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I have a confession: I don’t like wine. I am the only person I know that doesn’t like wine or seafood. I obviously make for an inexpensive date. However, we were in Italy, so the fact that I don’t like wine wasn’t going to stop me from participating in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, wine tasting in Tuscany.

Although Sophie (our chef and guide) is associated with an array of wine cognoscenti (experts), she chose two that would give us the most personable experiences so that we could really relish in the process. Our destinations for the day, The Colombaia and Erta wineries.

ColombaiaVineyard 150x150 Real WineThe Colombaia vineyard is in the district of Colle Val D’Elsa. It is run by husband and wife duo Helena and Dante Lomazzo. If you are a nature buff, then you will love Colombaia wine. They use the biodynamic method relying on the clay soil as a living organism to feed the grapes with nutrients. The method entails crop rotation (to preserve fertility of the soil), use of organic manure (to revitalize the soil) and a true understanding of the environment that they control. Helena and Dante use red (San Giovese, Canaiolo and Colorino) and white (Trebbiano and Malvasia) grapes to create the most exquisite natural wine, what Helena describes as “Real” wine. It’s very fine wine from the Tuscan vines. As I mentioned, I don’t like wine, but I like everything carbonated so I loved their sparkling wine. Trust me several bottles of those made their way to the states by way of my suitcase, delish.

ErtaWineryInItaly 150x150 Real WineNestled in the Sienese countryside near Casole D’Elsa is the Erta vineyard. When we pulled up the dirt road to the estate, it was truly something out of an Italian film; the dog stood in the road wagging his tail as an elderly man leaned out the window to see who was arriving and the owner Varno greeted us with a big smile shouting “Benvenuto” (Welcome).

The Erta winery is extremely popular throughout Casole D’Elsa and Tuscany. Varno takes pride in the fact that the complete production of his wine takes place on his farm. All the cultivating, fermentation and harvesting, delivers delightful classic wine.

However, wine is not the only commodity produced at Erta. Varno also sells tomato sauce, onion preserve, extra virgin olive oil and jam. K.C. and I are still feasting on the blackberry jam. He also opens his farmhouse to guests and during the red season (May-October) he opens the restaurant in one of the cottages every Friday and serves pizza and other Italian dishes. Yes, he is also a chef, talk about Jack of all Trades.

We sat on Varno’s terrace at Erta and roamed through the vineyards at Colombaia, tasted fine wine (sparkling for me), met new friends and laughed with old. All in all, I’d say it was a good day in Tuscany.

Click on the video below to view Italy’s Masters of Wine (Helena, Dante and Varno) schooling us on “Real” wine.

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