Tuscany Chosen by HBO for the Production of Sopranos Wines

Visit to Valiano Tuscan WineryThis fall The Sopranos varietals will hit stores nationwide.

The Sopranos, the landmark HBO series that set a new standard in television, has inspired a line of Italian wine that will launch nationwide this fall. The Sopranos Italian Wines will hit stores beginning in September.

And where did these fine folks go when they were looking for the best wines to offer American families? To Tuscany, of course!

There is no greater romantic rendezvous or sexier wine location than Tuscany in the heart of Italy, land of sun, sea, romance, amazing food and luscious wine.

Where else can you sip wine and savor food made with the freshest most delectable ingredients resulting from recipes going back hundreds of years?

You have your choice of wine locations in Tuscany, from the cypress-outlined, rolling hills of the Chianti area, jagged seaside cliffs, the enchanting Tuscan islands or the hills near the tower of Pisa.

I am personally familiar with one of the wineries involved in this project, the Valiano Estate Winery.  I wrote about my visit to this estate in the blog entry titled “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!”  It is a wonderful historic winery that produces high-quality wines.

HBO certainly chose their producers well. The Sopranos Italian Wines will feature a range of selections for every type of wine enthusiast. For those seeking an affordable quality vintage for every day, there’s a Chianti DAntique__press.jpg.O.C.G., aged six to eight months, that boasts soft tannins with succulent flavors of cherry and berries and a leisurely finish.

For the more discriminating devotee on the look-out for a solid mid-tiered choice, options include a seductive Tuscan Cabernet-Merlot-Sangiovese blend, aged in a combination of big oak barrels and barriques.  It can be enjoyed now or uncorked in another three to five years, allowing maturity to bring out the full flourish of this remarkable wine’s character.  The wine is priced at $14.99.

The passionate aficionado searching for a good value on a higher-end varietal will be able to choose from a complex and satisfying Chianti Classico or an exquisite Chianti Classico Riserva, both of which are estate vinted and bottled.  The Chianti Classico is produced with the highest-quality of grapes from the hills of the Tuscan region and is highly-extracted, which translates to the deep color, lovely tannins and articulate bouquet.  Aged for a least a year in oak casks, and priced at $23.99, it too can be consumed now or in three to seven years.  The Chianti Classico Riserva hails from the heartland of the beautiful region of Tuscany between Florence and Siena.  Aged for three years in oak, this is a powerful red wine with strong tannins, a dry palate and delicate nose.  The wine rewards the patience of true connoisseurs who, though they may consume it now, may wish to hold onto this liquid jewel another seven to ten years before uncorking to experience the full spectrum of its extraordinary integrity.  It is priced at $29.99.

There are other Italian wines offered under The Sopranos label, including two Pinot Grigios, on from the Veneto region and one from the Fruili region, both very nice wines.

May you enjoy them all in good health.  Salute!

Ciao a tutti, Serenella

Recipes from Authentic Italian Women – Tuscan Ribollita Soup

As you may realize by now, my desire is to connect you to the real, authentic Tuscany.  A large part of that, of course, is the food.  Who better to consult about Tuscan cooking than authentic Tuscan women? 


I am presenting a series of recipes from friends, family members and colleagues who are authentic Tuscan women or women from other regions of Italy.  The theme is authentic recipes, not Americanized versions. You will find plenty of those online, in cookbooks and on television!


The first thing you should know is that Italian recipes are written with weights (not measurements for cups or spoons).  The second thing you must know is that recipes are guidelines and suggestions since everyone has different tastes and traditions.  For example, everyone in Tuscany has a different twist on their soups.  So, if you want to add an accent of your own (such as a favorite herb), feel free to do so.  Just make sure to pay attention to the freshness of each ingredient and that any additions you use be “in tune” with the taste of the recipe.Recipes from Authentic Italian Women - Tuscan Ribollita Soup

Manila – Florence, Tuscany, Italy

My friend Manila is a beautiful, doe-eyed woman who lives in Florence. Her husband owns the Ancre jewelry store near Piazza San Marco which is a favorite boutique of the locals.

Manila has raised her three sons in Florence and has taught pre-school and elementary school for many years. Her dream, however, is to own a catering business.

Manila’s passion for Tuscan cuisine is well-known and she is considered one of the best cooks around. My cousins and I were blown away by a meal Manila cooked entirely based on fresh Tuscan mushrooms.  When she smilingly opened her front door and the aromas wafted towards us, it was heavenly. And I will never forget about the bone-in prime rib cooked in the wood-burning oven in her courtyard in downtown Florence.

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Insider’s Lucca, Tuscany – You know you’re in Italy when…

Lucca is a beautiful city and province in Northwestern Tuscany

As part of the “You know you’re in Italy when” series, I am delving a little deeper for those of us who particularly love the town of Lucca and the surrounding areas. 

Lucca is a beautiful city and province in Northwestern Tuscany.  It is rich in water and natural beauty has a rich and varied architectural, religious political and artistic history. Lucca was the birthplace of world-famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini.

The inhabitants of the town of Lucca have always been famous for being astute and successful business people and are endlessly teased for their reputation of being very tightfisted with their money (I say this lovingly, of course). 

So, with no further ado,

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What do Serenella and Debbie Phelps have in common? Chico’s Clothing Catalogue and Website!

I am very excited to announce that I will be featured in the September 15, 2008 Chico’s catalogue and on the Chico’s clothing chose me as the female business owner to highlight in their travel series segment on Lucca (Tuscany), Italy.Chico’s website http://www.chicos.com.

Chico’s clothing chose me as the female business owner to highlight in their travel series segment on Lucca (Tuscany), Italy.

I am in great company: Chico’s is currently featuring Debbie Phelps (also seen on The Oprah Winfrey Show), mother of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Michael Phelps won 8 Olympic gold medals for team U.S.A. – a feat never before accomplished. Michael Phelps is the gold medalist all others will look up to as the ultimate athlete.

My own experience with Chico’s was fantastic.  They chose me because we have the same views: Chico’s believes women should be encouraged to follow their dreams and reach their full potential – at any age. Their choice of models is a tribute to all women; they look real and approachable, not like the disinterested walking skeletons seen in other publications! Yes, they are beautiful but also women we can identify with. Read more