Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wine Tasting, Again

It is the Fall harvest season in Chianti and wine tastings abound! Yippeee! I traveled back to Certosa with my school and a group of 80 students. Instead of the 300 wines of last time, there were 700 this time, and I tried to taste them all!

When we arrived, we were the first ones there. We received a wine glass and cap (oh, boy!) and started through the tents that were set up to house the wines. The first tent was the sparkling whites, or prosecco’s and spumanti’s, Italy’s answer to champagne. These are not my favorite, but a good way to "warm up" the palette.

Next on the agenda was the white wines. Some areas of Italy have some nice white wines such as Pinot Grigio and Vernaccia, but overall, Italy is not known for it’s white wines.

The largest tent, and inside in 3 rooms of the hotel, were the stunning reds. I didn’t taste one that I wouldn’t drink with pleasure! The wines were all categorized by the regions of Italy that they are produced. My favorites are from the areas of Montalcino, and Montepulciano The nobile, rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montepuliciano. They were all fabulous. Also, a new favorite on my list, but I can rarely afford to drink it on a regular basis is the big, jammy Amarone, that melts in your mouth.

On tables between the wines were bottles and bottles of a variety of olive oils. My wine palette is more developed than my olive oil palette. I tasted many of the oils on the plain Tuscan bread, and liked them all, but had trouble detecting the subtle flavor differences between them all.
Another tent housed the "Alimentary" or food accompaniments. These ranged from cheeses, to spicy spreads, black olive piccante sauce, marmalades, and honeys. These are all excellent spread on bread or to use as dips for cheese. The gorgonzola cheese was suggested for eating with the sweet wines, and I have often partaken of it with a glass of port. (Yummy!) And the hard, salty pecorino is fabulous with the reds.

A wine tasting with 79 20 something’s and me was interesting. I was cute and annoying to see and hear them sniffing, swirling, and tasting and then asking where the white zinfandel, merlot, and sweet wine was! It went a long way in solidifying the American stereotype.

I left there happy and had 2 cases of vino shipped to the states, so that when I return, I can "remember the day". Maybe you can join me.

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