How-To: Wine Taste Like a Pro

It's time to get classy! Rome was a great place - exhausting, but great. But it was time to take a vacation from the vacation and go to the no-free-wi-fi town of Greve in the Chianti Region of Tuscany. We went to Castello di Verrazzano for a wine tour, and it was a blast.

The tour started off with a history of the castle, which was actually quite interesting because Giovanni da Verrazzano the first explorer to sail to New York Harbor in 1524, but credit for discovery always went to the country who commissioned the voyages. Giovanni's quest was sponsored by the French, who were taken over by Spain and his history was lost for some time. But his accomplishment is starting to resurface in the classroom, and there is even a bridge in his name in New York: the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

After the brief history lesson, we went through different rooms. Some of the passageways could get pretty dark and narrow. Definitely had to watch our feet (and in Errol's case, his head).

They also make their own balsamic vinegar, which is aged for 10 years. The barrels at the back of the room are the youngest, and get moved every year to the next barrel. They get smaller because the vinegar reduces over time and you get a delicious, sweet, concentrated syrup (not quite that thick, but it's definitely thicker than what we get in our US grocery stores).

Finally, it was time to taste the wine! Accompanied with our tour was also a plate of food, perfectly timed for the meal to count for lunch.

So here's the steps to taste wine like a professional:
Step 1: Make sure you always hold the glass at the stem so you don't warm the wine with your fingers. Lean the glass over a white surface to make sure the wine is the proper color, with no foreign particles in it.

Step 2: Smell the wine. Make sure you really stick your nose in the glass!

Step 3: Swish the wine by moving the glass in a small circle with the bottom of the glass staying on the table. Do this for 10-15 seconds 

Step 4: Smell the wine again (with nose in!). It should smell different because more oxygen has incorporated into the liquid to bring out more scents. This was a really cool part to learn! The smell was always completely different from the first time.

Step 5: Finally get to taste! Take a sip, and swish it around in your mouth. 
Different parts of the tongue sense different tastes.

Step 6: Swallow and repeat again. Or in my case, have a bite of food. 

The food plate was amazing, filled with salami, wild boar, multiple cheeses, and lard right in the middle. We also got to have a tiny morsel of their balsamic vinegar, aka balsamic gold.

And they also make their own grappa, a grape-based brandy.
Not a huge fan, but it was definitely a first.

I would highly recommend everyone visit here while taking a trip to Italy. Just make sure you eat a big breakfast and leave some time after to sober up if you drive. Now I actually have a beginner's idea of what I'm looking at in the wine section of Harris Teeter.
And the views were absolutely spectacular.


  1. Awesome post! And the wine-tasting process is so neat. Actually being at a winery in Italy gives you full permission to be a full wine connoisseur but I think I would feel silly if I busted out those moves over a bottle of 2-buck chuck from Trader Joe's :)

    1. Thanks! And yea I would definitely have to keep the snootiness to a minimum for my Barefoot Bubblies haha.

  2. Look at you guys!! PROS!!! I wanna learn all the tricks now :)


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