Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wine Tasting in Tuscany

One of my main objectives for my time in Tuscany was to visit Montepulciano, a town famous for their wine. I am not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. How perfect that we will be so near to the town where my favorite wine comes from, I thought. Funny story though. It turns out that Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is actually made in Abruzzo, which is three hours south of where we were. Montepulciano, the town, uses Sangiovese grapes to make their famous wine. At first I was a little bummed, but how sad can I really be when looking at these views?

The good news is I like Montepulciano wines too! Just past the gates in to town, there is a shop that does incredible tastings of all of its products. The owner gives such a soft-sell that at first you think he's just a terrible businessman. He gave us a variety of bruschetta and a generous tasting of wine. Then, when we inquired about buying the products, he told us to come back later. He knew we'd have to come back that way to exit the town, and he gambled that we would come back for more tastings and to buy something. Turns out, he knows what he's doing. On our way out of town, we stopped back in and sampled the heck out of everything. We had several kinds of wine; tons of cheese; and local olive oil. I bought a little jar of sweet pumpkin jam that paired wonderfully with pecorino. Nick and Laura bought some wine. 

We did another wine tasting further in town and got to see the massive barrels where the wine is aged.

Montepulciano is full of charm. I loved walking the cobbled streets and peering down the tiny alleys that hinted at its medieval history. We followed a Rick Steves walking tour, which led us to the most delightful coppersmith, Cesare Mazzetti. We approached his workshop just as he was closing up for lunch. When he saw the babies, he couldn't help himself and invited us in for a private demonstration of his work. He doesn't speak a lot of English, and I speak even less Italian, but somehow we managed. He made each couple a beautiful copper medallion with our names and wedding dates on them. His tools were worn down from years of use--they were originally his grandfather's. He hilariously narrated as he worked--"when you two see each other there is an explosion of love." He also predicted that each family would have three more children. I'm not so sure about that one.

The town is bursting with artists. I am still in awe of this man and his mosaics. He was faithfully recreating a Van Gough piece using thousands of tiny rocks. Had each piece not been over $1,000 I definitely would have bought something.

The next day we went to Montalcino, famous for its Brunello. The town was cute, but we didn't have the best weather. It was perfect for doing another wine tasting, and seeing bottles that were worth 2,500 EUR casually laying by the door! Both towns are small, but we spent a lot more time than we thought we would. It is so nice just to wander the streets, grab a gelato and enjoy life.

Read more about this trip:
Cinque Terre Day 1
Cinque Terre Day 2
A Night in Chianti
A Taste of San Gimignano
Last Day in Italy

No comments:

Post a Comment