Culinary Post #2: La Buccianera Winery
Who would’ve thought that wine could be so temperamental. Our first winery visit during O-Chem was jaw-droppingly amazing. The moment we stepped inside the winery, towering industrialized stainless steel wine barrels welcomed us. Inside the gargantuan stainless steel barrels white and red wine are kept there to maintain the optimal condition for fermentation. White needs to be colder but red can be warmer. The white wine is contained in a more insulated and smaller barrel (small is still twice my height). However, the red is less insulated and thus in a larger tank. Though there were rows and rows of stainless steel tank of wine, they did not have a wooden barrel. I noticed this because this was not my first winery. Wooden barrels are usually used to “vary the color, flavor, tannin profile and texture of wine.” Additionally, they hand-picked their grapes—keep the fresh ones and throw away the bad ones.
When we stepped outside, after it had stopped pouring, we were in awe of the multitude of land that was made just for the grapes. Approximately each grape plant could juice a bottle of wine.
I couldn’t believe that I felt on top of the world when I stood upon the hills of acres of acres of land of grapes. The land was so vast. Unlike the common method of using pesticides, they’re more traditional and “natural” in using copper sulfide to spray down the entire field. Reflecting back on it, I didn’t feel like that was the most environmentally friendly way (especially not human friendly—we had to vacate the area when the copper sulfides were coming closer). Surely there is a more natural deterrent for bugs.
After the touring around the winery, we were escorted to the dinner room to taste wine and eat samples of bread, cheese and meat. We were served with four glasses of wine (a quarter full) and the owner gave us a light lecture of how to taste wine. The first wine that was served was white, Donna Patrizia. It was cool to the touch so I knew it was best drank if it was cold–so sip by sip, I drank the entire glass (which was only 5oz max) in under 10 min. The white wine had a golden tint, smelled of fruit and flowers, and tasted soft yet powerful that accompanied a warm feeling throughout my body–probably because the moment I was done all my blood flowed to the top of my skin, and my entire face glowed with the Asian flush. Every scar and pimple was accentuated, becoming redder and fatter. I knew at that moment my tolerance was not high. I gulped down 12 cups of water after my first cup. But only a couple minutes later, they poured us another glass, this time it was red called Syrah IGT. At first glance, the amber color is really nice to the eye. The scent of spices and dry fruit was apparent but mixed well with the enhanced sugar residue. It was potent yet relatively young. It was not heavy, but tasted a little bitter. We were then given a darker red wine called Sassocupo that had been set out for more than a couple hours beforehand and was also a year old. Thus the wine was more complex with a good concentration of vigorous tannins. As a result, it was much more dry and more tart and the smell was pungent. Saving the best for last, we were given the dessert wine, Vin Santa. It was very sweet but it contained the most alcohol content (13.5%) than any of the previous ones before. Unfortunately, I had only a sip of the rest of wines. But I’m slowly but surely learning to taste the differences in wine. In retrospect, I feel like I should’ve kept drinking a little more. the more experience i get from drinking wine, the better I can taste future wines. I want to train my taste buds and acquire a liking for wine–just enough to enjoy and savor the healthy impacts while fully indulge in the chemistry behind such art and history. Since my face was already completely tomato colored, I was too humiliated to drink anymore than a sip of each wine. I hope to train my liver too in drinking a little bit more at a time — much like doing push ups for my muscles. However, don’t expect me to become a connoisseur after this trip—if anything I think my throat is just going to become numb to the acidic content of alcohol.
I thought it’d be appropriate if the Italian word of the day was wine, which is Vino (sounds like: vee-no)