The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

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Page 70 of 124

70 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2017 { experiences } THE WOMAN NEXT TO ME, an American whose every lobe, wrist, and accessorizable inch bore signs of wealth, did nothing to disabuse me of my view of Tuscany as Playground for the Rich. I had been tricked by images of carefree, sun-mottled idleness into thinking I knew Tuscany. But then our small jet sank into a grey blanket. Drizzle streaked the windows, and there was no sun. The depressing weather reminded me, as I walked to the terminal, that I actually know nothing about Tuscany. My taxi driver was some help, spouting Florentine history as he zigzagged me to Villa la Massa, the gorgeous riparian hotel where I would be stay - ing with five other writers. When I steered the conversation to wine, he informed me that his vocation keeps him more or less sober : Apparently "carefree" Italy has Draconian drunk driving laws, a fact that implies that Italian motorists all drive the way they do completely unimpaired. My ignorance of Tuscany, I admit, extends to its wines: Regarding Chianti and Chianti Classico, I have memorized the required facts and pretty much stopped there. These wines are maddeningly rangy, one minute sourly con - firming my worst straw-wrapped suspicions, the next delighting me with the smoky plushness of a Gran Reserva Rioja. As with Tuscany itself, I needed some illumination. Toscana Living the Life WRITER PETE HOLLAND TALKS TUSCAN WINE AND FOOD AS HE EXPLORES THE REGION FOR THE FIRST TIME story and photos by Pete Holland Dusk at rooftop restaurant Sesto on Arno, Florence.

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