Poggio al chiuso, fratelli

Poggio al Chiuso winery

Along the old Roman road Cassia, as one approaches the town of Tavarnelle, on a hill overlooking the Pesa Valley, we find the old cellar where everything started for the Poggio al Chiuso winery.

Nowadays it is run by the three Corti brothers: Marco, Matteo and Andrea, who each contributes his own peculiar skills to the continuation and development of this family business that their great-grand father Narciso started back in the 30’s.

During our visits to this winery, Andrea, the youngest of the three, is the one who welcomes you and guides you through the old vineyard and olive grove, and the cellar, while telling you about the history of the winery and introducing the wines that you will later try in the tasting room.

With the eight hectares of vineyard that surround the family home, situated just a few kilometers away from the main cellar, they produce six different wines and, of course, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The reds include a Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG, made in a very traditional way; this wine is a blend of local varieties only – Sangiovese and Canaiolo. After fermentation, it is left to mature in the traditional concrete vats, to preserve all the typical characteristics of the grapes used and become a very pleasant and direct wine. It is a perfect expression of a genuine Tuscan wine, suitable for all food occasions, from a simple picnic to a full course meal. If you are after something that offers more body and complexity, then it would be hard to decide between Le Cappelle, a pure Sangiovese, and Voltaccia 49, a pure Merlot. Both these wines have gained important award recognitions. They are aged in French oak barrels of 500L and left to refine in the bottle before their release on the market, when they are already fully enjoyable with richer meals, or just tasty cheese, but also offering good potential of evolution with further ageing to become good meditation wines.

In addition to these, for something light and fresh, there are also the three Voltaccino versions: white, red and rosé.

Poggio al Chiuso is a place where tradition and innovation are perfectly combined together. By listening to Andrea, you can immediately sense both the energy of the young generation approach to wine making, as well as the great respect they have for tradition, which they treasure and exploit to come up with very interesting and innovative ideas. The best example of this is evident during the visit to the cellar, when you see the bottles of their first production of a sparkling wine, made by the traditional blend used for Chianti – Sangiovese and Canaiolo – and applying the Champenoise method.

Unfortunately this first production will not be ready for tasting until 2023, but this is definitely a great reason to keep in touch with them, while enjoying what is already available to keep our palates entertained!

Renzo Marinai winery

Renzo Marinai winery

As you arrive at Renzo Marinai winery, you feel immediately immersed in history. This small farm locates on a hill right in the middle of the Conca d’Oro. This area is the geographical centre of Chianti, famous for the superior quality of its wines. The old central tower that dates to 1163 dominates the charming stone buildings of the winery. It is used now as part of the aging cellar where oak barrels of different sizes are stacked and wine rests with the sound of Mozart in the background.

The winery

The buildings are in the centre of the property where 8 hectares of vineyard alternate with olive groves and forest giving the visitors spectacular view to enjoy all around. The varieties grown are for the most part Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. They grow and use other less famous local varieties, like Canaiolo, Colorino, Foglia Tonda, Ciliegiolo, Mammolo and Pugnitello.

This is the charming atmosphere that permeates right through the place. A visit here means that you will meet Angela who will show you through the cellars while explaining the long history of the area and of the winery. She will then lead you into the tasting room and here the wines will start their show.

Their wines

Both Chianti Classico and the Riserva are a blend of Sangiovese with 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives the typical trait of Renzo Marinai’s wines: full body and fruitiness. The Riserva though, thanks to a more extensive aging in the barrels, also offers greater complexity and smoother tannins. The Chianti Classico Gran Selezione completes the Chianti family. It is a pure Sangiovese, a real thoroughbred obtained from carefully selected bunches. This wine is a great expression of the personality that this variety acquires in time. It is excellent with a rich meat dish and, if left to rest in the bottle for some years, it can also become a wonderful meditation wine to enjoy alone.

All three Chianti wines of Renzo Marinai are ideal for those who tend to prefer bolder wines to match with food.

One of the other red wines produced is Guerrante, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has ripe fruit aromas that support spicy and leathery notes and characterized by considerably smooth tannins.

Kadar is the name of a very special wine. It combines the rarer Tuscan varieties grown on the property. These grapes ferments and macerates directly in an oak barrel for 6 month. After pressing, the wine is first stored in large glass vessels for one year and then bottled. It is a real unique wine: complex, smooth but extremely fruity and fresh. Ideal for drinking alone. Finally, Conca d’Oro, the pure Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is one of the best interpretations of this wonderful location in the heart of Tuscany and tops a selection of wines that make a visit to Renzo Marinai winery a must for all Cabernet lovers.

We would love to take you there to enjoy these wonderful wines in such a charming historical setting and surrounded by breath-taking view. Don’t miss out!

