Montalcino, Italy, is a little medieval town with a big, dramatic wine. Here, in southern Tuscany, both the Sangiovese grape and the wine made from it are called Brunello. Although it is less well-known than Chianti, its neighbor to the north, Brunello di Montalcino is the leader in quality. It is, in fact, one of Italy’s finest red wines.
While wine has been produced from Sangiovese for hundreds of years, it was just over a century ago that Ferruccio Biondi Santi created Brunello solely from that grape (at the time, Chianti was made from a blend of grapes) and aged it in oak. Brunello became nobility in Italy, but it was only occasionally exported until about 35 years ago, when Italy’s wine laws went into effect and Brunello di Montalcino became one of the first to get official recognition.
Intense, complex and powerful, Brunello di Montalcino must be aged four years (five years for those labeled “Riserva”) before being released. It goes on to live at least 15 to 30 years, and in the best vintages, far longer. A hearty wine, Brunello is the perfect companion to hearty foods-stews, roasts and game-and to forthright cheeses such as Parmesan, Pecorino and the blue-veined Gorgonzola.
The very good 1999 vintage is now in wine shops, along with the equally good 1998 and a few of the exceptional 1997s. The consumer looking for an introduction to Brunello would do well to begin with Castello Banfi, a winery that blends modernity with tradition; its wine reflects the best of both worlds. Generally, you can expect a Banfi Brunello to be deeply flavored, rich and elegant. Castello di Argiano Brunello usually displays vibrant taste and strong character, while Val di Suga Brunello tends to be big and concentrated. Biondi Santi still makes its wine traditionally-sturdy, stern and commanding; but the current generation, Jacopo Biondi Santi, produces Villa Poggio Salvi Brunello with a lighter hand. Other fine Brunello producers include Fattoria dei Barbi and Tenute Silvio Nardi.
Brunello di Montalcino is priced from about $45 to $100. Biondi Santi costs much more. Are they worth it? One taste will tell you. They are.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.