On Thursday, as our Taste of Tuscany tour group traveled to Siena, we made a stop to explore the medieval enclave of San Gimignano for a couple of hours. Joe and I wandered around and marveled at all the towers in this city. This was a place that, once upon a time, when the Conti family needed to keep up with the De Luca family, they built their tower just a little bit taller – at one point 72 of these towers existed which must have been an amazing sight indeed.
Raf, our tour guide, shared that when the hierarchy decided that no one could have a tower higher than that of the government, some very smart Italian one-upped everyone by building twin towers and connecting them. There are only 14 of the towers remaining, but the twin towers are still standing – at least the ones in San Gimignano.
After a couple of hours in San Gimignano, we traveled on our way to our next destination … a wine tasting at Tunata Torciano just a short drive away.
Learn more at http://www.torciano.com/USA/winery/.
The winery is located in beautiful Italian countryside and the gardens were starting to burst into bloom.
There were ducks and horses …
The setting was lovely and the day was perfect … sunny and warm.
Tunata Torciano has a lovely outdoor area to conduct its tastings. And they had barrels and barrels of the fruit of the vine …
And there was an enthusiastic instruction on how to taste wine conducted in Italian and sporadic English that involved covering your wine glass, swirling it around and exclaiming “Ay Yi Yi Yi Yi Yi!” It was entertaining for the group and I’m just assuming that the time it takes to say the phrase is about 10 seconds – the low end of the recommended swirl time to aerate wine.
And we were served some of Tunata’s olive oil … golden, green deliciousness …
Then the real entertainment began when Pierluigi Giachi, the winemaker, arrived in time for the tasting of the sweet wine. He asked for a volunteer and Deb either raised her hand or was unanimously nominated.
Okay, maybe Pierluigi didn’t really say all that, but I’m pretty sure that I recall the “love potion” as biscotti dipped in that sweet dessert wine. It was an entertaining and tasty way to spend an afternoon and everyone had a great time. Some folks drank more than others (it was a little early in the day) and a lot of folks ordered wine to have shipped home. No doubt, it was a happy bus ride on to Siena, our next glorious destination. Salute!