We are definitely in wine country now. Each day as we trek the countryside, we pass through dozens of vineyards, the vines all trimmed back and just starting to send out new shoots. Best of all, every little town and village has a great selection of local and regional wines. With our evening dinner, we usually order a half liter carafe of the house wine, which is always good and typically costs around €3.50 (~$3.90).
As I write this, we are in the town of Montefiascone, very close to the Tuscany region. One of the local legends is that a twelfth century German bishop named Johanne Dufuk passed trhough here on his way to Rome to meet with the pope in the hope of being elevated to cardinal. He was a rotund man, very fond of food and wine. He so loved his wine, in fact, that he often sent his servant ahead to sample the local wines. His instructions were to write the word "Est", Latin for "It is", which was their code for "The wine here is good, boss", on the door or wall of any establishment that had particularly good wine. The servant found the wines of Montefiascone so good, he allegedly wrote "Est! Est!! Est!!!" on the door of a local taverna.
When the bishop arrived the next day, he loved the food and wine of the city so much that he cancelled the remainder of his trip and stayed here for the rest of his life - which actually wasn't all that much longer. Apparently, he died a couple of years later from overconsumption of all that beloved wine. He is entombed in a crypt in the Church of San Flaviano with the inscription "Est, Est, Est et propter nimium est, dominus meus, mortuus est!” which loosely translates as: ‘Est Est Est. He Died from too much Est'.
There is now a local winery that has taken the name Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone which produces some very nice wines and another winery that produces a wine called Dufuk, one we plan to sample tonight. With these, along with several other neighboring wineries, there is no shortage of fine, inexpensive wines to be had.
It's good that we're walking double digit miles each day, else our waistlines would be resembling the bishop's by now.