Tuscan Treat

Cheers to chianti!
Cheers to chianti!

Wine can be a snob’s paradise. High priced bottles and eloquent labels elicit importance and supposedly good taste. At a recent wine tasting I tried five reds from around the world, all Cabernet Sauvignons. It was a blind tasting. We didn’t know the label or any information until all wines were tried.

At the event’s end we compared rankings with fellow tasters. The $9.99 bottle from a very young cultivation of grapes outside of Florence bested the $50 bottle from a 2006 vintage (supposedly a snobs favorite year for wine). Point being, no label or fancy cork can fool your tongue. It’s your palate, your preference.

Italy is second to France in producing what many call good wine. And what region covers the gamut of taste, color and price better than Chianti.

Region! Region! Region! Italy is a small country with dozens of types of wine. With each wine unique and only (legally) made in specific areas spanning no more than a few miles each, knowing where to go is important. Lets narrow it down to make your day of tasting productive and enjoyable.

Know where you are. And know the history of the area.

You have the world. And from there the continent of Europe, then Italy. In Italy, to the west, is a region called Tuscany (kind of like saying, “Out in the Southwest United States”). And within Tuscany small cities like Florence and Sienna were founded. Between these two cities are rolling hills, skinny fir trees stretching to blue sky and puffy white clouds, and gravel roads leading the traveler to vineyards. This is where Chianti wine–real, pure, true Chianti–is produced. One of these vineyards is in a small town called Greve.

One thousand feet above sea level sits La Presura, a vineyard and farmhouse established in the 16th century, and owned and operated by the Bucciolini family since 1849. All food and drink (if you consider Chianti a sufficient beverage!) are grown on site. After touring the wine-making operation and vineyard with Federico Bucciolini, father and owner, pick the very fruits and vegetables from the garden you’ll make your lunch with. Don’t get too friendly with the goats; you’ll be downing their tender morsels soon enough. That or a nice florentine steak.

Afterwards hike any of the trails that follow the private lake on site. Or take a swim if weather permits in the underground pool adjacent to the farmhouse. The Bucciolinis care for you like family, both in their meals you’ll learn to make with them and the stunning landscapes they maintain. Their century and a half knowledge of winemaking is passed on to you in their home in Greve. No pretentious speeches; just delicious food, friendly and smart conversation with locals, and the peaceful outdoors.

A perfect Tuscan region escape where snobbery isn’t allowed, but a whole lot of agri-viniculture learning is. Enjoy a relaxing full day outside of the city and in the heart of region Tuscany, sipping chianti wine and understanding how it went from grape to swallowed “glup” in front of you.

Bring your corkscrew and appetite!

Tony Amante Schepers