That is a little taste of Tuscany for you. We spent one full day (literally a WHOLE day, 12 hours) in Tuscany exploring a Tuscan wine and farm, Siena, Pisa and our favorite spot, San Gimignano. They call San Gimignano medieval Manhattan and you can see why in the picture below. That was certainly our favorite spot of the Tuscan tour but looking back at the view (above) from the winery — you can’t beat that. Oh I miss it already!
Now let’s get to the wines. Pretty much every restaurant we visited we found a fantastic Italian wine at an amazing price. I’m not going to concentrate too much on the price because neither you or I will ever see that price in the US thanks to importing and exporting costs. What I will concentrate on are our favorite wines, why we loved them and where you can get them!
Fontodi Flaccianello 2009: Our favorite wine of the trip, a bottle that typically goes for $125 retail, $200+ at restaurants was available for $75 at Italian joints. A Sangiovese from Chianti, it combines everything we love from the old world, rustic flavors with modern winemaking techniques. This 100% Sangiovese has flavors of black currant, raspberry, and violet. Pairs perfectly with tomato based sauces like pomodoro and arrabiata. And if you like to see what the reviewers have to say — this baby was picked as #25 in the Top 100 List of 2012 from Wine Spectator. Good price at Wine.com.
Elena Walch Beyond the Clouds 2010: A Chardonnay for the Chardonnay hater. Grown in the northeastern Alto Adige region, which is strongly influenced by its German heritage. The wines grown here are restrained and reflect the cooler climate. It showcases the primary fruit flavors of the grape like pineapple, melon, and citrus rather than the oak and butter we associate most Chardonnays with. Pairs well with sashimi or Italian meat and cheese plate.
Picotis Livon Schioppettino: An indigenous grape to the Fruili region rarely seen outside of Italy, but well worth the search. This light bodied red pairs well with most Italian dishes and is one of the few that’s approachable on its on. Flavors of black cherry and chocolate (what’s not to like?!) as well as raspberry and blueberry. This particular bottle may be hard to find but pick up any Schioppettino you see!
Elena Walch Riesling Ringberg 2010: Riesling in Italy? Hailing from the same producer as our favorite Chardonnay in the Alto Adige region of Italy, this dry example of Riesling is the ultimate food wine and we paired it with a number of traditional Italian dishes including spaghetti with carbonara and ricotta raviolis topped with pistachios.
Although these were our favorites of the trip we had some many good local wines including multiple Chianti Classicos, Chianti Riservas, Prosecco, Refosco (fun, rare grape) and will feature some of our finds in upcoming wine reviews. Ci vediamo dopo! (see you later)