On the last episode of the Total Tuscany Podcast, we visited with Claudia Callegari and introduced you to her wine club. She provides a unique service and offers quarterly selections of Tuscan wine from boutique wineries and selections you may need help finding in the United States.
Since that recording, we have traveled to Tuscany and met personally with Claudia. Her passion for Tuscan wine is more evident in person than on the podcast. She took us to two different vineyards, each with a different personality, mission, and history.
This podcast aims to inspire everyone to visit Tuscany and experience the wine, food, history, culture, and landscapes. But we also realize that it's not always possible.
But what if Tuscany would come to you? It just so happened that when we returned from Tuscany, Claudia was right behind us. It just so happened she was coming to the United States to do a wine tasting for a non-profit organization in our city. The event was successful, and many people who had never been to Italy got to experience Tuscan wine in a way they never have before, with a true expert who knows more about the vintages than any local distributor.
With Claudia being so close, bringing her into the studio for another podcast was only natural. We usually have different guests in back-to-back episodes, but her wine-tasting got us thinking. Instead of you going to Tuscany, what if Tuscany came to you?
We've had our out wine-tasting and dinner, which was very successful. Is there an opportunity for people like Claudia to come to the United States and sell wine directly? We think so. In fact, the experience may be the nudge you need to start traveling more. When you can put a face with a name, it takes a lot of the worry and unknown of traveling out of the equation and supports wineries that may never have the reach to such a broad audience.
On this episode of the Total Tuscany Podcast, we have the pleasure of introducing a true connoisseur of Tuscan wines, Claudia Callegari, who will take us on a journey through the sun-soaked hillside vineyards and coastal plains that have made Tuscany world-renowned for its winemaking prowess.
With her extensive experience and intimate knowledge of this acclaimed wine region, Claudia has an uncanny ability to unearth the hidden gems that are virtually impossible to find outside of Tuscany. As the custodian of a carefully curated portfolio of top-tier niche wines and new appellations, she offers a superior expression of the local terroir and outstanding cellaring potential. With tireless dedication, Claudia ensures that her selection is always up to date so you, our esteemed listeners, can always access the best and latest Tuscan wines.
But the Callegari experience goes beyond a mere collection of exceptional wines. Claudia and her sister Silvia offer a gateway to the secrets held within each unique terroir of Tuscany. With their profound knowledge of the region, they can guide you through unforgettable wine and culinary experiences. From bespoke winery tours and exclusive wine tastings to private cooking classes and more, the Callegari sisters create fully customized private experiences that immerse you in the passion and essence of Italy.
There's a deep-rooted story behind Callegari—a story fueled by the passion for the quintessential taste of Italy. Raised in Tuscany, Claudia and Silvia Callegari have been intimately involved in the premium wine and culinary scene for as long as they can remember. Together, they form the perfect team, complementing each other's strengths and expertise. With a combined 25 years of experience, Claudia and Silvia are thrilled to share their profound knowledge of exclusive Tuscan wines, accompanied by their dedication, joy, and, of course, a unique lady's touch.
So, please sit back, relax, and prepare to be transported to the enchanting world of Tuscan wines as we embark on this extraordinary conversation with Claudia Callegari. Cheers!
The two of the most popular things to do when you go to Tuscany are drink wine and take a cooking class. Well, since we can't travel right now, what if there was a way to put a sommelier and a Tuscan chef right in your kitchen?
COVID-19 has reinforced our need for connection to people. Linda Sorgiovanni from Italy Customized wants to come into your home, virtually. Linda collaborates with her friend Claudio Bisanzio on a unique cooking class and wine tasting with you and your family and friends. The 2-hour experience includes wine, a food menu with step by step coaching during the cooking process, a recording of your cooking class, a recipe booklet, and memories that will inspire you to travel to Tuscany to experience the real thing.
This virtual experience's price is very reasonable—$ 50 per person up to four people and $40 per person for larger groups. We recommend that groups are not larger than eight people.
