Chianti Classico at a Tuscan Villa

While the Husband is in Germany doing fancy book-learnin, I went on a quick day trip to Tuscany.  This will be a photo-heavy post, so sip your coffee, heave a sigh, and pretend you’re there.

The drive to Greve in Chianti (greh-vay-in-kee-awn-tee… yup, that’s the full name of the town) was a few hours, and we made a pit stop at the main piazza before heading to the winery. Luckily it was Saturday, which happens to be Greve’s market day, so we explored the market for a while and enjoyed the little town.

That is, until the weather decided to dump on us and we all had to run for cover.  But the storm ended as soon as it started, and the sun came back out with big, fluffy cotton candy clouds.

Then it was off to Castello di Verrazzano, a Tuscan villa and winery that started out as a castle in the 1100s.  The driveway is long, narrow, and winding, but the views of the vineyards and rolling hills are beautiful.  Don’t bother stopping for pictures though, because the views only get better once you reach the villa.

   

Out across the hills, a rival winery is the star of the landscape.  We enjoyed a tour of Castello Verrazzano – the guide spoke excellent English and told us all about the villa and the making of Chianti wine.  Much like Champagne, Chianti Classico can ONLY be called Chianti if it is made in a specific region, in this case between Florence and Siena.

    

Fun Fact: The villa has a plaque with three stones sticking out of the wall – these stones are from the Hudson bridge in New York City!  You can find stones from the Verrazzano castle walls at the Hudson bridge as well.  Small world, right?

After that, we enjoyed a lunch of pasta and a huge plate of meats and cheeses.  While in Tuscany, be sure to try finocchiona, a traditional pork salami with wild fennel (finocchio) seeds.  Here they served it with a few sprinkles of orange zest… SO. GOOD.  Of course we also got to try several different wines, mostly Chiantis.  Needless to say, it was a wonderful afternoon.

I don’t know how Verrazzano ranks in Tuscan wineries, but it seemed damn good to me.  And I know their wine fetches a pretty penny in the States – a friend bought a bottle of their Chianti Classico Riserva for €24, and found that it sells for $50 at home.  Not too shabby.  But since I’m stingy, I got the regular Classico for €14,50.

A good time to visit would be mid- to late-September, just before or during their harvesting time for Sangiovese grapes.

Afterward, we went back to little Greve to check out a wine shop where you can load money onto a card and use it for as many tastings as you want.  That was pretty exciting, and I got another couple of bottles to bring home.

Like I said, it was a quick trip.  The weather in Tuscany was picture perfect (except for the freak rain storm), but driving back to Vicenza brought us into a thunderhead.  Here’s the incredible sunset at the beginning of it.

Weather is my favorite.  Wine is second.

❤ Feynor

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