Today we had our first “official” wine tasting of the trip, which brought us to the Torciano winery in between San Gimignano and Siena. The winery is located in the midst of rolling hills and endless vineyard—the views surrounding the area are spectacular. Everything is just green for miles and miles!
We sat down to two glasses of wine—one red and one white—plus a small plate of cheese, salami, salad and bread with olive oil. We were encouraged to taste both the red and the white wine with each piece of food, to help determine which paired best with particular flavors.
Overall, we sampled eight wines, including Tuscany’s famous Brunello de Montalcino (a delicious, full-bodied red). We learned that wines in Italy are given a DOC or DOCG label, which allows you to distinguish which wines are truly authentic. DOC means “denomination of origin controlled” and DOCG means “denomination of origin controlled guaranteed.” In order to receive one of these labels, the wine must be the specific varietal of the region, produced in that region only. For example, Brunello can only be produced in the region of Montalcino to receive a DOC or DOCG label.
We also had the opportunity to sample Torciano’s balsamic vinegar and truffle oil, both of which tasted amazing. The truffle oil was drizzled on a small plate of lasagna and helped round out our “light lunch.” At the end of the tasting, we sampled a sweet dessert wine (lighter and smoother than a brandy or cognanc) which was perfect with a biscotti dipped in.
Needless to say, we all really appreciated a short bus ride back to our next hotel in Siena, as we all were in serious need of a nap!
Melissa is tasting her way through Food & Wine: Flavors of Tuscany and Umbria. Follow along as she checks off all of her food-centric to-dos.