Yes, there is a pretty big time difference between Florence and the United States. But don't fret; Linda and Claudio are night owls and will work directly with you to schedule a time that works for you and your guests. You can email Linda directly to set up your class.
It was a bright sunny morning mid-December in Florence. My wife and I waited outside our hotel in Florence, about 400 yards from the Duomo. We were meeting our friend Anna Madaffari who operates Cool Tours.
Our plan for the morning was simple. We would walk to Caffe Gilli, have a cappuccino and a pastry, catch up with Anna whom we hadn't seen in a year. In the large crowds walking to and from the most famous landmark in Florence, emerged the spunky Italian with a smile a mile wide dressed in her traditional black. She was bundled up more than we were as the temperatures were cooler for her, but mild for us considering we were coming from winter in the Midwest.
"Buongiorno!" Anna lets out, followed by a peck on each cheek; she repeated the greeting for my wife.
"I am parked around the corner, let's get in the van," Anna said.
"But what about our morning plans?" I said.
"Oh, we will stop and get a coffee, but it's too nice of a day not to go for a drive and see something new," she said.
Anna introduced us to Nicola, who helps manage the estate and the three large but friendly dogs whom Nicola tries desperately to keep from escaping. While Anna made a couple of phone calls, Nicola took the time to give us a tour of the organic farm. The small cellar that houses what we are about to find out are some amazingly great tasting wines. Next, it was off to the tasting room for lunch and food. On the table were red, green, white, and black label wines. Each with its own unique taste that paired perfectly with our appetizers, pasta, and chocolate lava cake for dessert. My wife and I were seduced by the atmosphere, the smells, the tastes and purchased six bottles, two red labels, two white labels, and two black labeled bottles. They arrived at our home in Nebraska about three weeks later.
After about two and a half hours at I Balzini we climbed back into the van to head back to Florence. We made one more quick stop at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial. This is the final resting place for 4,398 Americans who helped liberate Italy in World War 2. It is one of two American cemeteries in Italy and a must-visit for any American.
We left the cemetery in the late afternoon as the sun was setting into the horizon. Anna maneuvered the streets of Florence and was able to find a parking spot on in the Oltrarno side of the Arno river. We walked to a tiny but upscale wine bar where we sat next to a large window overlooking the Arno. Anna ordered water, my wife and I ordered wine. It was like a dream, and I didn't want the day to end. So I counted down, 3, 2, 1, and started interviewing Anna with my portable recorder. The result, the 67th episode of the Total Tuscany Podcast which you can listen to by hitting the play button at the top of this page.
We talked about our perfect day together, her growing business, and what you can expect when you hire Anna to be your guide a day or even longer.
Anna is simply the best! If you are going to Tuscany, do yourself a favor and hire her. Your experience with this sweet, spunky Italian will most likely turn into the most memorable part of your trip. You will see Tuscany through her experienced eye and know the place better.
Without a doubt, the most common question we get asked about from our family, friends, and clients is about wine. Everyone wants to know two things; how good is it, and can you recommend a vineyard tour?
The answers we always give are simple; the wine in Tuscany is fantastic! Also, we can recommend hundreds of vineyard tours.
You want to know makes the wine taste even better? The presentation and the person who is leading the tasting experience.
We first met Anthony Freveletti in October of 2018 as we were leading one of our Total Tuscany Experiences. Our first stop with our private guide, Anna Madafferi from Cool Tours was at this beautiful vineyard outside of Florence, Podere Dell'Anselmo. We were greeted by this American with an Italian last name and an accent that is a mix between Chicago, New York, and Italian. From the moment we stepped out of our van, Anthony was grinning from ear to ear an had a larger than life personality. What followed was the most passionate description of the soil, the vine, the grape, and the process of producing wine we have ever heard. We remember leaving the estate thinking that was the most exceptional wine we have ever tasted! Was it? Who knows, but Anthony sure made us feel like it was.
Travis Justice & Pat Campagna have been traveling to Tuscany since 2009. They produce the Total Tuscany Podcast and all the content on this website.