Monday, June 07, 2010

The Blood of Jove

There are three crucial elements to enjoying Tuscany - seeing the picturesque hill towns, enjoying the spectacular food, and sampling their outstanding wines.

When most people think about Tuscan wine, they think "Chianti" - the stuff a previous generation of Americans identified as inexpensive red wine in straw-lined jugs.

But serious wine aficionados know that Tuscany has so much more to offer - each part of the region, from one town to the next, does something special with what the land and climate has to offer.

If "Sideways" were set in Tuscany instead of Santa Barbara County, Niles would've been extolling the virtues of Sangiovese - the Italian red grape varietal whose name derives from the Latin sanguis Jovis, "the blood of Jove."

It seems like every hill in Tuscany has it's own clone of the Sangiovese grape that's used to produce a special local wine: endless varieties of Chianti, the famed Brunello di Montalcino, and the one-time favorite of Renaissance noblemen Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

No visit to Tuscany would be complete without seeking out the source of these great wines - and one of our day-trips was dedicated to doing exactly that.

A sampling of wines at a great restaurant in Montalcino...

...and some food to accompany them!


Cheese and Honey

Cheese and Spinach Ravioli with diced Tomatoes

Pasta with a sauce of Wild Tuscan Boar

And that was just Montalcino!

We ventured on to Montepulciano where we had a less filling but every-bit-as-enjoyable stopover at a lovely little place with fantastic view, the perfect place to sample their take on what to do with Sangiovese - blend it with a bit of Canailo Nero and Mammolo to make Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Lisa, Gilles and Daria take a wine break in Montepulciano

The Terrace

The View

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