As we drive into the Tuscany region, world-wide for its excellent wines, I am ecstatic. Being a certified ‘wino’, I can't wait to taste the preatigous wines produced in Chianti. My tour guide explains what makes a true bottle of “Chianti Classico”: it must be produced in this specific geographical area, particular attention is given to the quality of the in this special terrain, and it must be made with certain percentages of different specific grapes. These traditional practices have made the wine famous. The guide continued to recall the legend as to why this land between Florence and Siena is dubbed ‘Chainti”. To sum it up short and sweet, Florence and Siena used to be arch enemies in the medieval times. The territory between them was a theatre for violent wars. When they finally decided to be frienemies, it was written that two knights from each location would wake up and ride, until they met. This meeting place would be the new boarder between Florence and Siena. Siena’s knight had a white rooster to wake him in the morning, he fed his rooster the night before this epic ride and went to bed. The Florence knight had a black rooster, he did not feed his rooster the night before this trek. In the morning the black rooster woke up much earlier than the white one, because he was so hungry. Thus, the knight from Florence got a head start, which resulted in much more land for Florence. The black rooster can now be found on the labels of all wines that come from this region. Signaling peace for this territory, but most importantly: signaling good wine. Since this wine is famous, of course there are copy cats. Our tour guide, and every location we tasted wine at, warned us: if the bottle does not have the rooster and the origin sticker (or just one), it is indeed a knock off. The Italian government is so proud of this region, they established a law decreeing only wines made in this specific region are allowed to be name ‘Chianti Classico’. If you see this wine, I highly recommend it! (Note: it probably will be a pretty penny outside of Italy, good luck Americans). After learning ample history about this region and the wine produced here, the tastings were even sweeter. Drinking the best wine in Italy/the world, I savored every sip. They paired every wine with homemade cheese, jellies, olive oil and bread from the estate. I was also educated on olive oil or ‘green gold’, as the Italians call it. Chianti is a very good agricultural location for olive farming as well. However, the high quality oil is produce in low volume. Instead of waiting for the olives to ripen, being easy to mechanically harvest, they handpick the olives when they are still green and not very ripe. This is a very labourus process, making it understandable why the final product is in such low quantity ( and high price). Touting a very rare taste of artichokes, apples and freshly cut grass. The olives must be cold pressed 24 hours or sooner after picked, resulting in a true “extra virgin” olive oil with acidity less than 1% (most companies treat their oils with chemicals to reach this acidity level). After being educated about this amazing region, I couldn't help myself. I bought many bottles of wine and truffle oil. Shipping them back to SF at a surprising low cost! Dinner parties get at me!

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