Many years ago I enjoyed a less busy life that afforded me the opportunity to read A LOT! I was in several book clubs and spent much of my free time exploring the world through great books. It was during that time that Frances Mayes published Under the Tuscan Sun in 1996. In her book Mayes takes the reader on a journey of her own life as it gets turned upside down when she discovered the infidelity of her husband. After the divorce she falls into a depression and was encouraged by a dear friend to travel to Italy. Understandably by anyone who has been to Italy, Mayes falls in love with the country, people, and lifestyle and spontaneously purchases a rural Tuscan villa. In true Peter Mayle style (A Year in Provence – a must read!), Mayes shares the joys and trials of “fixing up” a home in Italy. Mayes journey into a new life is written with the warmth I felt visiting Italy and spending time with a truly hospitable and welcoming country of people. The book was so successful it was made into a movie in 2003 staring Diane Lane. It is an encouraging journey for anyone who has been faced with sudden loss and a great story of redemption, finding oneself and learning to stand on one’s own feet again. It is also a great story of the pleasure of food, wine and friendship. I highly recommend the book!
In keeping with her love of food and wine, Frances Mayes has not only published an Under The Tuscan Sun Cookbook but she also crafted her own line of Tuscan Sun wines. I recently received a media sample of France Mayes’ Tuscan Sun Tondo Tondo (meaning just perfect) from Banner Media Group; here are my thoughts.
Tuscan Sun 2011 Italian Red Wine Tondo Tondo: This wine poured a soft ruby with brown highlights into the glass. On the nose it opened with dancing red fruit, bright spice, floral notes and a hint of licorice. On the palate it was light, featuring concentrated fruit of cherries, red plums, strawberries and cranberries wrapped around baking spice, coffee and a bit of smoke. This new world style wine was well balanced with refined tannins and round acidity that lingered on the palate. This wine was enjoyable and was an excellent food wine. This wine was crafted from 100% Sangiovese and aged in stainless steel so the fruit is the star of the show, with the additional flavors expressing the terroir of the Toscana IGT Rosso. It contained 13.5% alcohol. This wine is featured on Wine.com for SRP of $13.99 (a great deal!); 2 bottles today and receive $.01 shipping! This wine paired beautifully with a variety of food and makes a lovely addition to your weeknight enjoyment while allowing your wallet to recover from the holidays!
I chose to pair this wine with a wonderful winter weather evening of watching Under the Tuscan Sun movie, (while longing to return to Italy) and enjoying a fabulous mini-chocolate Bundt cake from the Corner Bakery by the fire! A perfect night! The chocolate cake not only brought out the chocolate nuances of the wine but blended beautifully with the wines round red fruit. Furthermore, the balanced tannins and acidity of the wine cut some of the sweetness of the chocolate cake. It was a most enjoyable evening!
From the Tuscan Sun web site:
“A toast to the Tuscans who inspire the world to live like kings.”
“Tuscan Sun wines by acclaimed author Frances Mayes express the pleasure of discovery, restoration and refreshment of body and soul. With imaginative front and back labels that are small wonders of art, Tuscan Sun wines bring the deep joys of Italy to any occasion. A ray of Tuscan sun shines in each bottle.”
“Italy wine and food seem like a birthright you can taste your entire life.”
“Tondo Tondo, I’ve thought many times, as I push back my chair from the table. A Tuscan feast centers on the ancient triumvirates: the vine, the olive tree and wheat. Maybe that’s why it feels so deeply connected to the earth.”
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with Frances Mayes’ Tuscan Sun 2011 Italian Red Wine Tondo Tondo is A Lovely Day by Bill Withers. Every day in Italy is a lovely day. Every day eating Italian food and drinking Italian wine with friends and family is a lovely day. And watching Under the Tuscan Sun next to a roaring fire eating chocolate cake and drinking a lovely Sangiovese is a lovely day!
Wine.com meets all your wine needs during the holidays and year round! Order this wine today and receive $10 off your order of $125 or more; use code DEC125 but hurry because this special offer only lasts until 12/31!
Get your own bottle of Frances Mayes’ Tuscan Sun 2011 Italian Red Wine Tondo Tondo from Wine.com and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!