Exploring Chianti

 

Buongiorno…let me have my caffe primo then we can start our day.

Before I left for this trip, unlike the previous trips, I basically had zero planned ahead.  Other than my stops, the rest of the daily details were left open.

One of my fairly spontaneous decision was to go on a group tour.  Obviously, I have proven myself NOT be to be a group tour kinda gal.  But as I perused the offerings, my eye fell on “Greve in Chianti”.  Greve is a town Mom and Dad have visited several times.  In September, they hold their annual Harvest Festival and my attending someday has been a topic of conversation.  No…it is not September, but for the price offered, this is a way for me to see Greve without a car.

I have several tips I wish to share in regards to today’s outing…many of them I will keep to myself, but the first is; if you are meeting your tour at Piazzale Montelungo, approach it the easy way, through SMN Station, platform 16.  Walk ALL the way down it, exit the station, go down the ramp, and you have arrived.  I on the other hand, had no idea, followed my gps map the wide way around the station, through areas of construction, over barricades and I arrived.  I found out this more efficient way by roaming a bit before the meeting time.  I of course arrived two hours early, allowing time for any directional issues.  When I walked up the ramp, just to explore, I looked way ahead and thought, “Hey…isn’t this the station I just circumvented?”

Anyway, I arrive at what is basically a parking lot and a bus stop and I begin scoping out the caliber of persons I might be traveling with all day.  This activity did not warm my heart.  I will leave out my mental groupings, but will share the thought that I did not fit into any of them.  As it turns out, the biggest group (both in numbers and in egos) were the early 20 somethings that were either in Florence “studying” abroad or had just graduated from college and were taking this trip “before having to DO the Real World”.

I will admit there were a couple of times before boarding the bus, I considered forgoing my investment and bailing.  I was not sure how many times I could hear “Hair of the dog, Bro” or words my generation deem inappropriate for a social (let alone private) events.

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OK…get on the bus, let’s commit.  I promise there are high points.

But first, let me share another not so high point…I will sum up our “guide” by saying I think this excursion was her try out for a sitcom pilot  either in Japan, Italy or possibly Russia.  Enough said.

First stop-image

The bus pulls in to the steep, rocky drive and all 70 of us (yep, 70) unload.  All 70 of us enter a small room where the proprietor of the winery attempts to share his life’s work with us.  It is difficult to hear him over the continued sharing of what clubs are good in Florence.

Here, we tasted four wines.  I was very surprised when we left that many chose to purchase bottles.  Later, at our second stop, many were disappointed they went all in too soon.

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Load up, it’s off to Greve in Chianti.

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Entering the piazza, I imagined it packed with festival goers and Mom and Dad in the middle having a wonderful time…wishing I were there.  Now, I wish for the same.

During this stop, we do. Not have a scheduled wine tasting, but we are free to roam about for a full 20 minutes…yep, 20 minutes.  I reluctantly follow our guide into a meat shop she has been going on and on about.  I am rewarded for being a sheep.  I am the second in line to order a panino.  Prouscuitto, Pecorino and Tartufo (truffle) spread.  Buono!

I have a few minutes remaining so I head to the church at the top of the piazza.  Somehow I know Mom and Dad went here.

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When I enter la Chiesa, I am greeted by the Holy Spirit.  La Chiesa is cool with a lovely scent.  There is soft music playing, and I am the only one here.  I light candles for Mom and Daddy.

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Andiamo!  Back to the bus.  Time for our 2nd winery.

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Benvenuto a Poggio Amorelli.  When we exit the bus and enter the winery, we are greeted by a wide-eyed passionate uomo.  I took a short video of him speaking to us, but I am having a difficult time adding videos to the page.  But if you are ever in Chianti…look him up.

He tells us as he holds his arms up to the barrels, “Deeesa, eeesa magical placeaaa”.  And you can tell he truly means it.  He goes on to tell us about the tank-a-s and how organic the process is.  When he mentions pesticides and the like he says while crossing his arms over his chest, “Theeesa eeesa forbidden”.

When he tells us about the quality of their oak barrels, he says that French oak is “the-a best-a…” Adding, “theeessa eeesa hard-a for me-a to say-a”.

Although we will be tasting Chianti Classicos and Sooooppper Toooosaaans, “White-a wine-a lovers….do not-a cry-a”.  They also make a Vermentino in another area.

The breeze on the terrazzo is bella and I think most are impressed and have an enjoyable visit.  As I mentioned before, the conversation is now how much better this wine is than our first stop, many are disappointed with their previous purchases.  I found it hard not to order 3 bottles to be delivered.  But I console myself knowing they have an online presence.  I was impressed by all four wines we enjoyed here.

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The Vermentino IGT made at their Poggio Barbone winery would be a perfect vino bianco della casa.

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The Super Tuscan IGT can be delivered to tu casa for 79euro a bottle.  Hurry, only 2000 bottles max.

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The proud mascot of Chianti Classico.  No Rooster…No Classico.

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Wine, view and presentation…this stop was bene!

Before heading back to Firenze, we made one more stop in a town I was not familiar with- Castellina in Chianti.  Like many small villages, you park at the bottom of the town and then walk up to the village.  This discovery was the highlight of my “Chianti Excursion”. When I returned to my appartamento, I emailed Daddy to see if he and Mom had visited.  He thought it sounded familiar, but when he looked through her journals, it was not mentioned.  I told him this was to be his next real estate search.

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The signs say it all.  This villaggio incantevole is close enough to the hustle and bustle but far away enough to escape it.  A twenty minute (yep) visit was not long enough!

As we bump along back to Firenze, the Tuscan sun is setting over it’s infamous landscape.  I am pleased with my day and my decision to stick with it.

I cross over the Arno back to my appartamento and am contento.

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