|Castello di Verrazzano & Greve in Chianti Countryside|
We arrived at the winery and were joined by Jillian (who works for the winery and is somehow related to the family that now owns the place – by marriage I think since she is from the UK) who took us into the gardens and gave us a history of the winery. The winery was started by the Verrazzano family, the same family of Giovanni da Verrazzano who discovered New York and for whom the Verrazzano Bridge is named after that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn. She even showed us some rocks and a plaque incorporated into the walls of the winery from the building of the bridge. The winery has been in operation for a very long time. She pointed out the vines and explained to us that even though there is quite a bit of property they only have 100 acres of grapes that produces about 180,000 bottles of wine.
|Grapes drying at the Castello|
She also told us that they make olive oil and balsamic vinegar. From the garden we were taken into the wine cellars where they have the large barrels holding the wine until it is ready. She explained their whole process (most of which I have forgotten) and showed us a special room with hanging grapes that they let dry a little to make one of their special wines. We then entered a dining area and we were seated eight to a table that was set with two wine glasses, a tumbler and a shot glass as well as plates, utensils and napkins. Waiters poured us two glasses of wine (Verrazzano Rosso – a table wine and Chianti Classico Reserve). Jillian then explained wine tasting and gave us these three rules . . .
It was interesting to try wine this was and I learned a little bit about how air and movement as well as food affects the taste of wine. She also told us to never hold the wine glass by the bowl, always hold the stem. The warmth from your hands can affect the wine.1. Color – it should be shiny and bright. Look at it against a white background and see if it has a rich color.2. Aroma – it should smell good. Is it fruity or nutty? She instructed us to put the rim of the glass under our noses with your nose in the glass. After smelling it then stand the glass on the table and swirl the wine, then smell again. You should notice a change now that it has bee aerated.3. Taste – it should taste fruity and nice. Take a sip and swish it around in your mouth, feel in on your gums. Does it make you pucker? Is it too acidic?
|Table Setting for Lunch|
|Towers of San Gimignano|
The drive back to the hotel was quiet and we enjoyed all the wonderful Tuscan views along the way. We arrived at the hotel and we had a couple of hours until dinner so I worked a little on the blog and getting things packed up for our trip to Venice tomorrow. We met Dave and Deanne in the lobby at 7:15pm and then we made our way to dining room for dinner. They served Ravioli with pepper cream & chives, beef stew with aubergines and cream pudding. It wasn’t a great dinner in fact the beef stew & aubergines was downright nasty. Over all it was a great day and we enjoyed the winery and San Gimignano tremendously even though it was one of our busiest days. Tomorrow is an early day as we make our way to Venice.