Favorite wineries in Italy – Ranked

Where have you had wine?

Happy Tuesday once again family and friends, and random people who may stumble their way onto this post. 😉 As I sit here in a slight bit of agony from going to the gym after weeks of Netflix binge-watching, I figured that I would tell you all about my different experiences at wineries that I’ve visited in the last few months. I’ll start by saying, the wine in Italy is superb! I feel like I’m just now being introduced to what wine really is AND I’ll probably still get a bottle of Barefoot back in the states for old nostalgia’s sake.

DON’T BE FOOLED! I will be taking more about my experiences and these wineries, not so much about the wines. I’m not a sommelier. However, I grabbed the tea that to me most resembled wine for this week’s review…

Tea of the day: Black Cherry Berry
Brand:
 Celestial Seasonings
Color: It started off a very light brown color, then when I swirled the water, a very beautiful auburn color came out of the tea bag. It’s super pretty! This is what I imagine Fall in a mug looks like.
Taste: There’s definitely cherry in there! Similar to the Country Peach Passion (read the review here!), the fruit flavor really overpowers any of the herbal flavors. I feel like I’m drinking heated Kool-Aid a bit, but with a more refined flavor. Probably the black cherry vs cherry.
Ideas for next time I have this: I really enjoy more herbal and earthy flavors when drinking tea, so I may add a lighter black tea (like Irish Breakfast) or my Matcha Lemon (review here!) tea to bring out some of those other flavors. Also, another tea to try cold when it warms up.

5. Bianchini

Bianchini has been around since 1880, as you’ll see on their label. The family was very nice and took us on a tour of their grounds where the vineyard is. The grounds are beautiful! Roses sprouted at the end of some rows of grapes and I saw the first bit of fall here. The even showed us a cellar that had hundreds and hundreds of bottles aging as part of their winemaking process.

As lovely as our hosts were, I felt their wine was mediocre compared to others on this list. We had lunch with wine tasting in a large room. The lunch was very traditional and typical of the visits. Bread, olive oil, bufala mozzarella, prosciutto, salame piccante, potato pizza, and broccolini. All of these was taken in while a somewhat creepy little puppet watched over us.

Oh, and before you think you’re going crazy… if you think you see a phallic symbol in their 1880 logo, it’s there on purpose and they told us about it. 😉

4. Pagano

This was a very small experience and had some additions that weren’t included in the other tours I’ve been on. Ever tasted wine before it was wine? And it was from the barrel! If grape juice were bottled with a refined taste for adults, this is it! There was a slight hint of the alcohol starting to come out but was mostly sweet. How about trying wine straight out of one of those big steel silos? Not as good as from the barrel. :-/ The aftertaste will surely get you because it’s probably the same as if you liked the silo.

They have a smaller production at Pagano than Bianchini and other wineries, but their pride and personality makes up for it in a big way. My husband was the only male in our group of women, and the old man at Pagano who made our lunch LOVED him. I was glad Matt had a good time and was able to share the experience with me.

Our lunch included the same items as mentioned above and some pasta that went perfectly with all the different wines we tried. Our hosts were very sweet and made a run to the store to get an ice cream cake for a birthday we were celebrating that day. Photo creds to Laura and Eboni for these.

3. Porto di Mola

This is the first winery I went to in the region where we live. This is the most complete experience of how wine is made that I’ve been through. For fun, there was an opportunity to stomp the grapes with your feet. Rest assured, that is not a part of the process! It’s more for show. We did get to throws grapes into machines that removed the stems from the grapes picked and even went into the vineyards and clipped grapes from the vine since it was harvesting time.

Again, a typical lunch with pasta included, no broccolini. For some reason, this one is much yummier from than others for some reason in my memory. Probably because I drank a LOT of wine that day. And I ate quite a bit of bread with their in house extra virgin olive oil.

I’m more of a red wine lady and one of there reds did not disappoint. Peppi was my favorite, so bottle had to be purchased. Also, I’m not much for whites, but this was the first time I had Falanghina and you’ll find the empty bottle in my house.

