We have returned from our Italian jaunt and Mrs CWG and I are recovering nicely (minus the whole ‘work’ thing). We spent most of our stay in Rome drinking and eating well beyond our expectations. We generally had “vino di casa” (house wine) whenever we ordered lunch, with a half-liter being between 4 and 6 euros and without fail it was a Sangiovese of good quality. Hard to imagine ordering a house wine anywhere in North America, for 6 to 12 dollars that would be palatable. In the evenings we ordered Tuscan wines, with the emphasis on Brunello’s, Rosso di Montalcino and Chiantis. We figured that if we were on the edge of Tuscany why not drink wines from the region?
After a few days in Rome we rented a car (Fiat Punto) and braved the crazy Italians drivers to head for Tuscany with our end destination being Florence. Our mission was to head for Montalcino and then try and get a few wine tastings in there, then simply meander up to Florence. The drive was as expected relying heavily on my Montrealer driving skills… Tuscany was mostly snow covered as a fresh snow had fallen overnight, but none the less the drive was stunning. We drove into the hilltop village of Montalcino and had a great lunch with an amazing view (see below). From there we stopped in at a local wine shop to grab a map and suggestions (we already had the basics from the Rome Cavalieri Concierge but wanted some local insight) only to find out that all but two vineyards in the whole region were closed for holidays. Sadly we decided that instead of trying to get to both of them (on opposite ends of the region and possibly 4 hours of driving…) that we would go to the one already on our list and buy some good Brunellos as well from the merchant. Between the wine shop tastings and purchases and our trip to Poggio Antico we made out well. With Brunellos from Poggio Antico, La Fiorita, Conti Costanti and Tornesi we brought back some brilliant Brunellos and accomplished more then we expected. All in all a good trip through Tuscany, next trip we will concentrate on Chianti’s.
On top of the wine we were able to get Olive Oil from Poggio and some truffle infused oil from a specialty shop in Rome, so we made out like preverbial bandits!