Our trip to Italy concluded with two nights and a day with the wonderful people at the Castello D'Albola Estate in Radda di Chianti. The estate embodies every romantic image you could have of Tuscan life, captured in so many books and films.
This has been our third time in Tuscany and while it was a short visit it was the best. We enjoyed exceptional wine, food and company.
The Wine: Vintage Castello D'Albola, an estate tasting $$-$$$
The Food: Classic Tuscan homemade with loving care.
The Place: Castello D'Albola Estate, Winery and Hospitality in Radda di Chianti.
The estate sits on a rise over looking thousands of hectares of fertile land.
The buildings date back to the 12th century, when the property was held by the noble magnates of Monterinaldi. Through the following centuries the property was owned by other influential Tuscan families like the Samminiatis, the Pazzis, the Ginori Contis, and the Acciaiuolis who built the castle in the 1500's, That building was transformed into a splendid villa during the Renaissance. It looks much the same today as it did then.
Our flight from Cantania, Sicily, where we visited the Feudo di Principi Butera vineyard, to Florence was smooth and easy. But we arrived to a tremendous rain storm. Our faithful driver was undaunted and got us to the estate in good time.
That night we were hosted with a beautiful dinner and wine tasting. We were joined by people from from all over who were staying at the estate, many who had been here more than once.
Winemaker, Alessandro Gallo, took us through the beautiful red wines he produces, he is a very charming and entertaining man.
Le Ellere is one of Alessandro's finest creations. The wine is named after one of the vineyards on the Castello d’Albola estate which was once lush with ivy (edera in Italian but ellere in the Tuscan dialect). It is of 100% Sangiovese and is really a Chianti Classico but the unique terriror of this particular vineyard make it a wine worthy of a special name. I'm very happy that it is imported into the US.
Dinner included a simple pasta, with the finest ingredients. All hand made.
The next morning, much to our delight, we were greated by a beautiful Tuscan sun. I was up early so took a walk around this beautiful property. It is just so magical.
Once everyone arose we took off for a tour of the vineyards, production facilities and the cellars.
The tour tooks up and down windy dirt roads.
Then to the production facilities with high tech equipment hidden in the hillside. You would never guess it was there. More behind the scenes
I wondered what this mountain of grape skins was for and learned it is used to make their wonderfully potent Grappa.
This past harvest was during a very rainy season so the entire crop had to be hand picked, a huge task, but it was accomplished.
We then explored the gardens and ancient cellars.
Later in the day we had a wonderful lunch.
And enjoyed new friends.
Learn more about Castello D'Albola Estate and their hospitality offerings here: Castello d’Albola
Eat, Taste, Love in Italy by Matthew Delaney