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Andy's SOMM-er Vacation to Italy

Wednesday, 12 June 2024 14:34
tuscany
 
News Release: June 12th, 2004
About: Andy's SOMM-er Vacation
 
Join Ciao Asheville and Andy Hale as he hosts a presentation on his one week trip for wine professionals to Italy on Thursday, July 18th from 5:30 to 6:30 @MetroWines on Charlotte Street. The cost for the evening, including wine, is $35 (plus tax).
 
This trip, which Andy survived! is often called "The Murder March" because it, although gorgeous and tasty, IS an intensive immersion into Italian wine from the land to the wineries to the food pairings.
 
Andy has hard facts, legends, true stories and pictures. Together with this vicarious trip through Italy, we will pour wine from the wineries that hosted Andy including (I am not making this up!) the "make out" wine of Puglia! The hour presentation is told as only Andy can!!
 
To give you an idea of the fun that awaits, read Anyd's Journal on MetroWines Blog here:
 
Wheels UP! Call (828) 575-9525 to reserve your seat 
or go online here: https://metro-wines.shoplightspeed.com/events/
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Contact for MetroWines; Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
(828) 575-9525
 


Andy's Final Journal Entry From Italy

Sunday, 09 June 2024 08:35
BuonViaggio Italy! Andy's Final Journal Entry!
On the Road to Barbaresco!
 
My last full day in Italy started with a groan. I got some sleep, nearly 7 hours, but it didn’t seem to be enough for my sleep deprived, alcohol soaked body. It seemed like getting almost 8 hours of sleep was enough to remind my body of what it was needing, but not enough to give it what it required. All day I was distracted, my mind wandered. I was hitting a wall. After numerous cappuccinos (it was before 11:00 so it was ok, according to Dominico), I was resembling a normal human being again. We boarded the bus and headed for Barbaresco.
 
When I was learning about wine, I thought that Barbaresco was sort of like “Diet Barolo,” useful for when you feel like drinking Barolo, but you don’t have the money for it and you want something cheaper. This is not the case at all! Barbaresco is a small commune to the Northeast of Barolo, also growing high quality Nebbiolo there. Barolo is known as the “King of Nebbiolo” and Barbaresco is the “Queen.” Compared to the Barolo, the Nebbiolo here tends to be slightly more delicate, elegant and pretty, but still retaining that core of leathery tannin that characterizes Nebbiolo. It took me a while to realize this about myself, but I like Barbaresco better than Barolo. I realize that is a controversial statement. Barbaresco is like a ballet dancer or an Olympic Gymnast; lithe, elegant and beautiful but with a power and strength that you wouldn’t expect from such a thin, elegant creature.
 
We drove to Marchesi di Gresy, one of the most iconic and old wineries in Barbaresco. They actually own all of the sub appelation Martinenga, making them a Monopole, which is very rare and special. We were met by the youngest generation of owners, a brother and sister, who took us on a tour of the winery, and then tasted us on their wines.
As predicted, the wines here were excellent! For whites, they showed us a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay from Langhe, which were elegant and mineral driven. I was reminded of Sancerre and Burgundy. We then tasted the Dolcetto, Barbera and several different Barbarescos. All were lovely, the Martinenga Barbaresco was one of the best I have ever had.
 
After the tasting, we were allowed to walk through the steep, hillside vineyards. I was impressed by the white, chalky soil throughout the vineyard. No wonder these wines had such excellent minerality! After our walk, we had a leisurely lunch until about 4:00 in the afternoon, and then headed to the ancient Medieval town of Alba for some shopping and, believe it or not, dinner and more wine. We arrived at the hotel in Milan around midnight again.
 
As I am writing this, I am sitting in the Milan airport waiting for my flight back to the USA. I got about 5 hours of sleep and I’m actually glad to not be tasting wine today. Yes, you can actually have too much of a good thing.  Before I left the USA, I joked that this trip might be similar to when you catch your kid with a bag of pot in their bedroom and force them to smoke all of it as punishment. Except in this case, instead of pot, it’s Italian wine. Fortunately, I haven’t lost my taste for Italian wine, although I may take most of the day off from drinking today and dry out a little. I feel certain that tomorrow will see me uncorking a bottle of Chianti or Nebbiolo again. 
 
