Here’s what I know about wine, I like it. Okay, I know a few other things, but mostly I know, I like it. I have a friend in Denver whose husband took a wine appreciation class; an actual college course, and afterward, they invited their favorite winos over for dinner and a mini wine appreciation “seminar” so that my friend’s husband could show off what he’d learned. It was very impressive. I was lucky to be included.
So, twice now I’ve been formally instructed how to properly evaluate a wine’s bouquet, color, notes, legs…oh, and taste. All I can say with any certainty is I know what I like. Oh, and see, swirl, sniff, sip, savor, spit. Spit? But I wasn’t done savoring. Is that really how the pros do it? What do I know? I’m no pro. Oak notes, floral bouquet, smooth finish, nice legs? WHATEVER! I’d never even tasted wine until I was introduced to a little after work ritual called Happy Hour. I knew nothing other than my friends drank it because it was cheap enough that some guy would invariably come along and buy them a glass (or three).
Beer was the adult beverage of choice for anyone I’d ever known who dared risk eternal damnation and put the devil’s own elixir to their lips. It’s a southern thing. Beer, wine and whiskey, all forbidden, um…sort of, were only available across the county line, and the “good folks” where I grew up didn’t frequent those kinds of places. But that’s an entirely different topic altogether.
The Chianti region is home to some of the finest wines in the world. I was beside myself just knowing we were going there. When the day actually arrived, it was better than I’d even imagined. We didn’t have a destination in mind. We relied 100% on our driver, Alessandro, a native of the region, to be our guide, and he did not disappoint.
Higher, higher, and higher still, Alessandro drove until I thought we were going to heaven. It wasn’t long before it was official, we were in heaven. The Cennatoio Estate was were we stopped. We were greeted by a nice young man named Diego, whose pride of place was evident as he shared the fruits of his labor and invited us to taste Chianti Classico, Super Tuscan, dessert wines, and some powerful Grappa.
I know mountains; majestic McKinley, the magnificent Rockies, the misty Blue Ridge. Heck, I was Miss Appalachian. :) Nothing compares to the beauty of Italian wine country. Looking out across the hills blanketed with vineyards and olive orchards, I truly was at peace, there in my own slice of heaven, free to savor the day and drink in the countryside. Every view of churches and castles made me catch my breath. God blessed the rocky soil that yields the prized Sangiovese grapes that are crafted with care into very fine wine. I am sure of it.
If you go, and everyone really should at least once in their life, be sure to stop for lunch at La Bottega. I don’t know why I didn’t photograph our food. I was giddy from the view and if I remember correctly, a little hungry. That’s probably why picking up my camera didn’t cross my mind once we sat down until after we’d finished eating. So, no food photos today. ;)
I can say the bread, the soup, the cheese, the porcini with noodles, the wine, EVERY SINGLE bit was divinely inspired. Plan a trip! Hurry, Act Now! Don’t Delay! Or you can look at my photos of Chianti here.