2. Volpara

Ever wanted a good walk before wine tasting? Then this is the winery tour for you! Our host is very knowledgable of the area where his winery is, so he took us on a walking tour that included their vineyard, very old church of their town, the first water source for the town, and other areas of Sessa Aurunca. It was a beautiful, sunny day that was perfect for that kind of walk.

The setting for our lunch was in the wineries cellar. We sat amongst very large wine barrels. The tables were wine barrels. And there were wine bottles lined in wall cutouts as the aged, like at Bianchini. The bufala mozzarella here was smaller than other places, so I ate twice as many.

This winery had the most wines I liked (except for #1) INCLUDING a rosé. I think this was the first rosé I’ve liked ever. Normally, it’s too sweet or too light. This one was a little heavier, therefore palatable. My favorite red is Sassi, which definitely described our group if you’re going by the English definition of how this word is pronounced. Their whites also went down easily, so I had seconds. Who I am kidding? I had seconds of all their wines, even the rosé.

1. Tenuta Torciano

Maybe it’s because this is winery is in the Tuscan region, but… oh, my, goodness! This is the first winery in Italy I went to and it set the bar very high! The only thing that would have made it better is we had a tour of their production facility, but that is off-site because this family owned and operated winery is humungous!

We visited Tenuta Torciano as part of a wine tasting tour when Matt and I visited Florence. It was our first stop and was offered as a wine tasting school for the participants to start the day off. We learned the perfect dimensions of a glass for tasting/drinking wine, how to swirl and smell the wine, and how to hold the glass a certain way. We tried 7-8 wines there, and my favorite of all time was introduced to me. Brunello di Montelcino. Just… wow! The Chianti Classico they create is quite fantastic also.

We did not have a lunch at this location, but we did eat some saltines paired with the best olive oils and balsamic vinegar ever. The pulled out their classic extra virgin olive oil, a peperoncini oil, and truffle oil. Definitely got a bottle of the truffle oil! The balsamic we tried is 30 years aged, thick, and so sweet.

The whole show was incredible. The host was perfect and very personable. He had everyone engaged and certainly entertained. Highly recommend going on this tour if you ever find yourself in the Florence.

 

As I visit more wineries, I’ll post more about my favorites. Look forward to a restaurant ranking as I go to more restaurants.

If you have any questions about my experience living abroad, leave a comment or send an email!

*SOME LINKS ARE AMAZON AFFILIATES LINKS AND I MIGHT MAKE A LITTLE BIT IF YOU PURCHASE SOMETHING.

30 Days of Gratitude – Days 8-14

What am I grateful for? Part 2

And just like that, the first week of the 11th month has passed and we are that much closer to 2018. A lot of time this week was spent talking about Thanksgiving plans and preparations. Definitely looking forward to that… and continuing to think about everything I’m grateful for. This week, I’m going to focus on what I’m thankful for regarding the prompts and what married life has brought me.

Also, please forgive any weird formatting. I’m writing this on my phone because I blew the fuses in our transformers and haven’t been able to charge my laptop. 😦 And the tea…

Tea of the day: Matcha Lemon

Brand: Yogi Tea. I’ve included a link below to a variety pack offered by Amazon also.

Color: GREEN! This is the greenest tea I’ve made myself. It’s not totally green, but more like a yellow-green.

Taste: It’s definitely has an herbal flavor and the lemon is totally there without being overpowering. It’s a great sipping tea, but probably not something I’d choose to drink everyday except for health reasons.

Ideas for next time I have this: I did add some honey for my second cup which add a pleasant sweetness, about a teaspoon to not overtake the lemon and natural herbal flavor. That’s probably how I’ll continue drinking it, and I’m open to suggestions!

Day 8 – What book are grateful for?

So, I haven’t actually read a book since I got to Italy but I do have a series that I’m very grateful for. If you know me in real life, you probably know what I’m about to write.

