A Meaningful Recollection

When my mind needs a lull from the hub-bub and stress of daily life, I often reminisce about times spent in the Italian regions of Tuscany and Umbria.  I correlate those memories with the rich winemaking culture of these areas and wonder what it would have been like to make wine there, as they have for hundreds of years.

I find it rather easy to drift into a corner of my mind where these past memories live.  I can recall my wanderlust of Italy as I strolled through villages in the Tuscan and Umbrian regions, tasting local wines.  I sipped the famous Tuscan Chianti Classicos and rich Brunello’s of Montalcino.  I remember being enamored with the Umbrian reds of Montefalco and fell in love with the enchanting countryside that surrounded this incredible country.

Spending time in the beautiful cities of Siena, Florence, Perugia and Assisi was magical.  Exploring the vast medieval wonders of these ancient places was intoxicating.  I made sure to browse every local enoteca while savoring the local cheeses and olive oils made fresh in each of these cities.

It is in these picturesque places I developed my crush on the Sangiovese grape, the principle grape used for wine produced in the Tuscan region.  It is also the only grape used when making the famous Brunellos Di Montalcino (currently under fire) and remains the base wine used for crafting Chianti.

Sangiovese is the star grape of central Italy and widely planted in the Umbrian region.  This peaceful countryside is a pristine example of old world living and one of the hilliest areas I remember from my travels. 

It is here that winemaking traditions reach back to the Etruscans and Romans, but like Burgundy, viticultural practices and winemaking were developed and enhanced by the monks during medieval times.

I can recall the vineyards dotting this land, full of ripe, red fruit, ready for harvest.  The long and often wide conical Sangiovese clusters hung heavily on the vines, waiting to be coaxed into the next great vintage.  It moved me.

2006 Falesco Sangiovese, Umbria Italy $10

When I came across this bottle the other day, just the label and the mention of Umbria evoked many of the memories I hold dearly.

The affordable price and recent good ratings were the deal clincher for this bottle.  I really had no other choice than to take it for a basket ride to the check-out counter.  Can you blame me?

Sangiovese is often a bold and robust wine that pairs well with hearty dishes.  Since we were barbecuing rib-eye steaks yesterday evening, this wine became the perfect accompaniment.

The first impression on the nose is an enticing and fragrant red cherry aroma.  As that fades, dried floral notes become apparent.  Sangiovese wine is often tannic by nature.  The tannic overtones are well integrated into this wine. Highlights of black tea leaves and tobacco come pouring through.  A nice finish rounds out the balance.

This is a nice bottle to enjoy now, but will do well if held onto for a while.

So what did you all have to drink last night?  Anything mind-blowing?

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  1. Wow…your description of Italy and roaming the country side dotted with vineyards has me lolling about in a dream like state…barefoot and wearing a white cotton dress blowing in the breeze. What a great deal on the wine, and even better that it brought back those memories. We didn’t have anything worth mentioning yesterday..just regular old Spanish white.

  2. I am so jealous of you! I have never been to Italy, but intend to very shortly… Tonight I am drinking Riesling from Australia’s gorgeous Clare Valley; lots of lime and citrus notes, my favourite!

  3. Darby 3

    Yes Cathy, Sangiovese makes a lovely drink. But it needs some food. Maybe a pizza, maybe some Italian sausages, maybe some trippa…

    Hold on Haven’t I just written a cookbook about sangiovese!

  4. Stacy 4

    Unfortunately, I had a can of cherry Pepsi.

    I’m so jealous of your travels! Your time in Italy sounds wonderful. And now look at you–eating steaks and sipping wine by the pool. What a life!

  5. As usual, your post makes me want to go buy that same wine and cook the same meal – RIGHT NOW…even though it is only 6:30 a.m. Also, I want to go to Italy now…

    I had Dewars Scotch on the rocks…actually 2 of them – while riding around my with my man on his 4wheeler trying to solve world problems…

  6. What a lovely memory and description! Thanks for sharing.
    I had an unremarkable white with some remarkable women.

  7. Prepare yourself for this, I had…Water. I know, such a disappointment!

    I loved reading your memory…absolutely beautiful.

  8. Water here… But those are some wonderful memories. I wish I liked red wine, but the tannic quality is really off-putting to my taste buds!

  9. Tipper 9

    I’ve never been to Italy but would love to go! I really enjoyed your recollections.

  10. Trisha 10

    I don’t drink wine but I certainly love hearing about Italy!

