Don’t let the title of this post deceive you. Though I did take a trip to a couple of Tuscan vineyards, I didn’t purchase a run-down villa or fall in love with a traveling writer. But, I did learn a lot about wine and, if we’re being honest here, I left a part of my heart in those grape-lined fields.
Our day began promptly around 9 A.M. when we were greeted by a happy Australian Shepard puppy at the Altesino Vineyard in Siena, Italy. We learned that the vineyard was recently purchased by a wealthy Italian woman, and that she’d renovated the wine-making site. First, we saw the large metal barrels where the wine would be kept for a certain amount of time depending on what type of grape was being aged. Then we moved to another room filled with huge barrels made of oak, which house the wine for up to four years before it is bottled.
Next we got to see how the wine is bottled and labeled, and then we were off to a room overlooking the vineyard for a quick tasting of three of Altesino’s popular wines. We tried the vineyard’s Brunello di Montalcino, a red wine with hints of tobacco, chocolate, wild berries, and vanilla (coincidentally the same scents found in the perfume I wear). The Rosso di Montalcino, which had a strong berry flavor, and the Vin Santo. The Brunello was my favorite, and after finishing our third glass of wine of the morning we ventured out into the fields.
Shortly after, we departed for our second vineyard of the day. This second vineyard was a family owned vineyard called Tenuta Torciano. We were greeted by one of the (very handsome) sons of the owner, who then led us to the garden where we sat at tables set with three wine glasses per place setting. The aforementioned (very handsome) son gave us a short introduction which included a brief history of the vineyard and a rundown of the ten (yes, ten) different wines we would be tasting that afternoon.
We started off pairing a white wine and a red wine with a cheese, salami, salad with 30 year-old balsamic, and bread with homemade olive oil. Next, we were served two more reds to pair with the ribollita, a Tuscan soup made by the family’s grandmother containing bread and vegetables, which we were served after the first plate. While finishing the ribollita, we were served yet another white and another red, and finally we were each given a large piece of homemade lasagna drenched in the most delicious truffle oil you’ve ever imagined… and two more glasses of red wine. We finished the meal with biscotti and a very strong desert wine and then boarded another bus to San Gimignano for “The World’s Best Gelato”.
We didn’t have much time to explore San Gimignano, but we made it to the World Gelato Champion Gelateria. I ordered un cono piccolo con Mango e Nutella, an odd combination I’ll admit, and hiked up to a look out point that showed what seemed like most of the vineyards of the area. There were grape and olive trees as far as the eye could see, and a bright blue sky hovering over the fields.
Although I left the Montalcino area without a villa or a lover, I definitely fell in love with the vibe of the area. I hope to travel back throughout my time here and explore the different Tuscan vineyards and taste all their Tuscan wines.