This trip has been something I will think about for the rest of my life. I learned so much, and being able to set foot in the actual vineyards of these famous wineries was an almost religious experience for me. I made a lot of new friends from around the country; brilliant, funny and extremely knowledgeable about wine. It was fun to be able to make some really nerdy statements about wine like, “this reminds me of older vintage Madiran” or “this wine drinks like a St. Joseph, but this other wine is more like a Cote Rotie” and have a room full of people know exactly what I was talking about! I sincerely hope we are able to stay in touch and that our paths will cross again one day.
For now I’m looking forward to getting back home and sharing my adventures with all of you, after about 36 hours or so of sleep! Arrivederci a tutti!
 
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Bastille Day 2024

Saturday, 08 June 2024 12:59

bastille monet
                                   By Claude Monet

SOLD OUT!

News Release: Saturday, June 8th, 2024
About: Bastille Day with Asheville Sister Cities & MetroWines

   The Asheville Sister Cities Saumur Committee will host its annual Bastille Day Celebration and Fundraiser from 2 to 4 pm on Sunday July 14, 2024 at Metro Wines latest venture, Quench! located in Reynolds Village in Woodfin. 
 
"This year is special for us @MetroWines in celebrating "a revolution in thinking" on Bastille Day. The Saumur Committee for the Asheville Sister Cities was our first partner, showing their faith in a small wine store, when we opened on Charlotte Street in 2013 and we have been amis since then," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "And now, we open Quench! in Reynolds Village in Woodfin. So many said not to open a restaurant there. They said no one knows where it is! They said no one will come! We say if we build it, and we did! you will come. So, in the spirit of "a revolution in thinking" and friendship, join us on Bastille Day at Quench!
 
   And this year, the Saumur Committee says you will not want to miss a special art auction with original ceramics and other objets d'art. There will also be an exciting Saumur-themed raffle prize, generously donated by recent UNCA graduate in French and local artist Adrien Meierovitch.  

   There will be hors d’oeuvres (Charcuterie, fromage, crudités, fruits de mer) provided by Quench! Chef Sam Etheridge, paired by MetroWines with wines from Saumur, France in the Loire Valley. 
 
   Tickets are $46 for ASCI members and $55 for non-members plus NC sales tax. tickets are Limited. Act NOW! All proceeds will support ASCI programming and Saumur Committee projects, including the upcoming educational career-development exchange. To kick off the program, Saumur student Camille Hudon, recent graduate of the tourism program in Saumur, will be our guest of honor.  
 
Go HERE for tickets:
https://ashevillesistercities.org/event/2024-bastille-day/
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Contact for MetroWines - Gina Trippi 
cell (8280 273-5348
Contact for Quench! - John Kerr
cell: (828) 200-6504
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
(828) 575-9525


Andy's Journal Entry #7

Saturday, 08 June 2024 12:35
Andy's Journal Entry #7
BAROLO!
 
In the morning, we left the lovely Hotel Calissano, which incidentally, I couldn’t stop singing the name to the tune of Hotel California, and would continue to do so for the entire day and the next morning, and left for Barolo. So, I should mention, Nebbiolo, the grape of Barolo and Barbaresco, is probably my favorite grape varietal, and the wines grown here are my favorite expression of it. It has the delicacy of Pinot Noir, the power of Cabernet Sauvignon and is one of the most versatile food pairing wines in the world in my opinion. 
 
I have read so much about Barolo and Barbaresco, studied maps of single vineyards, read about the culture, the unique language they have there, the climate, the food. Basically I have been a huge Piemontese nerd for over 20 years and the idea of actually getting to go there has got to be up there with, I don’t know, a literature dork getting to go visit Narnia or Lothlorien or a movie geek getting to visit the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine or something. In other words, the idea of setting foot in the actual vineyards that I have read about for decades seemed so exciting and surreal.
 
We started our day at the urban winery of Enrico Serafino, which was located in the Alte Langhe, to the North East of Barolo proper. To make Barolo, you have to have a winery located within the DOCG area, although Enrico Serafino has been making Barolo for over a hundred years and they are grandfathered in. The manager of Enrico Serafino, Nico, greeted us at the entrance. He was sharply dressed in a wine-colored paisley suit, a suit that only an upper-class Italian could pull off, smoking the end of a small cigar. He escorted us through his winery, showing us the old tunnels under the building.
 
