18 September 2007

Day Cinque: Continua

The whole point is, the Medici were frickin' rich, and that's how they could afford to do all this sh*t.
- American guy talking in front of the Duomo in Florence
Ok, so to continue...we went to a small family winery yesterday, which was much different than anything I've seen in the US. First off...everything is so old and spread out, to get the wine from the presses to the aging vats, there is a tube that runs right in the middle of the villa, above ground. The cellars were rather old school, and there was just one bottling machine for over 100K bottles a year. Still, it was very charming.
First, Federica, one of the owners, talked us through how they did things at the vineyard. They should have been harvesting yesterday, but because of the rain they couldn't. Then, it was time to eat, which thank god, because I was starving. The food was all home made, and all grown either at the farm or within 15km. It was absolutely delicious. I even ate the salami, which...I shouldn't have. At the table there was a Chianti table wine, as well as the white Vernaccia. And, there was plenty for all of us to drink at least 3-4 glasses, which everyone did (and, if we ran low, Mauro, our driver, would just go get more).
This was a great group of people, and we had a fun time talking and drinking. Then came the biscotti & vino santo, a sweet dessert wine into which you dip your biscotti. Yum! Then...Elizabetta brought out the grappa. Three kinds, to be exact. No sooner had she poured the first one for us that we were told to shoot them, and my ears, throat...everything was on fire. It tasted like gasoline. Always one to give it another try (when it comes to alcohol), I tried the second one. Again, I was like a dragon with the fire I was spitting. I think Pebs gave up on that one. Then the third, which looked more like the vino santo so I thought, oh, it must be sweet. Damn, I was wrong, wrong wrong. I was also very drunk by that point, as was everyone else at the table.
We did a little more touring, which... kind of wish I hadn't because I saw how the grape skins were dried (grappa is made from the skins), which is to just set them out next to the fields. Ick. Then, we got to taste more, which is just what we needed. This farm also produces Olive Oil, and we tasted that by sipping it directly from a glass. We were told this is the correct way to really taste olive oil. It was the best I have ever had. Yum!
As we left, we all kind of realized, "Oh, sh*t, we still have to go to Siena! Maybe we should just keep drinking." We piled in the van and off we went to Siena. By this time we, as a group, had bonded, so rather than take off our separate ways, we all went together to the Duomo. This was absolutely beautiful. The amount of intricacy involved in these churches here is mind blowing. And, the floors were uncovered, which I guess only happens for 2 months a year.
We were all pretty tired when we met back up with Elizabetta. She had been helping Robert from Scottsdale on a best man's speech he had to do in Italian. Apparently, he's gonna need a lot of practice in the next few days. On the way home, I fell asleep somewhat, and when we got back we had to change the dinner plans we made with Bill & his wife, but we may see them again in Rome. I was just too tired to go out any more. I love how that happens.
It was back to the hotel for me (then a quick stop at McDonalds...I know, I know, but I am pizza/pasta/gelato-ed out), and wandering around the streets for Pebbles. I think she is going to be sad to leave Florence, although Cinque Terre will be beautiful. I am looking forward to some hiking and relaxing beach time!

1 comment:

nicodemus said...

Sounds wonderful Annie. Just one thing. My apologies for being pedantic, but grappa is not made from grape skins, but 'vinaccia', which is the pulp, seeds and skins of the grape after most of the juice has been extracted for wine making. Some of the best known grappas don't declare themselves as such, but as 'aquavite di vinaccia' since - historically - grappa was considered by the higher end distillers as a pejorative term. 'Grappa' only became official nomenclature during the 1950's. By the way, any (italian) spirits that use the juice as well are not accorded as grappa, but 'aquavite d'uva'. These frequently convey the characteristics of the grapes used. Otherwise the quality of any consequential wine - or the precise type of grapes used - have a minimal effect on the quality or flavour of the grappa. The art of the distiller is all.