Our Montepulciano winery tour began with four fellow Americans from Florida, Eva, myself and Vincenzo, the driver of our mini bus. Most of these Tuscan wineries are not easily accessible by bus or train, so tours are small and access is limited to autos. Vincenzo’s mini bus took us to four small wineries along narrow paved and gravelly dirt roads lined with rows and rows of vineyards. We toured a lovely winery called Tenuta Valdipiatta with a mangy vineyard dog that resembled Scooby Doo, and Boscarelli.
Boscarelli was having an early harvest of Sangiovese and Malvasia when we arrived. The smell at harvest is intoxicating—like sticking your nose into a bottle of fresh grape juice. Crates and palates were stacked 5 feet high overflowing and waiting for processing. This was clearly a work day and it appeared they were not prepared for a spontaneous tour, but welcomed us with a discussion of the winemaking process and a winery tour and a walk through a cold cellar full of oak casks. The tour was concluded with Lucca, the winery owner and winemaker. Lucca de Ferrari Corradi and his family have been producing Boscarelli wine for four decades, and their site has the prime microclimate that is ideal for top quality Nobiles with a sandy and stony soil that is conducive to good drainage.
During our travels, I always enjoyed the Italian artisans delight in sharing their wares. From the butcher in Pietrasanta with his prosciutto, the linen purveyor in Pienza, and Lucia’s red bell pepper crostini. Lucca was no exception. He excitedly popped corks and poured generous tastings of Nobile. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is 80% Sangiovese grape, about 12 – 14 percent alcohol and one of only four Tuscan wines to have a DOCG, a designation of high quality given by the government. The youthful Nobile we tasted had a dark ruby color and deep aroma of cherry and vanilla, full bodied flavor with slight tannins and finish of spice that I’ve come to expect of Italian reds and envision drinking with a pasta Bolognese. Our tasting concluded with a tiny cordial of estate Vin Santo. Vin Santo is made of primarily Trebbiano Malvasia and Grechetto grapes that are picked and dried to a raisin-like quality that yields a small concentration of sweet apricot-colored liqueur. Tuscan tradition is to serve Vin Santo after dinner that you would sip and dunk with cantucci . At this point of the tour I was wishing we didn’t have to drive back to Terrapille and could leisurely enjoy the rest of the wine and watch the harvest.
Nessun problema! We continued the wine afterglow with a picnic by Terrapille’s pool with more Nobile, local pecorino, prosciutto, mortadella, and a Tuscan sunset. Sigh….