Thursday, May 10, 2007

April 2007 - Chianti, Italy - Wine Tasting with April

One day while April was in town, we rented a car and drove out to the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany to visit beautiful vineyards, stroll through charming hill towns, and of course "taste" some wine!! Here we are at the vineyards at Montefioralle. The town was originally called Monteficalle. It is situated on a hilltop facing the Greve valley, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and cypresses. Parts of the ancient walls are still visible, while the small streets are marked by old homes, a donjon, and several towers. In 1250 it became the headquarters of the League of the Greve Valley. The town was once endowed with two sets of walls. It had an octagonal shape with four gates. With the fall of the Sienese Republic, Montefioralle lost its prior importance and most of its inhabitants moved to Greve.

We fell in love with this little town where one farmer makes about 10,000 bottles of Chianti per year and he saves about 1,500 of those for his family's consumption. So we were treated to a taste of a limited-release Chianti Reserva and a tour of his beautiful vineyard.

Inside the town's walls there are only 110 permanent residents. Notice there is no one but us walking around the town.

In a its-a-small-world scenario, Casandra ran into a man that had gone to Braddock high school with her. She recognized his Miami accent as soon as we walked into the wine shop. It only took them about 3 hours to figure out every possible friend that they had in common.

After we left Montefioralle, we headed to Radda with our new friends for some more wine tasting.

We got back on the windy roads of Tuscany and drove through these spectacular green hills to find Radda. Radda is situated in the heart of Chianti, on a hill dividing the Arbia and Pesa valleys. The structure of Radda is a typically medieval. The town became the seat of the Chianti League in 1415, whose vassals wore the Black Rooster insignia, today the trademark of the Chianti Classico Consortium. The Castle of Radda was often scene of battles between Siena and Florence.
We headed down into some of Radda's tunnels to find the wine shops.

Starving after all that wine-tasting, we stopped at a local shop for some delicious pasta - it hit the spot!! The owner of this little shop could tell we needed the pasta fast. He was a delightful person so excited to be around new people that he could share his adventures with. So we heard all about his recent vacation to Australia. It was a real local experience.

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