If there is one thing the Italians love more than their food it is their wine. Or at least the tourists do. Today we went to the Unione Viticoltori di Panzano in Chianti other wise known as the Panzano Wine Festival. Essentially, the festival is a huge wine tasting event where intead of taveling from vineyard to vineyard to taste wine as you would do in Napa Valley, California or the North Fork of Long Island, NY, each taster purchases a wine glass with carrying pouch (think kangaroos) and hops from booth to booth tasting wines from various wineries. This festival has 17 wineries with booths, most booths have more than one wine to taste, so one person could taste about 34 wines, which equates to about seven glasses of wine in total. That's a lot of wine. And all for 12 Euro... for TWO days!
I tasted at eleven booths (I discarded lots of the tastings after one or two sips). This was my first experience of a wine tasting festival. At first I thought all the wines tasted the same, but then I was able to discern what I thought were good wines from the rest. My three favorite vineyards were: 1) Chianti Classico Reserve at Cennatoio, 2) Chianti Classico Reserve at Panzanello, 3) Rose at Vignole. For ambience, there was a band playing Pink Floyd and classic American rock'n'roll covers at the festival as well as wine inspired art painted by Luca Carfagna (with whom I am now in love with) displayed and for sale.
After the wine festival we headed to Badia a Passignano for dinner at La Cantinetta di Passignano where I must have ingested over 2,000 calories, all of which were well worth it. We started with a antipasti platter of Italian meats, cheeses, bruchettes, pates, tomatillos, jams, and arugula. For the primmi piatti we had the “Linguine Chef” which our waiter informed us was always fish based and that no matter what it was we would like. He was right. We were served fresh linguini in squid ink with tomatoes and little clams. I've always strayed from squid ink because it smells so salty in American Italian restaurants, but this was not too salty at all, it was perfect, so perfect I wouldn't let our waiter clear it from the table. For secundo piatti we had beef with fresh truffles. Oh. My. Goodness. And that is all I have to say about that.
Today was a day for my stomach, and tomorrow, with any luck, I will walk it all off. It is raining now (bad for the grapes but good for my allergies) so hopefully tomorrow will bring clear skies perfect for strolling around.