Working in the travel industry, I have an opportunity and obligation to see the world. Though most of my travels last only a day or two at a time, I manage to swig an espresso (or three) and get on with the party. Follow me as I shamelessly devour the foods of the land, (over)indulge in the local beer and wine, and discover new cities with old friends.
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With only one day in Tuscany, I have no doubt in my mind
that we spent it at the perfect winery. At Tenuta Torciano in San Gimignano, we
were treated to a private wine tasting with lunch. It consisted of 11 wines, 4
courses of food, and a comedic tasting lesson by Pierluigi.
Pierluigi is quite
animated, and broke off from the typical snobby sommelier stereotype. While
being educated on wine, we discovered that a good chardonnay should exude a
“cat piss” scent on the nose. After 3 wines down, the table gets giggly and we
rave about the 30 year aged balsamic on our plates of salad, cheese, and
Me, Pierluigi, Dad, Mom
Another 4 wines down and my
lips and teeth start to turn a shade of deep purple, stained by Chianti after
Chianti. We are presented a slice of Lasagna Bolognese, drowned in a heavy pour
of the winery’s truffle oil. I decide,
life isn’t worth living if I can’t have a supply of this oil, so we add a few
bottles of it to our order form. It was, by far, the best dish of the trip.
At about 9 wine samples into the meal,
there’s a crescendo of laughter and a lot of chatter. Our next dish is the
vegetarian Ribollita Tuscan Soup, with beans and cabbage. Somewhere between
sample #10 and sample #11 I lost all sense of table etiquette and devoured the
food like a cavewoman.
successfully polish off 11 wine samples each, we are given a dessert wine with
biscotti to dunk in it. Followed by a few samples of their fine wine. Thanks to
the incoherent scribbles on our note pads, we remember that our favorite wine
of the original 11 samples was the Chianti Classico Reserve, and we add it to
our order form.
We leave the dining room and enjoy the fresh spring air outside
at the vineyard. I lay on the ground for a moment, marinating in the limbo
between tipsy and drunk, while the sun beams down on my dumbstruck wine-stained
grin. We thank Pierluigi for our wonderful experience and making us feel like
special guests, like family. Back into the car we go. We drive 3 hours to Rome,
and I slept for 2.
Taking a moment.
*Typically costs $24 for the lunch and wine pairing at Tenuta Torciano