Afterwards we gathered in his office for the wine tasting, a recent Wine Spectator magazine was opened to a photo of him sniffing a glass of sparkling wine. 
As we drove through the hilly landscape of Barolo, I was surprised when our tour guide Kristen, announced that we weren’t going to the Vietti winery initially, we were going to meet the winemaker and export manager in the hilltop town of Diano D’Alba. We departed our bus and walked up, up, up, eventually getting to a small park at the very highest point of the town, we were literally eye level with the belltower which rose above the huge cathedral in the town.
 
The winemaker Eugenio and Urs, the export manager greeted us with wine glasses and began to explain the landscape of the Barolo region that spanned around us. They pointed out each of the small cru’s of Barolo while we tasted wine from those small vineyard areas. They pointed out the terroir differences of each area; the closeness to the river, the sandy soil here, the wind from the Alps flowing unobstructed through this area, while we tasted the wines which were made from the grapes in each tiny vineyard. It was an absolutely incredible thing to see the small little square patch of green, sometimes they were about a dozen rows of grapes or so, and to try the wine made from it. It was hard to believe that such a small patch of grape vines could even produce a bottle of wine at all! This was hands down the best wine tasting I have ever had in my life, and I think I’ve probably already said that in my previous journal entries.
 
After this unbelievable tasting, we went to tour the winery of Vietti in the Medieval town of Castiglione Falletto. We walked through the ancient tunnels and cellars under the building and tasted the rest of the wines that they make. Their Barolo’s were excellent, of course, but they make serious, ageable Barbera as well! After the tasting we had another multi course meal, accompanied by Vietti’s wines. The Timorasso was very good, but extremely difficult to get, and we had the opportunity to taste some extremely old Barbera and Barolo’s that evening. The meal was excellent and the wines, outstanding.
 
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Miquel Torres Wine Tasting

Friday, 07 June 2024 14:43
torres
 
News Release: June 7th, 2024
About: Tasting with Torres Winery, Chile
 
Join us on Monday, June 24th from 4 to 6pm @MetroWines to taste 4 wines from Miguel Torres, Chile, "at the bar" and "on the house." Daniel Marquez, the US Sales Manager will host the event "at the bar" and "on the house." Daniel Marquez will pour and discuss a Sparkling Brut Rosé, a Carignan, a Carmenere and a Sauvignon Blanc.
 
With a presence in over 100 countries, the Miguel Torres family winery has established itself over the past 30 years as one of the main producers of high-quality wines, through its products’ identity, respect for the environment, and social responsibility. And more often one of the bottles has received over 90 points from Robert Parker!
 
About the Winery: 
Miguel Torres, Chile, was founded in 1979 by Familia Torres, who has produced wine in Spain for over 150 years. Being the first foreign winery to establish itself in Chile, Miguel Torres introduced in the country the use of stainless-steel tanks in fermentation and French oak barrels for aging, technologies that opened a new horizon for the Chilean wine industry. 
 
The pioneering spirit of Miguel Torres Chile is more alive than ever guiding projects such as Estelado, the first sparkling wine made with Pais grape which led the rescue of traditional but forgotten varieties, or ¨Empedrado¨, first Pinot Noir from slate soil in Chile and one of the most challenging projects of the winery. From the North down to Patagonia, Miguel Torres Chile seeks for the best terroirs where every growing region has its own stamp on the wines. Miguel Torres Chile is actively committed to the environment and to the people; all its vineyards are certified organic, and it is one of the biggest wineries certified with Fair Trade. Today, Miguel Torres is leading the recovery of ancestral varieties from the South of Chile, rescuing a unique heritage of the traditional winemaking. 
 
Meet Daniel Marquez here:

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Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
(828) 575-9525


Andy's Journal Entry #6

Friday, 07 June 2024 09:39
Andy's Journal Entry #6 
Lambrusco!
 
        The next morning, after a few hours of sleep, we rose and went down into the lobby for breakfast. We consumed a reckless amount of espresso and cappuccino, along with delicious pastries, fruit, eggs and bacon. Our driver Dominico, explained to us that Cappuccino is fine for breakfast, but you shouldn’t order it after 11:00, or everyone will think you are German. Only espresso after 11:00. I find these little cultural details so interesting.

