For us, the only country that matters when it comes to wine is Italy. It’s where SYLTBAR was born, where our producers’ family has been living and making wine for over a century, and where we have had our most memorable wine experiences during our own travels. It is our favorite place. We were even married in Italy. Today, however, we live in Miami because we love the year round sunshine. We also love how diverse the people are here. So many different cultures live here in Miami.
Italy, a land steeped in rich history, art, and culture, is a paradise for wine enthusiasts. With its diverse landscapes, each region offers a unique terroir that influences the character and flavors of its wines. Whether you're a seasoned oenophile or just starting your journey into the world of wine, Italy has something to offer for everyone. Let's embark on a tour of the top places in Italy that every wine lover should explore.
Tuscany: The Heart of Italian Wine
Tuscany holds a special place in our hearts, because it’s where we — Regina and Claus — were married 15 years ago. Our wedding was at the beautiful Castelnuovo Berardenga in the South of Tuscany, very close to Siena. It has everything you could want — nature, art, history, and of course, wine and food.
We went back to visit Tuscany during the summer of 2022, our first time back in 12 years! This was exciting for us, because we were able to visit new wineries and taste new wines, which only helps us to develop our brand.
Here are a couple wineries we suggest while visiting Tuscany:
- Podere Terreno, known for its 100% Sangiovese Chianti Classico. We had such a wonderful time thanks to the warm hospitality from the winemaker Giovanni.
- Colle Bereto Winery is an organic winery in the heart of the Chianti Classico that not only has great wine, but also an amazing history and is home to some beautiful artwork.
Sangiovese is the star grape here, producing iconic wines like Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Pairings for a glass of Chianti would be a Florentine steak or a hearty tomato-based pasta dish. Brunello di Montalcino pairs beautifully with aged Pecorino cheese or wild boar ragù. We loved doing a Chianti wine tasting at Colle Bereto Winery, and highly recommend you do the same while in the area.
We also visited our friend and photographer from our wedding, who owns a Chinese restaurant in Florence named Fulin, which means “blessing arrives” in English. We never imagined we could get good Chinese food in Florence, but we did! So if you feel like you need a break from Italian food, Fulin is a wonderful alternative for a luxury Chinese food experience.
Veneto: Sparkling Wonders and More
Venice and its surrounding Veneto region in Italy are known for producing a variety of wines from different grape varieties, and one of the key grapes associated with this area is the Glera grape. That should sound familiar to you, since Mr is made from 100% Glera grape. That’s right, the Veneto region is known for producing Prosecco.
Italian law states that for a wine to legally be named a Prosecco, it must be made with at least 85% Glera grape, and the remaining 15% can be a blend. But our producers know purity is best, and that is why all of SYLTBAR wines are made from one grape and one grape alone.
Veneto is also known for producing the grapes, Corvina and Rondinella, for Valpolicella wines. While Prosecco is all about the crisp, refreshing and beautiful effervescence, Amarone della Valpolicella is a more powerful red wine with flavors of dried fruits and spice. Prosecco best complements seafood and light appetizers, while Amarone pairs harmoniously with hearty stews, aged cheeses, or dark chocolate.
When you are staying in Venice, we recommend the San Clemente Palace Kempinski for the ultimate hotel experience, as well as the Ristorante Grand Canal for dining and Cantina Do Spade for a local tavern. Our other personal favorite restaurant is the L'Olandese Volante.
Our producer San Simone Winery is only a 40-minute train ride away from Venice, in Friuli, part of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. It’s easy to explore both of these areas during the same trip because they are so close together. If you are a Prosecco lover, these two regions are an absolute must!
Exploring Friuli Venezia Giulia: A Hidden Gem in Northeast Italy
Nestled in the northeastern corner of Italy, the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. We feel so lucky to have our second family, San Simone, here to visit. Although Friuli Venezia Giulia does produce Prosecco, the heartland of Prosecco production is primarily in the Veneto region. That being said, Friuli Venezia Giulia does play a role in the production of Prosecco, particularly in its northern part, where our winery is located.
Our favorite place to stay in Venice is the San Clemente Palace Kempinski. This luxury 5-star hotel is so worth the money. It is only accessible by the hotel’s own boat, water taxi or a private transfer service.
Guests of the hotel or those who have restaurant reservations can take a 10-minute boat ride to the hotel from nearby Piazza San Marco, which is Venice’s main public square, known in English as “St. Mark’s Square.” We suggest checking out the Buddha Bar Pool for lunch, a restaurant and bar situated outside by the pool surrounded by exotic palm trees. Attire is casual and the cuisine is modern Asian fusion. For dinner, head to Acquerello Restaurant for award-winning Venetian Italian food. There is an a la carte menu as well as two tasting menus. Attire is smart casual.
SYLTBAR Wine Club members have an open invite to San Simone whenever they’d like, which is an amazing benefit of being a part of the club. One of the most significant things about the winery is the San Simone church located right on the vineyard. If you’ve noticed, Mr and Mrs bottles have the name ‘II Concerto.’ This is because this Prosecco was invented in 1943 at a time when our winery hosted concerts at the winery church, and afterward, the audience wanted to have something light to drink. That was how this Premium Prosecco was born.
The region's winemaking tradition dates back centuries, and Friuli Venezia Giulia is celebrated for producing exceptional wines. Its terroir, influenced by the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, creates a unique environment for cultivating a variety of grape varieties. One of its most notable grape varieties is Friulano, a white wine with flavors of pear, almond and citrus that pairs well with seafood and lighter dishes.
If your ears perked up at the word Friulano, that’s because SYLTBAR offers this style of wine. Our Silk Friulano is made from 100% Friulano grape. We like to call it the ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ of Italy.
We hope this has inspired you to start planning your trip to Italy. Embarking on an Italian wine journey offers a sensory feast that combines the artistry of winemaking with the allure of regional cuisines. Whether you're savoring a glass of Chianti in Tuscany or toasting with Prosecco in Veneto, Italy's vineyards are a treasure trove waiting to be explored.
Remember, each region not only shares its wines but also its history, traditions, and passion for the art of winemaking. Salute!