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  • Writer's pictureNicole Leonetti

A Day in Chianti

I’ve dreamt about visiting Tuscany for years! It is one of those dreams that I never thought would become a reality. I was happy even just to fantasize about traipsing around the vineyards of Tuscany (typically, these daydreams occurred when I was at work). However, I was finally able to live out my Tuscan dreams. I was looking for the quintessential experience, so we arranged a tour guide/driver to take us from our hotel in Florence up into the hills of Chianti Classico to visit three wineries. I couldn’t have been more pleased with these places, and I hope to visit many more Chianti wineries in the future.

Let’s quickly talk about Chianti. Chianti is a region in Tuscany that is located about 45-minutes from Florence. So, Chianti is a place, but it is also a wine. Chianti wine is basically wine that comes from Chianti…but there are rules, of course. For a wine to use the Chianti name, it must be made with at least 80% of Sangiovese, a red Italian grape variety. The name Sangiovese derives from “sanguis Jovis” in Latin which translates to “blood of Jupiter”. With Sangiovese you will get a medium to full-bodied wine with relatively high tannins and acidity. The high acidity makes it super food-friendly meaning it can be enjoyed with a wide range of flavors and cuisines. Although, I’m happy to drink a bottle of Chianti all on its own, as well. When drinking Sangiovese, you will pick up on the cherry and fig flavors with sometimes the lightest hint of roasted pepper and tomato. What I’m saying is - Sangiovese is a good time!

During our trip, we visited Chianti Classico, a subregion of Chianti that produces premium Chianti wines (no straw baskets here!). You’ll know you have a Chianti Classico wine when you see the famous black rooster on the label (the tale of the black rooster is a whole other story). You’ll see many black roosters when visiting Chianti Classico and these are the three wineries we enjoyed during our trip. I do want to note that you can purchase wine from these wineries and have them shipped back home. They took just a few weeks to arrive to California from Italy. It is always nice to have a taste of Italy back in real life.

Poggio Amorelli: This winery is owned by the Mazzarini family and is located close to the historical Castellina in Chianti. They make high-quality wines following the Chianti Classico method. We were given a brief tour of their facilities and then whisked away to a table on their terrace for our immersive tasting. We had breathtaking views of the vines while we snacked on scrumptious meat and cheese served with their olive oil and aged vinegars. (*Favorite Wine: 2019 Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG)

Sant’Agnese Farm: Sant’Agnese is a boutique winery in the heart of Chianti. We were told that we would be visiting Sant’Agnese Farm for a “light lunch”. I was expecting more cheese and cured meats – but turns out a “light lunch” in Chianti is actually a feast of Italian delicacies. We had the obligatory meat and cheese but also a beautiful arugula salad (with meat and cheese in it), assorted Bruschetta, Ravioli with a lemon cream sauce, and Strawberries with Whipped Cream and aged Vinegar on top. All of it was delicious and, of course, all of it was paired with copious amounts of their wine. (*Favorite Wine: 2018 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG)

Casa Emma: Casa Emma is an absolutely stunning place surrounded by 28 hectares of vineyards and 1000 (!) olive trees. They are passionate about sustainability and follow biodynamic and organic viticulture principles. We were given a thorough tour of their facilities and then led to yet another beautiful terrace for our in depth tasting of their fabulous wines. I also must mention that they sell skincare products as well! They have hand creams and face creams enriched with olive oil and red grapes. Wine and beauty merch?? Sign me up! (*Favorite Wine: Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva Fiorella Lepri)

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