        We drove to Emilia Romagna from Tuscany, it took about 3 hours, leaving the land of Sangiovese behind and heading into the land of Balsamic Vinegar, Parma ham and Lambrusco. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Lambrusco, so I wasn’t overly excited about this visit. Don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for Lambrusco, but it just has never really been my thing. The rolling hills of Tuscany eventually gave way to the flat, sun drenched vineyards of Emilia Romagna, our bus eventually stopping at Cleto Chiarli, the oldest winery in Lambrusco. 
       
       After meeting Tomasso, the export manager and member of the current generation of owners of Cleto Chiarli, he took us on a tour of the winery. It is located in an old Villa, and one of Italy’s most famous generals lived on the property. He showed us the vineyards, which were so hot, and the fermentation tanks. I got to see a Charmat Method tank, which I have explained to my students in my classes, but have never actually seen. We asked him so many questions about winemaking and he patiently answered them all for us.

        Next, we went upstairs in the Villa for a tasting of his wines. They were actually very good and not really what I expected Lambrusco to be. There are two kinds of Lambrusco grapes, technically there are more but without getting exhaustingly technical, let’s just focus on two; Lambrusco Sorbara and Lambrusco Grasparossa. The wines made from Sorbarra were delicate and light, almost rosé in color, with high acidity and flavors of strawberries, sour cherries and an almost Muscadine-like spiciness in the finish. The Grasparossa wines were darker in color and more muscular, with more tannin, and more of a cooked blackberry flavor. 

        Only one in the tasting had any residual sugar, the rest being Brut. The Amabile, a medium dry style, was lovely. The little bit of residual sugar seemed like a shock to my taste buds after so much scorchingly dry, high acid Lambrusco. It was nice, emphasizing the fruit and balancing out the acid a bit. Instead of a bitterly acidic blackberry, it was more like a blackberry pie that you forgot to add enough sugar to. 

        After our tasting, we were treated to a fantastic lunch, full of Parma ham, balsamic vinegar and homemade cheese ravioli. The rumor is true, in Italy they will keep filling up your plate, and you are expected to eat it. I was painfully full when I left Cleto Chiarli. After lunch, we left for Piemonte, probably my favorite wine region in the world. I have read about this place for so long, studied maps, read about soil types and climate, but I haven’t never been there. It was a magical feeling driving towards it, the promise of Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Gavi di Gavi exciting me. 

        That night we had a free night in Asti, we walked around, shopped and had a wonderful dinner outside in the city. It was nice to cut loose again after so much intense, studious wine tasting. When I arrived at the hotel, I resisted the urge to go out partying in the city of Alba. Tomorrow we visit Barolo, and I want to be at my best for that!
 
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Andy's Journal Entry #5

Thursday, 06 June 2024 09:34
Andy's Journal Entry #5
The Tuscan Trail
 
We got to the hotel around midnight and were dressed, fed and back on the bus at 8:30 the following morning. The informal name for this trip among the staff at the importer is the “Death March,” because of the extreme amount of regions and wineries visited in such a short time. I was aware of this before I agreed to go, my wine rep friend told me he went on it 5 or 6 years ago. He said it was amazing and life changing, but very difficult. 
 
I feel like my group started to feel it this morning; conversation was just a little muted, everyone was a little slower. The excitement was still there, but it was relatively quiet on the bus to Tuscany. Even wine tasting in paradise can become exhausting after a while, especially on 4-6 hours of sleep per night. All of us seemed to be kept alive by the wonderful espresso, which fortunately was everywhere.
 
The drive to Chianti was lovely, the familiar rolling hills and cypress trees were so iconic, I felt like I was driving through a travel brochure or a movie set in the sepia tones of Hollywood’s artificial movie version of Tuscany. It was foreign but so familiar.
 
Our first stop was the famous Chianti producer, Badia I Coltibuono. Our bus, led by our driver, Dominico, somehow navigated the steep, narrow, strada a tornanti switchback roads as we ascended high into the mountains. The ancient monastery that houses the winery eventually came into view, it is over 1000 years old. Roberto Stucchi, the owner of the winery suddenly appeared in our bus after we stopped. Roberto studied viticulture at UC Davis and worked at Chapellet for a year before returning home to Coltibuono, his english was perfect and almost unaccented.
 
