Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tuscany Wine Tasting
No visit to Italy is complete without at least one wine tasting. Tuscany is known for its Sangiovese grape which is used in virtually every red wine made here.
The Avignonesi vineyard comprises a collection of local farms, and makes some very well known wines as well as everyday affordable ones. Their 2004 Riserva Grandi Annate Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was named one of the top 100 wines of 2008 by Wine Spectator magazine. Sadly, it was not among the tasting choices. Neither was their fabled Vin Santo, a high-labor, low-yield dessert wine which runs 160 to 220 euros for a half-bottle and is hard to find because of the low production numbers. It's mainly sold at auctions. But we still got to sample a nice variety, including their 32-euro Desiderio Merlot. I was particularly delighted with their olive oil which I'd asked to taste as well--fruity and very peppery--and bought four half-liters.
I met a nice family from Memphis on the tour--a father (with my eyes closed I swear he sounded just like the actor John Goodman--he was tickled when I told him that) and his son and daughter, the latter who spent the past school year teaching English to primary students in Lisle, just north of Paris. As someone with an eye to possible job opportunities, I later looked into the national language assistant program but, alas, it's limited to those ages 20 to 30. That window's long gone!
Still, it was a lovely way to spend two hours on a hot, sunny Thursday afternoon in bella Toscana.