Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Tuscan Reminder

When we went to Italy last fall, we were a little surprised in that you pretty much needed to make appointments in advance to visit the wineries. It's not like BC's Okanagan where you pick a route and just drive along hitting as many wineries as you like. We only managed to visit three wineries in Italy, however, all three stops included tours of the facilities and a multiple tasting.

Altesino was one of those three visits. I'd never heard of Altesino previously, but the hosts at our B&B (La Portagoia which, by the way, is a most wonderful place to stay for a taste of Tuscany) suggested it and made the reservations for us and another couple staying at the B&B. It was a pleasant visit with lunch and a tasting of about 6 or 7 wines.

Boo and I unfortunately ran into the Canadian conundrum though: how to decide what wines, if any, to bring back with us. We were limited to two wines each - unless you're willing to pay all your money (that you don't have after the vacation) to the government in customs taxes - but that's another topic. We stopped ourselves at one red and dessert from this stop. We didn't bring this bottle home with us - but imagine our surprise when we saw some Altesino wines, including this one, at our neighbourhood government liquor store.

106. 2006 Altesino Bianco Toscano (IGT - Tuscany - Italy)

Altesino winery is located just outside, to the North-East, of the hillside town of Montalcino and has been producing well-received wines for years. It is particularly known for its Brunellos - the star wine of the region. Accordingly, the majority of their vineyards are planted with the Sangiovese Grosso grape which is used for the Brunellos and the Rosso di Montalcinos.

The winery does grow some international grapes as well to blend with the local, traditional grapes to produce some higher end Super Tuscans and some more accessible IGT wines like the one we were drinking this night.

The Bianco Toscana is a non-traditional blend of Chardonnay, Vermentino and Viognier. Guess which one is the local grape.

Throw in some pasta and a garden dinner and it's almost like heading back into the Tuscan hills for another visit. Were it only that easy!! I'll definitely keep an eye open for other Altesino wines that have made it to our market.

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