Family Wining

What I’m drinking this week:

My first love in the world of wine was with Chianti. Specifically, Ruffino Gold from the stunning region of Chianti Classico in Tuscany, Italy. This love started with, and has matured, across the table from my dad. I have many fond memories of sharing a bottle of Chianti alongside prosciutto, pasta, lots of laughs, and finishing off the meal with some Limoncello, of course. What in the world is better than sharing great wine and food with someone you love? It is certainly the Italian way, and though we are not Italian, we have inducted ourselves in the tradition.

On my most recent trip back east, my husband and I met up with my dad and stepmom and we were able to enjoy such a meal. This time we opted for a slightly more robust Italian red, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo by Torre Migliori. This lovely red hails from Canzano, a town in the province of Teramo in the Abruzzo region on the eastern side of Italy. Light on tannin and well balanced, this wine has notes of cherry and blackberry with just a hint of vanilla.

Montepulciano is a medium bodied wine, slightly richer than the Chianti. It can stand up to meats, aged cheeses, and an array of herbs and spices. In following tradition, I paired the Torre Migliori Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with a house made cheese ravioli, sausage also made in house, and red sauce. We fit some laughs and stories in there as well. Fourteen(ish) years later there is still not much that can top the tried and true trifecta of great food, wine, and company. All were enjoyable and as always, my visit felt too short. Currently, I’m holding a few special bottles hostage in hopes of luring my family back to Santa Barbara.

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Take me to Tuscany:

Indulging in a great bottle of Chianti (or other Italian red) is lovely, actually visiting Tuscany in person was incredible. The rolling hills, the friendly people, the delicious wine and food… it is truly heaven on earth for those of us who love red wine and pasta. It’s a wonder I could still walk after three decadent days in Florence and the Tuscan wine region.

Getting to Tuscany from Florence can be an easy, educational, and immensely enjoyable experience. We opted for a tour with Grape Tours, which started in a classroom within Florence, then continued as a bus tour through Chianti and Chianti Classico - regions whose wine history dates back 3000 years! Needless to say, these folks know how to produce a great wine and the wineries we visited we more than happy to share with us the history of the region as well as their own. We walked through the oldest wine cellars I had ever seen and got an opportunity to taste a lot of wine as well as some locally produced olive oil.

The tour concluded with a four course luncheon at one of the wineries and the food, though simple, was spectacular, ending with a warm basket of fresh made biscotti. When I returned to the table after purchasing a few bottles, I noticed my jacket was a bit heavier and more bulky as a result of my husband stuffing the remaining biscotti in my jacket pockets. I can’t say I was mad about it, though it wasn’t lost on me that such business may be frowned upon by the establishment and my loving spouse had left his own pockets empty.

Get yourself to Tuscany, and get you a partner who understands the importance of homemade biscotti. Even if they’re willing to throw you under the bus for it.

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Upcoming Wine Events:

9/20 - 9/22: Solvang Danish Days featuring a beer and wine garden

9/26: Vertical Tasting of Pinot Noir with Windrun Wines

9/28: Grape Stomp with Sevtap Winery

9/29: Empanada & Pinot Noir Pairing with Riverbench Winery

9/29: Old Town Wine Walk in Camarillo

10/3 - 10/6: Newport Food & Wine

10/26: Halloween Cupcake and Wine Pairing with DV8 Cellars

Sarah Robin