Sunday, August 26, 2012

Antonelli Wine Tasting

My last full day in Italy with Umbrian Serenades (before returning the next morning to New York) was spent luxuriating in the pleasures of Bacchus at the Antonelli winery near Montefalco. This was my second visit to a winery in Umbria, and I really enjoyed this particular one:  the food, wine, setting and service were excellent. 

Our guide for the afternoon was the knowledgable and generous Wendy Aulsebrook, who lead us through the wine cellar and four course meal with wine pairing, making the experience memorable with clear, precise information and explanation.

But as cool (literally) as it was to see the wine cellar, the real fun was the wine tasting, where my fellows  Serenades were hosted in a large addition to a stately house. The room's construction follows older design with clerestory windows in high-ceilinged walls that help keep the room cool  during the hot days of summer. 

The menu for the tasting with wine pairing began with a lovely Grechetto and ended with a Sagrantino dessert wine. The fare served with each course was delectable. 

The simplest things were standouts for me, like the taste of Antonelli's own olive oil on bruschetta (I brought a bottle home), the crustiness of the bread along with the taste of the oil and rubbed garlic being pure heaven. 

Unfortunately, I got so caught up in the experience that I didn't snap photos of the pasta and salad courses. Delicious too, I assure you!  

Interestingly, the Sagrantino grape was originally produced as a dessert wine, and it is only in the last twenty years or so that it has been refashioned into a drier dinner wine. I really loved the Sagrantino di Montefalco.  Fortunately, it is available at Eataly Wine here in New York.

The afternoon's festivities would not have been complete without song, so my fellow Serenaders and I found ourselves singing Danny Boy for the Antonelli staff. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. 

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