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Last day of our virtual holiday

From the portal in our garden (aka the porch) we teleported from La Grande Motte in France, to Florence in Italy. Because you can do that in your imagination. This is the land of Sangiovese – the grape responsible for the Tuscan wines of Chianti and Montalcino.  We were heading for the beautiful Ristorante Paoli where we had spent a glorious Covid-free summer`s afternoon just the year before. So much of the scene was still fresh in our memories: Michelangelo`s David, the Piazza del Duomo. The restaurant building dates to 1824 with vaulted ceiling and fading Art Deco frescoes, augmented by traditional, super-friendly service. Just love those purring Italians fussing around my wife – so Italian.  And I`ll never forget the duck carpaccio with truffle, nor the wine which accompanied it: Olena Chianti Classico 2012. Both were magnificent together. Now, in our garden porch, I am pouring the 2015 vintage of the very same wine (a deeply romantic gesture clearly lost on my wife), and the food was Spaghetti all’ Arrabbiata, our favourite pasta dish. Once again, the wine hit the spot. Satisfying sour cherry and blackberry, with underlying chocolate and dark shades of mineral, and herbs, and a bright acidity, married to juicy, ripe tannins. Andrea Bocelli was singing his heart out at this point, and the wine was having a mellowing effect.  Lunch, and life, could not have been better. Yet nonetheless it was not complete. We could not be in Italy, even virtual Italy, and not taste one of their delicious sweet wines.  This was a moment we had anticipated with glee. My wife had baked an almond tart, and I had chilled a half-bottle Pieropan `Le Colombare` Recioto di Soave Classico.  The golden wine was unctuous and lingering, set against the crunchy tart it was a dreamy finish to our wonderful Tuscan holiday. As we left Ristorante Paoli to teleport home, we looked skyward, at Fillipo Brunelleschi`s famous cathedral, The Duomo: to think it took 142 years to build!    Sweet memories.

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