Bowtie Diaries – DAY 4: Chianti

Cypress Trees at Trecciano

We probably should have spent the night at Cantina Gattavecchi, as 5:30am rolled around very quickly when we left dinner at midnight and then had to drive an hour back to our hotel.  We had a 6:30am departure time from our hotel, as we had a lot of ground to cover on our last day in Tuscany. With seven Chianti producers visits scheduled we were up for the challenge!  While everything in Tuscany seems relatively close, in reality it takes twice as long to get to where you are going as there are no straight roads in the Tuscan countryside. Our first stop was Tenuta di Trecciano, just outside of Siena. As we pulled up to Trecciano, we were greeted by majestic Cypress trees leading up to the estate, a quintessential scene in the Tuscan landscape.  Trecciano is located in one of the smaller Chianti regions in Tuscany, Chianti Senesi. So, if you are in our store looking for a Trecciano Chianti, you will see that it says “Chianti Colli Senesi” on the label, which means the Chianti was produced near the city of Siena.

Chianti Classico Black Rooster Label

A majority of the Chiantis though found in our Tuscan section at Total Wine are from the region Chianti Classico, and often identified as the wine with the black rooster. The black rooster, or gallo nero, is the emblem of the Chianti Classico producers association. Chianti Classico producers aren’t required to have the rooster on the DOCG label, but if you pay your member fees to the trade association, you can display the rooster as a seal of authenticity of Chianti Classico per DOCG rules. Chianti Classico may be produced from 100% Sangiovese grapes or the wine maker may substitute other red grapes, but any substitutions may not exceed 20% of the wine.

After visiting with Marco Rosati at Trecciano, we drove north up the mountains to Castellina in Chianti. Castellina is a small but charming city on top of the mountains, overlooking the scenic Chianti Classico region. Here we met up with two producers, Tommaso Bojola of La Castellina and Jacopo di Battista of Querceto di Castellina. When you are in Chianti Classico, you will find that the wine is sometimes bottled in a bottle called a fiasco, which is usually a glass vessel with a round body and bottom that sits in a close-fitting straw basket. Though most American believe this to be what makes a Chianti Classico authentic, often times the fiasco bottle isn’t exported to the U.S. as it is harder to ship overseas.

La Castellina Chianti Classico in a Fiasco Bottle

Querceto di Castellina Estate

Labels from the 2004 and 1872 Vintage

Our fourth stop of the day was at Castello della Paneretta near the small village of Monsanto to visit with Patricia and Enrico Albisetti. Castello della Paneretta has been producing wine for more than 400 years and has had the same label since first production. Patricia and Enrico’s wines are only composed of traditional grapes found within the region, Sangiovese and Canaiolo, making their wines as original and established as their label.

Capers Growing Out of the Castle Walls at Paneretta

After a delicious lunch at one of Patricia and Enrico’s favorite restaurants, we continued north to the city of Greve, one of the most prestigious grape growing areas of the Chianti Classico region. It was in Greve where we met up Alessandro Landini and his daughter Beatrice, who are the fifth and sixth generations of Landinis to run Fattoria Viticcio. Alessandro and Beatrice produce both Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva, which has been aged for a longer period of time. With little rest for the weary, we were back in the car and headed to our second to last stop, Luiano Palombo’s self-named property, Luiano. At Luiano, we met with son and second generation winemaker Antonio Palombo, who has been in the wine business for over 53 years. Antonio shared with us his passion for wine making and crafting S. Andrea Chianti Classico, sold exclusively at Total Wine & More.

Alfio with Allessandro and Beatrice Landini

Alfio in Luiano Cellar

Finally, we ended our day and the bow-tie diaries just 4 miles outside the city of Florence, where we began our journey four days ago at Massanera. Carlo Cataneo has managed the vineyard for the past 40 years, however the Massanera estate has been in the family since 1789 and during WWII served as headquarters for both German and American armies. When not making wine, Carlo helps raise baby Cinta Senese, or wild boar, and he safeguards them from foxes and wolves until they are old enough to be “wild” on their own and protect themselves. Massanera produces both Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva, as well as a few “Super Tuscans” which are a blend of Sangiovese and more than 20% of another red grape.

View of Piazza del Duomo from Massanera

Cinta Senese (Wild Boar)

It is here that we left Alfio after our journey through Tuscany. We hope you have enjoyed learning about Tuscany as much as we did, and that you got to learn more about Alfio and his fantastic Tuscan producers. Until next bow-tie diaries, check out Alfio and the Alfio Moriconi Selections at your local Total Wine & More.  If you are interested in tasting some of the wines from the Bowtie diaries, check out our “Tantalizing Wine of Tuscany” wine class at your local Total Wine on Sept 6th and 8th.

Ciao a tutti!

Ciao, for now!