Montisi, Friday, September 14
After yesterday’s lessons, we got to decompress (it’s so very stressful being in Italy and having to draw, paint and enjoy good company) by having our very own wine tasting.
Judging from the fact that about thirteen bottles of wine were on the table, I would guess that about thirteen of us provided a bottle for the event. Incredibly, no two bottles were the same and yet there were a couple, or three, of several different varieties . . . enough to get to compare the differences.
One of our colleagues, Alice, arranged the tasting and suggested that we start only one hour before dinner so that wine tasting did not degenerate into wine drinking. But, to paraphrase Robbie Burns, the best laid plans of wine tasting coordinators oft gang aglay.” I think the wise person would have started with a small taste of the first wine and then poured slightly smaller portions as the number of bottles tasted increased. That did not appear to be the approach taken by this group . . . certainly not if my glass was any indication.
Needless to say, a delightful time was had by all. Even our chef and his assistant* joined in for the occasional glass. Happily for all of us, five of the group had taken a cooking lesson from Alessandro earlier in the day, so, most of our dinner was already prepared by the time the “tasting” commenced.
And the dinner was phenomenal. The hand made pici with “quick” fresh tomato sauce was perfect; the pasta toothsome, the sauce bright. Tuscan stew, more of a pot roast preparation, was tender and tasty as were the simple cannelini beans served with it. For dessert we had a repeat (!) from earlier in the week. But, since it was a strudley sort of thing filled with chocolate, almonds and pears, no one was complaining.
Teresa and Bob had generously purchased a bottle of superior grappa, along with their wine contribution, and it was a wonderful, warming way to end our meal and another splendid day in Tuscany.
*Daniela told us that when you toast someone with “cin cin,” the protocol requires you to make eye contact while saying the words and set your glass on the table before picking it up to drink. Legend has it that failure to follow this protocol results in seven years of bad sex. After disclosure of that cultural curiosity, one could feel the eye contact and hear the glasses hitting the table.