Cruising through Chianti
April 10, 2011 3 Comments
Leaving from Rome at 7am, we took the A1 north towards Florence and got off at the exit Incisia. From there, we took a secondary road (SP16) to Greve in Chianti, right in the heart of the region famed for its lush rolling hills covered by Sangiovese vineyards.
It is here that Chianti Classico wine is produced. Different from the other types of Chianti, a bottle of Chianti Classico contains a minimum of 80% of the Sangiovese grape (for more info on Chianti Classico, including places to stay or wine-taste, click HERE).
After the long drive, we were ready to decompress. We headed up to Montefioralle, a small village with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Is was here that I had made an appointment to do some wine-tasting with a local winery, Azienda Agricola Montefioralle.
The owner, Fernando, met us at the main parking area (which accommodates about eight cars). We took a short stroll through the town until we reached his vineyard on the outskirts. The three of us sat out at a picnic table and began tasting a selection of about six of Montefioralle’s Chianti Classico from various years. Fernando had also prepared a small plate of fresh breads topped with local meats — too keep the wine from getting to our heads. There, with views of Montefioralle and rows of vineyards, Fernando told us everything there is to know about the growing, harvesting and ageing of his wine.
He told us that his particular winery only produces about 3,000 bottles a year. 1,000 are consumed by his extended family, while the other 2,000 are sold directly to the consumer. That’s one of the many charming things about Italy: there are so many small, family-run wineries that many people are personally acquainted with their wine producer (the same goes for other kinds of farmers as well). Instead of buying from the big, commercial brands found in the supermarket, I know a number of households that prefer to purchase their favorite beverage directly from the small winery — surely produced with more love and care.
Along with the Chianti Classico, we also tried some Vin Santo: a sweet dessert wine made from raisins. If you order Vin Santo in a restaurant, it is often accompanied by homemade cookies meant for dipping into the wine …one of my favorite ways to end a good meal!
After we finished our tasting, he took us to the small cellar and then back to the town center where we said our good-byes. There was a small restaurant emitting enticing smells of grilled meat, so we popping in for a quick lunch.
Back on the road again: We followed the SR222 or Via Chiantigiana south. This road runs through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Tuscany, and takes you right into Siena.
Stay tuned for more on our evening in Siena…