Drops of Jupiter…And a Little Bit of Heaven
In May 2018, I spent a delightful week in Tuscany. I wasn’t alone, though. Melody, author of the blog, Meals With Mel accompanied me on this little adventure around Florence and the Tuscan countryside. We had a fabulous time wandering around the beautiful city of Florence and marveling at the many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture—including the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. We visited The Galleria dell’ Accademia which displays Michelangelo’s, “David” sculpture as well as the Uffizi Gallery which exhibits Botticelli’s, “The Birth of Venus.” Once in the countryside, we enjoyed lots of sunshine and blue skies while truffle hunting at a beautiful farm and vineyard called, Fattoria Santa Vittoria. And, of course, we had some of the most beautiful wines in the world—mainly, but not entirely, comprised of the Sangiovese grape, an Italian red grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, “the blood of Jupiter.”
For those of you who may not be familiar with the wines of central Italy, The Apennine mountains, which run the length of the Italian Peninsula, dominate the wine regions of this area. Grapes are planted in the hills and valleys of this mountain range with altitude providing a moderating influence on the hot climate. It’s also important to mention that the coastal areas on both sides of the country benefit from cooling sea breezes; for example, the region of Bolgheri. This wine region is known for its Super-Tuscans which are based on Bordeaux grape varieties (i.e., Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon). These cooler temperatures help the grapes maintain good levels of acidity and give an elegance to the wines.
Speaking of the coast, Tuscany stretches down the western coast of central Italy, and the region can be divided into three parts: the mountainous Chianti region in the north, the hills and valleys to the south, and the flat coastal plain. Sangiovese is the main and most prestigious grape throughout these three areas making wines with high levels of acidity and tannin. The wines have aromas of red cherries, plums, and dried herbs. Also, they are typically aged for a period of time in oak to soften the tannins and sometimes add spicy flavors; with bottle age, the wines can develop meaty and gamey aromas as well. You will find Sangiovese grapes in Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and others.
Thanks for joining us on our little “soul vacation” and “sail across the sun!” 🙂