it is happening and we will gladly book La Collina del Sole at the right time for you, now after a hard days picking grapes we have the perfect restaurants to suggest : Pavoratti loved this place so who are we to argue… Within a 50 minute drive South from La Collina del Sole  an oasis among the various Holiday villas in Lucca   you will find the Locanda di Sesto in Vis Ludovico Sesto Moriano. Telephone 0583 578181 & 0583 406 303. It was established in 1300 on the outskirts of Sesto Moriano, AMAZING food, it consistently has rave reviews.. Closed Saturday, and most of August for their summer holiday. With lovely high ceilinged rooms. Everything we have eaten here has been exceptional, definitely worth the drive but PLEASE make sure you book in advance.

For Unusual Italian food head further towards Lucca and you will find the restaurant named Butterfly on Via del Brennero on 12, 55100  their Telephone is 0583 307573. They are located in the outskirts of Lucca, on the road to Marlia. As you drive towards the town of Lucca it is on your right hand side after the roundabout which has turnings to Lucca and Altopacio & Marlia. It is named after Puccini’s famous opera and has a Michelin star. Butterfly specializes in taking well known dishes and cooking them with a difference like Prawns in cocoa butter, risotto cooked with vodka, smoked salmon, lime and green apple, it even has a sweet that is made with Foie Gras we have included the link so you can tantalize your taste buds.

Firmly based on traditional Tuscan cuisine is Trattoria 4 Leoni in Via dei Vellutini 1/R, Piazza della Passera, 50125  in Florence aka Firenze, their telephone number is 0552 18562 It is over 1.5 hours’ drive from La Collina del Sole and is loved by Al Pacino several sports and media celebrities as well as all the locals and many tourists too !  We normally would not send you to a restaurant 1.30 hours’ drive away, however this place is worth it especially if you are visiting Florence.  It is very central on the other side of the Arno from the Piazza Signoria, walking the streets in this area offers a good sense of Florence a few years ago. Although Trattoria 4 Leoni is frequented by a long list of celebrities, like Al Pacino,  it remains surprisingly unaffected, reasonably priced and just plain nice.   The interior has high ceilings good decor and the delicious food and several Florentine Specialities.

Festas also take on a more autumnal feel: on the 25 & 26 August there is the Festa della Bistecca in Pieve Fosciana, on the 25th of August in San Pietro in Campo near Barga,  there is the Sagra del Maiale  a food based feast based on all things piggy, On the 1st of September Castelnuovo di Garfagnana has both a Cheese Fair “ Fiera del Fromaggio “ .  As autumn gently makes its way the Autumn colours come out in force and the landscape is a sea of gold, rust and red!