He took us on a long tour of the grounds, it was ancient and incredibly serene. I’m not sure if it was because it used to be a monastery, but my group grew uncharacteristically quiet, walked a little slower, seemed to contemplate life. It was one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. If you are ever vacationing in Tuscany, I highly recommend staying at Badia I Coltibuono, they have rooms you can stay in there.
 
The wines at Coltibuono were excellent; most of the grapes came from higher altitude areas which gave the wines a little higher acidity and slightly more earth. They walked a nice line between tart cherry, cranberry and earth and leather. Overall, these wines were a little more of an elegant expression of Chianti than some of the other Chianti’s I have tasted, grown on the valley floor. 
 
After a lovely lunch in the most gorgeous outdoor setting, overlooking the valley below, we boarded the bus again and headed to the less known DOCG of Carmignano to visit the ancient winery of Capezzana. 15 minutes after we left Coltibuono, the entire bus was asleep. Carmignano is just to the north of Florence, the gorgeous estate of Capezzana resides high on a hill overlooking the valley below. Not quite as high altitude as Coltibuono, but enough to give us a lovely view. We were met by Beatrice, the owner, who showed us her vineyards and olive groves. She had a kind but intense demeanor, I really liked her! Carmignano is a DOCG that I had never heard of before, which, as an Italian wine nerd, was a surprise to me. I like to think that I know all of Italy’s wine regions, but this one was new to me. 
 
Apparently, the Medici’s lived in Florence, but in the summertime, it got to be too hot for their liking, so they made some lovely villas up in the mountains of Carmignano to stay cool. One of the Medici’s married someone from Bordeaux, apologies for the vagueness of that sentence, she told us this after drinking wine at lunch at Coltibuono and I was feeling tired. Because of the Bordeaux marriage, they began planting Uva Francese, or Cabernet Franc, which became a part of the blend at Carmignano. They typically use Cabernet Sauvignon nowadays, and the typical blend is usually 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet.
 
We were treated to a tasing of the wines inside the ancient Villa, dating back to 800 AD. I was surprised by the power of these wines, they were dense, dark, incredibly tannic and nearly unapproachable. One of the wines we tasted was a 10 year old version of their Carmignano blend, it was more ready to drink, but still extremely tannic and dense. I wrote down in my notes, needs another 5-10 years? While the power and quality of these wines was evident, they seemed to need so much time to age! The only exception being their little, entry level rosso, Barco Real, which was fun, bright and full of red cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors. 
 
We had dinner next, on an outdoor veranda overlooking the valley below, another absolutely stunning view! During this multi course meal, which is apparently typical in Italy, lasted about 4 hours, we were served some old bottles of the wines we tried earlier from their cellar. We started off with a 2008 vintage of their Carmignano next to a 1998 Carmignano. The 2008 was approaching its drinking window, and opened up in my glass. The 1998 was drinking perfectly! Think Brunello, but heavier and more powerful! It took 25 years for this wine to reach its peak. 
 
With the next course, we had the Ghiai della Furba IGT, their version of a Supertuscan. Mostly Cab, with 20% Merlot and 20% Syrah. We had the 2020 version earlier, which was palette destroyingly tannic. The 2013 and 2005 vintages we were served at dinner were much more enjoyable; spicy, pruny, peppery and very powerful. They could have gone another 5 years or so, but they went very well with the Peposo we were served, a heavily peppered stewed beef dish.
 
Also of note, was the Vin Santo, a slightly oxidized dessert wine. I had never had the opportunity to try a dessert wine before this trip. As of this evening, I had tried 4. They were all excellent, and very different from each other. The Vin Santo at Coltibuono was, like Roberto’s other wines, lighter, fresher and more apricot forward. The Vin Santo from Capezzana is famous, it won the best dessert wine in the world 4 times and routinely has very high scores in the US magazines as well, typically scoring around 97 points. It did not disappoint. Salted caramel, apricot, and a hint of espresso. I then finished my night with the Grappa that they make on the property as well. It must be so nice to like this all the time!
 
We arrived at the hotel around midnight again. Tomorrow promises another early morning followed by more travel. Tomorrow we head to Emilia Romagna, Lambrusco country. The only winery on our docket for tomorrow is Cleto Chiarli, the thought of only visiting one winery instilling our group with relief. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little more relaxed.
 
