Moons before I had even dreamed of a trip to Italy, I was out to dinner one night and enjoyed a wonderful glass of Chianti with my dinner. As I often do when I have nice wine, I asked to see the bottle so that I could buy it on my own.
It was a Melini Chianti, Borghi D’Elsa 2003. Whatever…I have a photographic memory, so I always remember the label, more than I remember the details. Most good restaurants are happy to oblige. The hunt began.
As luck would have it, I was able to find the Chianti in not one, but two of my local wine shops. It was more than reasonable under $10 a bottle.
Needless to say, it has become a staple red table wine around our house. I always have at least two bottles on hand for any occasion.
Fast forward several years to our first trip to Italy. We were weaving through the back roads of Tuscany in our little Smartcar from Lucca to San Gimignano. You may remember we stopped at the Castello Monsanto to sample their wares. But, imagine my surprise when we left Monsanto and somewhere between Poggibonsi and San Gimignano, I happened to look to the left and saw yet another beautiful vineyard.
We slowed the car, just a little, to appreciate the green grapevines, and admire the view, when out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed the same logo that was gracing the front of my favorite Chianti bottle – the unmistakable golden arches of an “M“. (No, not those golden arches!)
M-e-l-i-n-i! Yep , it was one in the same.
“Stop the car! Stoooooop!!!”, I yelled excitedly to Chris who almost careened off the side of the winding road.
I can’t adequately describe the feeling that came over me when I saw it, as I have never experienced that before (seeing the sign, not the feeling of careening off the road…unfortunately, that feeling I have had before).
It was surreal to say the least. Enjoying a delicious Italian wine for years in at my very own table in the U.S., and then realizing that you are thousands of miles from home, planted firmly and squarely in front of the magical place where that very nectar of the gods is made…all by happenstance!
We certainly didn’t plan it. I didn’t even know where in Tuscany the wine was made – but then bam! there it was. We would have stopped but it was getting late. Definitely on the list for next time.
Back home, I still enjoy that same Melini Chianti, but for some reason, it tastes so much better now.
Hmmm, I wonder why?