Pairing Wine With My Life's Adventure

REINVENTION: Quit my job in IT, sold my house and moved from Cal to NYC for sommelier classes. GETTING MY HANDS DIRTY: Moved to Napa and worked in a vineyard making wine. TRAVEL: Through France and Italy on a wine scavenger hunt. Sto cambiando la mia vita e desidero imparare circa vino. Je change ma vie et je veux me renseigner sur le vin. TRY TO GET SERIOUS: Living in New York for 4 years and working as a Sommelier. NEW GOALS: Do my own thing, find love, speak Spanish, live wine.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Proud to be an American, kinda

(insert Tom Petty song here: "American Girl"

It's Saturday night and I've made it to Paris. I was stuck in Siena for an extra night due to a bus strike. I say strike and thanks, except I missed out on the last night out with my new Florentine friends... could have been worse though. I could have been stuck at McDonalds in Barstow. I made the best of it and had a day in Montalcino with the Brunello. Siena was my first time for a negroni as an aperitivi (champagne, campari and gin) and eating il coniglio (rabbit). In Montalcino, visited Prime Donne and Piombaia wineries.

Last Saturday we left Cinque Terre, after 2 days of a blast overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Please go there if you haven't. There was talk about skipping it b/c of the large number of American tourists, but we met just enough. Avoid high-time and weekends as we did. The quality of food, wine and hospitality was great, just as the locals were. Check out Had the best Pesto (eat it with the local wine Pigato) at il Baretto, which is where I also had the best dessert. Piper called me the Mexican washboard after I decided to just take a shower with my clothes on instead of washing them in the sink. As we waited for trains to Firenze, we ate our pesto picnic. Dead beat, we made it to Florence and in our last steps, we happened into a wine bar (Vinolio, Leonardo was our wine geek. I say that with much respect) with some great food (appetizer of calimari sauteed in balsamic served in a cloud of spinach and riccotta) just around the corner from our place near San Marco.

Sunday, walked around Florence checking out the sites. This city is cool, everything is so close. What the Italians think is far, expensive and long distance was very comfortable for me. Ate at vegetariano with an organic red wine and slept. Hard day walking around with the mobs of people, could be worse in summer with the narrow sidewalks. Weather was great, rain the last day. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the white wine for the area. Could eat caprese salad every day for the rest of my life. What's up with the german's and the hiking sticks? Dreaming of a backpack pit stop, drop off the smelly one and pick up a freshie. When I had to lighten my backpack in Grenoble, I left my red Pumas behind on a street corner, sort of like the mother leaving the twins behind in Joy Luck Club.

I love the coffee in Italy and the bread and cheese in France.

I had a breakdown in Florence. Piper said I was probably chees-arexic b/c my cheese consumption was down (one reason was that Eurarail passes suck). Lunch at Cantinetta Antinori (big wine house a la Mondavi). Piper stuck her finger in an old bottle and pushed the cork down... I guess it was ok since we didn't get kicked out.

Dinner at Coquinarius near the Duomo - great place, see pics. Eggplant with arugala appetizer, pear raviolis and wine list that's hand selected and changed frequently. Stopped in at this place 3 times. Love the people who are running it, Nicola, Igor and Simone. We were here for a national Italian holiday, celebrating liberation from ww2. Not too good at remembering my history. Perfect day: sleeping in, gellato, and then a no-wait entry into the Accademia to see David. He was perfect from every angle. Vin Santo and then to bed.

First taste of Chianti as we drove a car to Greve and Radda. Taught a big lesson today from a kind American man, actually he referred to himself as a 75-year-old hippie. I was quick to pre-judge the peeps from the US. Piper and I would start (well it was mostly her) speaking spanish when they would come by us. He was universally cool.

Piper took off to head back to NY (maybe I scared her) and I moved to a new room, with a 1:00 curfew! Dammitt.

Last day in Firenze I went to the Uffizi. The museum was almost more than I could handle, in one visit Botticelli, Rembrandt and Da Vinci. WOW WOW WOW. Da Vinci said "love humors me." I can't describe it in words.

Afternoon bus to Siena with mostly locals it seemed. Saw some ad or article of a person's shoulder and I thought the media is to blame for nothing in my life as I'm blissfully ignorant today.


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