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Wine tasting in the Tuscan hills is a “must” while visiting Italy. Three other students and I rented a car in Florence and took off for a 12- hour tour of the Chianti Region, home of the famous Chianti Classico wine.

We began with a three-hour hike through the vineyards. The vines were bare because it’s winter, but not lacking in beauty.  The rolling Tuscan hills were bright green and magical.  Leprechauns could have popped out of the ground and not surprised us.  After touring the wine cellar where the wine was made  we tried seven different wines. My favorite wine was the Chianti Classico, which had a hint of oak.

After a four-course meal of toasted bread, different olive oils and three types of pasta, we began tasting after dinner liquors.  The first we tried was Vin Santo, a port like wine from Tuscany, which is a sweet drink typically used for the “dunking” of crisp almond biscotti’s. We also tried the famous Grappa, a Northern Italian after dinner drink.  It is fermented from the peels, seeds and stems of grapes and has a taste that makes your entire face squint in pain.

It was a fantastic day, full of breathtaking views and delectable wine.