Tasting wine in the Chiantishire

By Nicole Lee (Syracuse University)

Chianti is a region in Tuscany that is known for its wine; it is referred to as the wine capital of Tuscany. The villa that I visited was a castle called Castello Di Verrazzano; it’s only a forty-five minute bus trip southwest from Florence and you drive through the beautiful countryside of Tuscany. It’s best to go with a group, because you can share a memory of a lifetime and many laughs to go along with it.

When we arrived we were greeted by this beautiful cliff overlook that captured the glow of autumn in the trees in the far distance. Our tour guide was fluent in English and even recited a poem to “break the ice”. He quickly showed us the grounds and as a bonus a few wild boar were grazing. Once inside, our first stop of the tour was the drying room where they hung hundreds of grapes to dry; through this process the grapes would sweeten and become more potent overtime.

These grapes were made into the dessert wine. Continuing on our time we then made our way to the holding tanks where the guide explained the process of fermentation. The wine ferments with the help of oxygen. As we walked from room to room along the corridors there were side chambers, which were closed off, they were filled with old dusty bottles of wine, numbering into the hundreds of bottles, which was proof to how long they have been producing wine.When the tour was finished it was time to start the tasting and their rule was “no tasting on an empty stomach”. We sat down in the dining area where we served four different red wines ranging in dryness, alcohol content, and sweetness. The wine was paired with an assortment of meats and cheeses, and I found that the drier wines accented the dark meats. We also tried a small sample of their balsamic vinegar, which they called “liquid gold”, it was very good and it went well with the cheese, and you needed just a drop for taste.For desert we received biscotti (pieces sweat bread, almost like a cookie, with almonds) and a dessert wine.

They encouraged us to dip the bread in the dessert wine and then eat the cookie, which I did and wow was it strong! It’s a drink that requires an acquired taste, but some people were enthused about how it tasted. After we had completed our wine tasting everyone left happy and fulfilled; the tasting was a success and I even bought a bottle to take home. It was a great experience and it would be a shame to go to Italy and leave without having gone on a wine tour/tasting

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