Photo by Faith Willinger
Oh no, not another wine tasting. But I told you I was a closet wine nerd, and besides, it was right outside my front door. The Florence Wine Event is held in the Oltrarno, the "other" side of the river. This year it was bigger and better, in six piazzas, with three days of concerts, tastings, even an organic market on Sunday.
Glass points, in the three biggest piazzas, sold tickets--10 euros for a glass, a card good for 10 tastes, and a most useful guide to the event, with a map of the piazzas, listings of wineries, restaurants (each with special menus and wine pairings), and neighborhood artisans and boutiques. I strolled to Piazza Demidoff, in the San Niccolo' neighborhood.
Two local bars, Zoe and Negroni, joined forces for the summer with an outdoor wine bar, Il Giardino del Buon Vino, its counter created with wooden wine crates--a more inviting scene than the white-tented stands. But I was there for the tasting, and began at Renaissance des Appellations (an association of biodynamic wineries) and enjoyed the wines of Cosimo Maria Masini (Tuscany) and Fattoria Mondo Antico (Lombardia's Oltrepo' Pavese).
There were too many wines to taste so I decided to focus on Chianti, preferring those without international varietals like Merlot and Cabernet (allowed in a small percentage by the DOCG regulations). I walked along the Arno to Santa Maria Soprano (which I'd never really thought of as a piazza) where I adored Villa Calcinaia's Chianti Classico--and was recognized by owner Sebastiano Capponi as "la mamma di Max" (he played basketball with my son).