Harry Potter

I was two years behind in getting started with reading these books. It was 5th grade when I finally decided to pick one up and it was the first book that I didn’t mind continuing to turn the pages. I was quickly infatuated and intrigued! That same year, I had gotten in trouble because I had flat out not done a book report because I really wasn’t much of a reader. Those books probably saved me from a difficult time in English class for the years to come because I didn’t mind reading after that. To this day, it practically impossible to go into a bookstore and not find at least one thing that I want to pick up.

I have favorite authors (Meg Cabot and Nicholas Sparks to name two) so I keep up with them. And I’ll read just about any romantic young adult novel out there, haha.

Day 9 – What place are you grateful for?

In Italy, I’m grateful for pretty much this whole entire place. It’s absolutely incredible! One advantage of being affiliated with the military is being able to still have access to some of the pleasantries of home through the commissary and NEX.

The commissary has really been a blessing because we are having our second Thanksgiving in Italy with all the proper American side dishes. Who would have thought we’d be able to get a turkey in Italy!? Well, if not for the commissary, I don’t believe we would have.

And also, peanut butter. Peanut Butter isn’t really a thing here in Italy. They love Nutella, and their Nutella is better! But this girl needs peanut butter in her life and the commissary is the place to get it.

Day 10 – What taste are you grateful for?

Wine!! And Italy does it well. 😉

I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few wineries so far (and two more later this week!) and I’ve had some great vino.

My favorite, by far, is Tenuto Torciano. This winery was part of a wine tour we went on and it included a “wine tasting school.” The experience and staff was superb, and the wine is glorious. And don’t forget the truffle oil! A-MAZ-ING!

Day 11 – What holiday are you grateful for?

Before last year, I probably would have said Christmas. Who doesn’t enjoy waking up to Belgian Waffles and presents? And later on, Bloody Marys and mimosas? 😉

Now, I have to say Thanksgiving, and there’s a few reasons. Growing up, I liked your normal sides. Mashed Potatoes. Stuffing. Rolls. And that’s it.

A few years ago, Mom added sweet potatoes to her repertoire and oh… my… god! So amazing!

Also, Matt’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and it’s not just that. He proposed to me on Thanksgiving 2016. That’s pretty special! And it’s the first REAL holiday we got to spend together. So yeah, it’s kind of our thing.

Day 12 – What texture are you grateful for?

WARNING! I may sound like a crazy cat lady in a moment. I have Ariel in my lap right now.

The texture I’m grateful for is Maya’s and Ariel’s fur. It’s so soft. And obviously if I can feel it that means they are close to me. It makes me so happy to feel something weighing down the blanket on the couch or comforter on the bed and then to reach out to feel them. I can’t read a cat’s mind, but I’m taking them being so close as their way of saying, “I love you. I am comfortable around you. You make a good pillow.”

Day 13 – What abilities are you grateful for?

This is another hard one. I’m going to go with the ability to cook. Especially now.

In Italy, we don’t have many fast food places and there’s pretty much no delivery. So you have to drive to get food and wait for it if you want to take it to go. And the concept of being too lazy to get food AND too lazy to make food doesn’t exist. You’re forced to do one or the other.

Between having a set of pots and pans, a crockpot, and this ability, we’ve had some really delicious dinners. And being married, there’s something really nice to having dinner with just my husband that we or one of us made.

Day 14 – What sight are you grateful for?

Recently, the sun. It’s been raining the better part of the week here, so when the sun is out, it’s a sight for sore eyes. Not literally, but you know what I mean.

Aside from that, I really love being able to wake up with the sight of my husband next to me each morning. We did long distance for so long, and it’s a welcome change. And I know how fortunate I am that his job in the Navy allows him to come home each night (well, morning right now) so this is possible.

If you’d like to do your own 30 days of gratitude, here’s where I found the prompts I’m using. And catch up! You’re late!What are you grateful for? Leave me a comment!