I realise that not all of us are lucky enough to visit a vineyard or wander around a winery however if you do ever get the chance to taste wine close to the vine say “YES PLEASE!”
I have just returned from Tuscany where my family and I had a wonderful 10 day holiday. (Apart from a couple of near death experiences on some hair-pin bends climbing into or descending from some hilltop village.) We visited Firenze, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Pisa and many other wonderful little villages whose names I can neither pronounce nor spell!
We stayed in an agriturismo which was also a Vineyard (A bit of a busman’s holiday for me!) as well as visiting a Vineyard that we are hoping to buy from before Christmas, Castello Sonnino, which is in Montespertoli a sub region of Chianti. Alessandro and I had met before in Venice (Did I mention that being a wine merchant is quite fun?) and so we chatted for a while and then went straight into the wine tasting. We tasted the full range of his wines (sadly that day I was driving so I had to use the spittoon) and then had a guided tour of the Winery. Bottling was taking place and any bit of machinery fascinates my son so he was thrilled to watch the process.
We went deep into the cellars where we saw small concrete vats, barrels laid in long lines, stainless steel vats (for the house wines only!) and scores of bottles waiting to be shipped. We then got to taste straight from the barrel which is quite an experience. (Wine still in the barrel will often not have the finesse or elegance of the final wine and can be quite harsh and raw.) Then we went high into the tower where the Vin Santo grapes are dried on straw mats. The barrels for the Vin Santo are kept here too. (If you want to find out more about Vin Santo press the link to Wiki my favourite source of information.)
We were then shown to a private room where a gorgeous, traditional Tuscan lunch had been prepared for us by Federica. All the half full bottles (Yes I am a half full not half empty girl) from our earlier tasting were set out on the table for us to drink with lunch, which my husband and daughter proceeded to do! I sipped the lovely cool water. (Driving round nightmarish bends and steep dirt tracks when sober is hard enough, but after tasting 7 wines – impossible)
For dessert we had cantuccini biscuits with the glorious golden Vin Santo, which was the perfect end to a wonderful day. The only thing missing was a little couch for me to have a siesta before driving back to the agriturismo for a swim.
If you have ever been lucky enough to visit a Vineyard and taste wine close to the vine – let me know – or if you want to visit some of our producers when you are away in Italy or Portugal then let me know and we will see what can be done.
Talking about wine is almost as lovely as drinking it!
So Talk to me!