So I’m starting to think that this whole being tired thing will persist until November 9th when I head back to the U.S. Today we woke up early to visit the Castello di Brolio, one of the oldest vineyards in the world, dating back to 1141. Yeah, just wrap your mind around that for a second! The vineyard has used a clone of the same vine that has grown there since the very beginning! Unlike the previous vineyards we have visited, this vineyard is a high-production vineyard. You will see in the following photos just how much wine they produce. It’s an incredible amount! Probably the biggest or one of the biggest vineyards we will visit on this trip.
The fermentation warehouse is HUGE. This is a poor picture of interpreting that but, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how big the tanks were, plus how big the warehouse was….then the tour guide showed us the second room of tanks that were brand new. The wine ferments for about 20 days.
Here is where they age their various wines for various times. This room was also about 3 times the size of this picture! The wines are aged in French oak barrels of medium toast, giving the wines a smooth but somewhat acidic and dry touch. The aging process can take anywhere from 9-18 months. Typically, the longer the age the more complex the flavor. But this can also depend on the grapes used and the char of the barrel.
Characteristics of wine also come from different surrounding factors such as climate and soil. Here we see differences in the soils of the different areas in which the grapes are grown. For example some soils give wine a certain mineral quality. Wine can also be grown in different types of earth; like sand, gravel, and clay—and each environment makes each wine grow uniquely and different from each other.
These are the three wines that we tasted from left to right. Brolio 2010 Chianti Classico DOCG. Rocca Guicciarda 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG. Casalferro 2008 Toscana IGT.
My personal favorite was the center wine—Rocca Guicciarda. I tend to enjoy wines that are drier and peppery. I think they have a lot of character! The wine to the left was the youngest wine, therefore it was very smooth and likable to all red wine drinkers while the wine on the right was deeper and for a bit more of a sophisticated palate.
The first two wines were the same blend (80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot) but were aged differently. The first wine for 9 months and the second for 16 months. The third wine is known as a Super Tuscan. It was 100% Merlot. Super Tuscans come from Tuscany but use anything but Sangiovese grapes (the common grape of Tuscany).
After the tasting we stopped for lunch at Osteria di Fonterutoli where we sat outside and enjoyed the landscape, relaxing breeze, and a crazy bee that wanted to kill us all.
Course one—potato flan with pecorino and herb sauce. REALLY good. Everyone around me enjoyed it a lot!
Then we enjoyed garganelli pasta with duck ragu and wild fennel. I’m sure you all know that ragu is my FAVORITE so of course I enjoyed this a lot!
For our entree we had this sort of roulade (a roll) of veal with the stomach lining. I have to admit not many of us were a fan of this. It was chewy and had a lot of tissue that was hard to cut through and chew. I’m glad to have tried it though. New experience!
Then for dessert we had a chocolate cake with pears. REALLY fresh and light.
After that we stopped to walk around Siena, a beautiful and quaint little town. This is just a random alley-way. There are some amazing little shops with all kinds of things!
For dinner we ate in the cellar of Ristorante La Taverna.
Our first course was grilled polenta with sausage ragout!
Lentil soup with bread, too. I love green lentils and it had been WAY too long since I had them so this was exciting for me. Healthy, too!
After that we enjoyed potato-filled tortilla with a sage and lemon sauce. This was really refreshing with the lemon, and the sage brought warmth.
This is guinea-fowl with truffle sauce with spinach and potatoes. When I saw this plate I thought, “Oh no, a heavy cream sauce with truffles, I’ll be full immediately” but, the sauce was surprisingly light and the truffle was really used with care. It was subtle and barely there which was a new (and smart) way I have seen truffle used. Also I loved that the meat was tender and not dry because who likes that?!
More chocolate for dessert. I only had a couple of bites but it was really good. Especially the strawberries. So delish!
Sorry for the poor amount of information but I am just so exhausted. Waking up early again plus I have to do a presentation on the bus. Not looking forward to that!