I’m not into wine. I don’t know anything about them. What better way to try some wines and learn a little about them than go wine tasting in Italy. Also, wine tasting is #2 on my 25 before 25 list.
Since I am not refined in the wine world, I opted to do a day tour of the Tuscan wineries. I will admit we have stopped in touristic but small villages in Tuscany. But it was a good introduction. I appreciate wines a little bit more now. The small towns were charming and beautiful. Every single one of them. Our first stopped proved to be quite memorable. It was a small town called Torrenieri near Montalcino. That’s what this post is about.
In Torrenieri, we stopped by a small winery called Abbadia Ardenga. We were greeted by an old Italian man named Mario. He was charming and charismatic. We entered the small building. It was made up of many different rooms. Some I could see were an office in the back but most were either filled with wine barrels or had tables for dining and wine tastings. The smell of the building reminded me of my great-grandparents' houses back in rural Poland.
Right away, we were handed a small tasting of a dessert wine called Vinsanto Sant’Antimo. It was magnificent and, by far, one of the best wines I’ve tasted. But, mind you, I only liked it because it was sweet. As a kid, this is what I imagined wine to be like.
At this point, some people regretted not eating breakfast that morning. I found some bread on my way out in the morning which held be me off just fine. Thankfully. After our first sampling, Mario invited us upstairs to see grape drying. Appassimento in Italian means drying of the grapes. The technique started way back in the ancient times and continues today. It’s a big part of Italian winemaking. And yeah, it made for some fantastic photos. Only the best of grapes make it to the drying process. They actually have to be perfect because bruised grapes form mold and rot. They don’t over pack the grapes either. It would increase potential damage to them and the grapes need the free flowing air too.
Next, we were escorted to a one of the rooms with massive wine barrels. Mario talked about the different kinds of wines, how long they need to be in the barrels and how long they still have to stay. Mario’s winery does not mass produce wines. They were extremely cautious of quality instead of quantity. It’s all about tender loving care in his eyes. The different details about the barrels escape me. I have no idea how they differed other than the names and dates printed on the barrels. I suppose that’s just trivial to whatever they are brewing in each barrel.
Finally, the time has come to do the official wine tasting. We tried a total of three wines. Between each tasting, we were given snacks. First, bread and prosciutto. Second, a local cheese. The prosciutto was to die for. I wanted more of it and less of the wines!
The first bottle we tasted was Rosso di Montalcino. To me, it tasted like a typical dry red wine. But for those of you that enjoy wine let me get a little more specific. I can describe the taste as “delicate, harmonious and persistent”. And by me, I mean the little piece of paper I kept that explained the different wines. It goes very well with meats. So, naturally, shortly after pouring our glasses we were presented with the prosciutto.
The second bottle was Brunello di Montalcino. Again, it tasted fantastic and I felt super fancy. A better description would be to call the wine “full-bodied, warm, intense, velvety and harmonious”. I hear it goes really well any type of dish especially if it’s a hearty.
The last wine was their finest. Mario was very proud to pour us a glass of his Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Piaggia. It was a deep ruby red wine that had a full-bodied, warm, harmonious taste with an elegant and persistent finish. (Yes, I did get that from the booklet again.) They recommend the wine be paired with cheeses, among a couple of other things. Naturally, they gave us a little bit of cheese to nibble on too.
I did learn one thing about wine from this visit. I learned that food changes the taste of wine and not every one of them is even recommended to drink while you’re eating at all. It makes sense, I just never thought about it that way. At the end of the tasting, some people were feeling tipsy. It made for a more fun atmosphere for sure.
At the end, Mario offered us his bottles for sale. He even gave us a discount. While people were purchasing some I took a stroll around the property. The winery is on a hill overlooking the beautiful Tuscan landscape. I see why everyone seems to love Tuscany, it’s absolutely beautiful. The property itself was too. The winery had an older charm to it and with Tuscan hills in the back yard, what else could you ask for?
I am a freelance web designer who documents her travels with photos and words via Black Journal. Additionally, I work with small companies that want to re-brand their online businesses to create products that change lives of their customers all in the hopes of gaining more customers and retaining their current ones longer.