  11. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and just drink wine non-stop. Sounds like heaven.

    I had nothing mind blowing last night to drink. Sam Adams Light. And it was so hot in the house that the beer was luke warm within minutes. So gross. :P

  12. A request: Please make a little list for this old lady that summarizes all your great recommendations to date. They are all so interesting AND well-priced. And I’m too sweaty to go back and try to find them all. I’m sure there are others of us out there that would love a Noble Shopping List. Kthx.

  13. Liz C. 13

    Last night we had the usual (same) wine that Mr. Snooty buys at Sams Club.

    The other night I tried discussing the exploration of new & different wines and his reply was… Do they sell it @ Sam’s.

    Aaaaaaaaaaargh! He might not be re-trainable at this point. Are they ever?

  14. I would love to go to Tuscany. One day I will – maybe once our dollar isn’t in the tank ;-)

    Last night I drank … water and an ultra beer – not really an inspiring vintage either ;-)

  15. Elle 15

    Cathy, the way you speak about wines makes me want to go out and buy them right away.

    What did i have to drink last night? link to laylita.com

    We’ve been drinking a lot of this lately.

  16. Another great wine tip. Thanks! I’ll have to check it out. I’m kind of like Mr. Snooty, except my store is Costco. :)

  17. Lex the Mom 17

    I am crying, now. I just want to go to Italy & see it all! Waaaaah!

    Really, though – you have been uber fortunate! Your story telling is gift like. Going there is one of my “things to do before I die”. Once my kids are grown, maybe.

    I just had some coffee & green iced tea to drink last night, nothing special.

  18. Mmmmm…. Snicker Doodles! I would not discuss it either! I’d just take it. I have not had a cookie in three weeks…

  19. Uh… hello? hello? I drank some lemonade that was left over from my son’s birthday bash and had been sitting on the counter for at least two days. It was not very good.

  20. Flea 20

    I know you don’t want to hear “Water” again, so I’ll make something up. I had a Zombie. Mmm.

  21. I have a soft spot for a sangiovese as well! Lovely post.

    We popped open a Jordan 2004 cab last night. I am hoping to finish it off tonight.

  22. Gator Aid and it wasn’t min d blowing.
    I loved your quick tour of the wine country of Italy and the bottle that got us the tour.

  23. ok, again– are you really living all of my dreams?? My drink, ovaltine. I know, I’m living large.
    And you saw Phantom WITH Sarah Brighton and Michael Crawford?! I’ve been trying to remember who was playing when I saw it in 1995– holy cow, I can’t imagine seeing it with those two. I may not have been able to contain myself…

  24. I miss wine. On June 26th I’ll finally end my vacation from alcohol, and then I’ll probably be drunk the entire month of July :)

  25. Perfect timing, I was just on my way out the door to get some wine.

  26. OMG how cool is that? You HAVE to read Extra Virgin Where Every Month of the Year is Enchanted. It’s an awesome memoir of two English sisters that redo a villa in the country. They totally describe the foos, wine and culture. It’s almost as good as a visit.

  27. jules 27

    Unfortunately it was soooo hot… ice tea was the best quencher…however, love the Tuscany region vines…they work well will a fine shroom dish:)

    Your blog is great…your keen insight is appreciated greatly!

  28. Lori 28

    I also like to reminisce like that…it often leads me to checking out travel booking sites though!

    And for yesterday, lets see…just water, green tea, and passion fruit juice. :)

  29. Your memories of Italy are making my mind drift off to my memories of Italy too! I am absolutely in love with Florence and I am dying to go back there!

  30. grace 30

    boy, what i wouldn’t give for a visit (or permanent relocation…) to tuscany or umbria or, quite frankly, anywhere in italy. i’m glad your time there left you with fond memories!

  31. This is lovely. I feel like I’m there, breathing it in and tasting it all.

    Except I’m not drinking wine right now. Which sucks.

  32. Tipper 32

    How nice you are! That had to take alot of time.

  33. I just found your blog… and I am glad I did!
    I just got home from two weeks in Tuscany~ just in the area you mentioned. I am in withdrawal as we speak!

  34. Mr. Grumpypants 34

    This brought back a nice memory. My wife and I honeymooned in Napa back in 1998. We stopped in at this little winery called Rutherford Grove. We sampled what in my mind is my favorite wine in my limited experience. It was a 96 Sangiovese. We purchased 4 bottles of it and have one left that we will share on our upcoming 10th anniversary in October. Thanks for the memory.


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