Dana DiCarlo, a student at the University of Maryland, experienced one of the best parts of Italy early in the GO Rome program. Read below for a view into wine country!
Tenuta Toricano – San Gimigano, Italia
After just a week in Italy, it’s hard to pinpoint my favorite thing I’ve done in this exquisite country. I CAN tell you though that the best wine I’ve had thus far was at the Tenuta Toricano Winery located just outside the medieval town of San Gimigano, in the province of Siena. This quaint restaurant lies in the Valley of Elsa, surrounded by gentle green hills of vineyards, olive groves and soaring towers in the distance of the medieval town, San Gimigano.
I went for a wine and oil tasting, but it was so much more than just that. It was a performance and a show. As soon as I arrived a family member from the Giachi family greeted me. Since 17 years ago, the Giachi family teaches you to taste all the wines they produce and they also provide you with an environment of pure relaxation and pure enjoyment of food and wine.
Our host, Leonardo, gave us background information about his family and how they have become so successful over the past 17 years. His excitement and humor made me feel welcomed and almost as if I was part of their immense family. As other family members passed by and helped served the wine, you could just feel the connection between the brothers, the cousins, the mother and the entire family. Seeing a close knit family being so happy and thrilled by what they do made this experience that much more enjoyable.
As soon as we sat down we were versed in the proper way to perform a wine tasting. Let’s just say I’ve been drinking wine wrong my entire life. Leonardo went in depth of the etiquette of the glass, wine and food pairing, the use of our sense and all the visual techniques that go into wine tasting. Not only did we taste eight different wines, but also we got to enjoy homemade olive oil, 30-year old balsamic and the Giachi family’s famous truffle oil drizzled all over the best lasagna I’ve ever had.
This wine and dine experience was unlike any place I’ve ever been to. Beautiful people, beautiful scenery and beautiful wine and food surrounded me. I didn’t want it to end. All I could think about was how I had to come back to this place. Buying and shipping four bottles of wine home from the Tenuta Toricano vineyard will not do the experience I had at the vineyard any justice. I can only dream about it until the day I make it back there.