A day in wine country

Trip Start Apr 04, 2013
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Italy  ,
Monday, April 8, 2013

Today is one of the days I have been looking forward to. I wanted to make I took some time to see the Italian countryside and also see a vineyard / winery. This is my third continent I have visited wine country and all are ran completely different from each other
I started out around 8 to give myself enough time to walk to the other side of town to meet the wine tour guide. On the trek, I stopped by yet another great coffe shop. Here the pastry and coffee were a bit more ($3) but I took it to go since they charged double if you sat at their tables. So I took breakfast to go and walked toward the river and had amazing views to enjoy my morning latte.

9:00 - the wine journey begins. A small group of 6 people and our tour guide plopped down in the new van and were on our way to our first winery. It didn't take too long to get there and the views along the way were spectacular. Our guide took a couple stops along the way so we could get photo ops whenever we liked.

9:30 - we reach our first winery. The wineries in this region are fairly small compared to what I have seen in Napa and Sonoma. There are a lot of rules by the Italian government so in this respect bigger is not better. We took a quick tour around the property and then were seated with cheese, wine, and olive oil. It seemed a bit early to be sampling wine but we powered through it. The guide showed us how to test the wine which I have seen before but is always an entertaining site. After we had our fill of cheese and wine we were again on our way.

11:00 - pit stop. Our tour guide then took us to a small Tuscan town to look around and get a cup of coffee. They just can't live without coffee in Italy. There were fun things around the town square that made for great photo ops. One that we all wanted our picture around was the I heart black rooster which is the logo of the wines made in this region. As we approached lunch time, our bellies were starting to rumble for more than just cheese some headed onto the next spot

12:30 - butcher stop. For lunch we stopped by the restaurant of the most famous butcher in the world. There were great meats and food here and all of us left completely stuffed. We took a few minutes to pose around the bull outside and then were on our way to the last winery.

1:30 - the second winery was quite a bit different than the first. The guide explained what the different categories of wine were and took us around the property. Unlike most of the wines I know, the chianti wines are labled without the type of wine on the label. Since the government rules dictate the blend and grape variety you would know what you were getting by the region it was labeled with instead of knowing if a merlot, Cabernet, etc. At this spot we tried even more wines including a reserve and some of their super Tuscan wines. The olive oil was great here too. Also we were given the chance to try grappa ( the leftovers of the skins that they turn into an 80 proof alcohol). The grappa reminded me a lot of moonshine in its harsh and strong flavor.

After spending most of the day eating and drinking, we were ready to head back to the city.

I walk back through the city of Firenze, I say my goodbyes to the town for such a great time and make by journey towards the train. I love how great their public transportation is around here which made it easy to find the train to Rome. The train ride was quite quick. With only an hour and a half between the two cities, I didn't get much of the nap I was hoping for. At the beginning of the train ride was a beautiful rainbow. Hopefully that is the sign of great times ahead in Rome. After the brief train ride, I walked to my new place of stay. The room was just beautify and very spacious with a sitting room and anything else I might need during my 4 days here. After all the excitement and wine for the day, I was exhausted and called it a night.
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