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Andy's Journal Entry #4

Thursday, 06 June 2024 08:09
Andy' Journal Entry #4
Marche
 
  Our trip to Marche was lovely, the landscape similar to the rolling green hills of Abruzzo. Garofoli is located directly on the main thoroughfare, the winery is over 100 years old and the road in front of it leads to an ancient holy site, reportedly the site of Mary’s birth and supposedly transported to Marche from Palestine by angels. While I doubt angels actually transported the gigantic building that overlooks the winery from the mountain above us, the stones were apparently actually from Palestine, our hosts claimed.

   The wine tasting at Garofoli was the best I have ever experienced in my life, and believe me when I say that in that I have been to a lot of wine tastings is a gigantic understatement! It is run by Daria and Gianluca Garofoli, a mother and son, and they were two of the funniest and warmest human beings I have ever met. We were joined by David, their intergalactic director of sales, and he and Gianluca were basically a comedy duo. The wines were amazing and extremely well priced from start to finish. They specialize in whites from Verdicchio di Castillo di Jesi, and reds made from Montepulciano (the grape, not the place. More on that later), from the areas of Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno. We have carried the “Piancarta” Rosso Conero nearly since we opened our doors at Metro Wines. It is one of my favorites to recommend and as always, it didn’t disappoint.

   After the tasting they took us to the nearby seaside village of Sirolo for lunch. It was a restaurant overlooking the ocean that they knew of. We walked over to the ocean where we could see Monti Conero, where the Rosso Conero is grown, a huge rock jutting dramatically out of the stunningly blue waters of the Adriatic. To say the view was incredible is, again, an understatement. 

   After staring at the incredible views, we had lunch at an authentic seafood restaurant, Trattoria Osteria Sara, where we proceeded to have what is doubtless the craziest meal I have ever had! Incredible seafood kept coming out of the kitchen and the wine kept flowing. 3 kinds of sparkling vermentino with fresh tuna carpaccio, fresh out of the water, seasoned only with black sea salt and local olive oil. Enormous anchovies followed, with Garofoli “Macrina” Verdiccio. Clams, mussels, chopped octopus and snails, served in little whelk shells followed that. Amaro, espresso, and then dessert. The conversation got louder and louder, David and Gianluca sat with us and joked with us. I felt like I knew them forever, like we were family. I felt like an Italian, not a tourist. It was the most amazing dining experience I have ever had. I feel like I’ll be chasing that feeling again for the rest of my life.

   We were hours late for our next appointment when we stumbled back to our bus. We loaded up and drove through the tunnels cut into the Apenine Mountains, through Umbria and into Tuscany. The craggy, Alp-like mountains gave way to the familiar rolling hills and cypress trees of Tuscany. I napped on the way after getting completely drunk at lunch.

   That evening we met with Poliziano, just outside the famous Medieval city of Montepulciano (the place, not the grape). They are famous for their Vino Nobile de Montepulciano made from the Prugnolo Gentile grape, a thick skinned clone of Sangiovese. Our still lightly toasted group did our best to listen as we took a tour of the marvelous winery. 

   This place was run by Federico Carletti and his son Francesco. While we toured their palatial estate, they explained their winemaking philosophy and how they were dealing with the dramatic effects of climate change. The two butted heads occasionally on how they thought the wine should be made, Federico preferring to keep things traditional; heavy, ageable, oaked wines while Francesco suggested going for a lighter, newer style, ready to drink with minimal aging and no oak. It was very interesting to hear them politely debating each other.

   After the tour, we tasted through the wines they make; rich, velvety reds made from Sangiovese and also some newer wines made from Merlot and Cabernet. They were all extremely good!

   Dinner followed, a huge display of antipasti, put together by Fabio, their chef. After I had eaten my fill, Fabio took away our plates as if the meal was over. But it wasn’t. A huge plate of homemade bolognese followed, not resembling what I make back home in the slightest, and then a fig torte and Vin Santo. The Vin Santo was almost overwhelmingly complex; flavors of espresso, apricot, salted caramel, and old furniture. It was one of the most gorgeous flavors I have ever had in my life and my first Vin Santo experience.

   We left Poliziano around midnight, all of us were exhausted from so much drinking and lack of sleep the night before. There was some talk about going out on the town which was immediately shut down almost unanimously. We needed sleep, we had another big day of tasting tomorrow. Tomorrow we head into Chianti.
 
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