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Chianti Wine Tasting in Tuscany- Italy

My best friend and her sister from home (Colorado) came all the way out to visit me in Florence and we all went on a wine tasting in Chianti. I am taking a “Culture of Food and Wine” class so I was excited to learn more about the wine that is Tuscany’s claim to fame and test some of my knowledge. We went through a travel agency a friend had recommended and all three of us had literally one of the best days of our entire lives thus far.

This is a photo from where we stopped in San Gimignano. We drove through the “rolling hills of Tuscany” to get to this great little spot. There was a little town with shops, etc. and a famous gelato shop here.

This is an example of one of the beautiful little buildings covered in vines in the town of San Gimignano.

A classic il gato adorning the quaint little walkway in the San Gimignano area. Meow. 

This is the outside of the famous Gelato shop Dondoli Gelateria. Located in Piazza della Cisterna. This is a renowned shop that has a list of attendees that is comparable to an Oscar Red Carpet line-up. It has received the Gelato World Champion title 2006-2009.

There were only two men behind the counter at this famous gelato shop, one was in fact Sergio Dondoli himself. He greeted all of his guests like they were family and he sang in a baritone voice as he scooped my cup of Raspberry Rosemary gelato (his favorite flavor). The walls in this gelato shop were filled with photos of Sergio and iconic people including Miss Italia! We of course needed a photo with this charismatic artist. The gelato was delicious!

This photo is of two new friends we made during the tour in front of the San Gimignano hills. A student studying in Milan and her mother who was visiting her. They both were so outgoing and it was so sweet to see these two experiencing such a spectacular day together. 

This is the meal that was served as we wine-tasted. The man that went through the different kinds of wine and spoke with great passion. And I quote “wine is poetry, fantasy, and love.” This man had everyone taste the different items with every sip of the different wines. It was interesting to see which wines tasted better with the salty pecorino cheese or the olive oil and bread. Different wines brought out different tastes in the food. The most important thing I’ve learned about wine is “wine must be enjoyed with food. Always.” It tied back into my class perfectly, I was able to tell people in the group about the DOCG, IGF, and DOC labels that go onto wines. Essentially wine is a regulated product and these labels prove their value and are so vital that if one were to make these labels themselves it is like printing fake money.

We went from this vineyard to another. This is another view of the Chianti region that took my breath away. At this point in the tour I was having what I like to call an “Italy moment.” The hills were postcard worthy and the weather was perfect. At this vineyard we went into an area where pictures were not allowed. There were these large basins and wooden-barrels full of wine aging. We learned that some of the bins were still very new and were therefore still warm and that others were at different stages in their life.

At this vineyard was a barn we were escorted into to see just another aspect of the vineyard concept. The vineyards are living breathing businesses that have steers raised for their meat. We made friends with the oldest one closest to us in this picture, he was so gentle as we pet the top of his head.

An action shot of what I call an “Italy moment.” My best friend and I holding hands walking down the hills of Tuscany on a Chianti wine tour. Ahead of us are other members in the group that we really got to know during the 7 hours of touring. They were a family from America, the wife was a member of the U.S. Navy and she was stationed in Naples. By the end of the day we were all hugging and kissing eachother goodbye. We made plans for me to come down to Naples later this month to visit and have the famous Margherita pizza the city birthed.

This is all the girls that were a part of the wine tasting that day. We made it an all girls photo and the husbands, brothers, and friends were our photographer. It was great to have a mix of Americans, students, mothers, friends, Australians, a gal from Belize, and one from Spain!

Danee Chavez is the CEA Fall 2012 MOJO in Florence, Italy

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