22 April 2007.
There were three major reasons for me to come to Florence: learning the Italian language, Machiavelli, and Italian wine. My grasp of the language is now good enough to use in everyday life more or less without problems. Machiavelli has so far eluded me in the sense that I expected there to be at least one or two classes on Machiavelli that I could take, and unfortunately this spring there is only one class on Renaissance philosophy, and it’s not Machiavelli. Finally, I have learned a bit about Italian wine.
Tuscan wine has been one of my favorites already before I came here. Here I have learned that it is a difficult wine. If you want to spend a ridiculous amount of money you are guaranteed to find an excellent bottle from Tuscany, but that is true of many places where wine is produced. What makes Tuscany difficult is that its economic wines cannot really compete with those from southern Italy, for example. The Sangiovese grape they use to make most of the famous Tuscan red wines is not an easy one. There are basically two problems: lack of taste or excessive tannins. Chianti Classico is a little more reliable, but you have to be careful with the more affordable versions of it as well.
That said, I still like Tuscan red wine. I think it is exactly because it is difficult. I tend to be involved with things that are difficult, because challenge is what makes life interesting. Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living, and it has also been said that the unexamined wine is not worth drinking. With Sangiovese there is a lot to examine.
In fact I am going to visit Tuscan wineries in a month. The plan is to take advantage of the Cantine aperte event, a day that many wineries have open doors. It seems best to get a room in a cheap hostel in a little town in Chianti and go to the wineries with a rental bike.