In search of some peace and quiet after a very hectic period last autumn we found Valdonica Vineyards in southern Tuscany and decided to spend a week there. We sure did not regret it.
Valdonica welcomed us after a very steep ascent by car up the hill at the entrance of the small village Sassofortino. The view over the vineyard, the Maremma region and the Mediterranean Sea with its islands Elba and Giglio is breathtaking and when the smell of lavender is hanging in the air you feel relaxed instantly.
When you plan to stay at Valdonica – a beautiful bed & breakfast nestled in the vineyards – you have the choice to either stay in one of the rooms in the main building “cantina” or in one of the two stone villas constructed according to eco-sustainable principles.
Besides the rooms, you find the cantina forum in the main building where for breakfast local deliciousness are served, you get a chance to meet fellow guests, prepare your own meals or where you meet for wine tastings in the evenings. The villas offer three rooms each with a private bathroom and balcony, the terrace as well as the kitchen and living room is shared with the other parties.
The area of the entire vineyard is huge spreading over 20 acres; when you take a stroll through the estate you are able to find the owner’s mansion, the pool area, a fitness tent and the stalls with its horses all embedded in the grapes. The vision of the Austrian owner Martin Kerres is to “create the best Sangiovese in Maremma – by freeing up nature´s upmost energy for flourishing our grapes and wines to an optimum”. The decision to farm organically was taken in order to respect the environment and leave nature as untouched as possible. The estate is certified organic and the work in the vineyards, from weeding and pruning to harvesting, is done only by hand which results in unique wines.
Martin organizes once a week a dinner with a wine tasting which takes place either outside or in the wine cellar. As we were there in October and the weather was rather chilly we were dining inside. Martin is a fabulous host who tells his very personal story of Valdonica. With each course a different wine is served and explained. It was an extremely pleasant evening with great home cooked food, excellent wine and interesting talks. The guests came from all over the world and some were even returning guests.
Whilst Valdonica is great to relax and enjoy the wine, the region offers many places worth visiting like the medieval town of Grossetto with its markets, the beaches, the islands of Giglio or Elba to only mention a few.