Wine Bars in Florence: La Volpi e L’Uva

A short weekend in Florence gave us the opportunity to discover many places I know will stay with us for a long time. The atmosphere, the people, the wines. Oh the Italian wines. Such an incredible choice. Every wine bar we visited revealed yet more wines, more unknown labels, more temptation.

Florence was a trip based on a mixture of art and wine. We visited the highlights the city has to offer, once in a life time experiences of seeing works of art. And then we discovered the hidden city whilst looking for hidden wine bars. We identified the wine bars we wanted to see and the adventure began.

On our long list was La Volpi e L’Uva, a small and cozy wine bar just off the Ponte Vecchio. A small group of friends, sommeliers and oenologists opened this bar 10 years ago, attracted by the incredible offer of Italian wines.

When we arrived the bar was empty. With our broken Italian and some basic English (or should it be with our basic Italian?), we made ourselves comfortable at the bar. The bar doesn’t sit more than 10 people at the time, so place is tight. I however prefer this mixture of small bar and easy to reach wine selection behind me, but I guess it is a matter of taste.

Deciding amongst the bubbly aperitifs, the whites and the reds is quite a challenge as all wines on the menu, except 4, are Italian. Wines are classified by regions, but the staff is there to help. We ordered first a plate of Italian cheese (the easy choice – and you know how much I love cheese!) and then our first tasting started.

First we had a glass of Rosso di Montalcino, 2003. A Tuscan wine, from a small town in the province of Siena, it is quite a fresh and juicy, ruby red wine. With scents of cherries, and earth tones this was a very pleasant wine made out of Brunello grapes. The region of course is better known for the heavier and more expensive Brunello di Montalcino.

However the highlight of the tasting was yet to come. Following the suggestion of the owner, I ordered a glass of Morello, 2003. And all around me just stopped. This is one of the best wines I have ever tried, amazingly deep and powerful, yet so soft on the palette and smooth. Pure heaven. A bottle is now safely stocked home for a special occasion to come.

We moved on to two different wines: a Alessandro di Camporeale, Kaid Sicily 2003, a Shiraz. I usually absolutely love shiraz, this one however was a little too harsh and tannic. Perhaps combined with heartier food it would go perfectly well.

A glass of Rubbia a Colle Olpaio, Vendemmia 2002.

To finish, a pre-last glass of Crognaleto Santoleri, Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo 2001, one of the best years for this wine. This wine is one of Italy’s tastiest reds, full of flavour and warmth.

The exist was made in style with a Brunello di Montalcino 2000, which again blew my mind away (or is that my taste buds?). After the Barolo (which this time around we didn’t get to taste), the Brunello is one of Italy’s most celebrated wines. It is strong, full bodied, high flavoured and long lived. I doubt anyone needs any more reasons to give it a try.

If the above hasn’t convinced you yet, I can only reassure you that wine lover or not, you will adore this place. It is friendly, open, and the wines are just amazing.

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