 

Solatione winery

Solatione winery

I’m very happy today to talk about one the many excellences that enrich the special network of boutique wineries that you can visit on our tours. We’re talking about Solatione winery. We have been working with Solatione winery for well over a decade now. It is no surprise if every time we take someone there, it feels like taking them to visit family.

The history of Solatione winery

Like most small wineries, Solatione is a family run business. Renato Giachi started the farm at the beginning of the 70’s, planting the 6 hectares of vineyard with the typical local varieties: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino, Trebbiano and Malvasia. Now, his children, Fabio and Francesca run the farm. Well, they have been at it for over twenty years and doing a great job at keeping the reputation of this winery at the highest levels.

Fabio is one the hardest and most dedicated workers you could meet. He carries out all the work in the fields and in the cellar, where he spends entire days. Francesca, his sister, is in charge of all the office work and hospitality. When guests arrive, she’s the one to welcome them and take them through the property for a visit of the vineyard. The winery is situated on the top of a hill that dominates the Greve valley. It offers a spectacular view of the surroundings. Then she’ll follow with a visit to the cellar before sitting down in the beautiful tasting room. Here she will delight them with the tasting of their superb wines while entertaining not only with technical descriptions, but also with anecdotes and answers to all the questions.

Solatione’s wines – Chianti wines

Initially, Renato used to produce only Chianti Classico and sold it bulk to the bigger local producers. In 1992, he started bottling his wine with the Solatione label. In time the production extended to include Merlot grapes and Supertuscan wines. So, let’s look at them!

The tasting always starts with the basic Chianti Classico, a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and a small percentage of Canaiolo and Colorino. This wine has extreme elegance and never fails to surprise people who taste it for the first time with its fruitiness and freshness, supported by a sturdy and well-balanced structure that lets this wine age in the bottle even twenty years! It is the perfect treat for everyday meals.

Next, the Chianti Classico Riserva: in this case the blend includes only Sangiovese and Merlot. The result is equally impressive. Deeper colour, amazingly intense aroma and taste, rich with tannins that caress your palate and let you enjoy the dark fruit taste endlessly. It is ideal for rich Sunday roasts and aged cheese. This wine, if you resist the temptation of drinking it all before, is ideal for aging in the bottle for up to thirty years.

Solatione’s wines – Supertuscan wines

Looking now at the Supertuscan wines, we find Rossombroso and Sololui. Rossombroso is a pure Merlot with a brilliant ruby red colour. A wine that likes to keep the drinker entertained. Its ever-changing aroma and taste will first allure with ripe berries and then trap you with the myriad of spices that it’s capable of expressing as it breathes in the glass. Excellent with rich stews, but also alone, or with dark chocolate.

Last, but not least, Sololui is the latest addition to the Solatione family of wines since 1917. In this case the solo performer is Sangiovese, specially selected and aged in medium size French oak barrels for 24 months. The result is a complex and sombre wine that is best enjoyed with rich meat dishes, truffle and aged cheese.

Like all Solatione wines, these two are also ideal for wine collectors, with an aging potential of over thirty years. But then, why should we wait so long to enjoy these beauties?!

The superb quality and character of their wines certainly make a visit to Solatione winery a must for all wine enthusiasts, who will also enjoy the friendly personality of Francesca and the sheer beauty of the location. So, what are you waiting for? Let us take you to Solatione!

Wine drop stop

Wine drop stop

Have you ever experienced the time when you enjoy a good bottle of wine, better if Tuscan wine, but when you start pouring it into your glass, the drops stain the bottle and the table. Well, there is an easy way to avoid that: use a wine drop stop!

A drop stop is a disc that you have to roll so as to form a kind of funnel. Once you will put the little funnel into the wine bottle neck the work is done.

Thanks to the drop stop you will achieve two goals: first, you avoid the drops from the wine to fall and stain; second, you will be able to better direct the flow of wine to the point where it should be poured.

It is an unmissable item for all the wine lovers.

Book your wine drop stop from Tuscany Tour Time! Write an email to angie.chianti@gmail.com and it will arrive directly to your house.

Fattoria di Bagnolo winery

Fattoria di Bagnolo

Like all the wineries included in our wine tours, the one we are going to explore today is very special. We are talking about Fattoria di Bagnolo.

Bagnolo is a very small village very close to Impruneta, just a few kilometers South of Florence. As you arrive there, in spite of its proximity to the city, you are immediately immerged in the countryside. Over 6000 old olive trees seem to welcome you, as you drive down the small white road that runs right in the middle of them. At the end of this short drive surprises begin.

The property and the owner

The farm belongs to the Bartolini Baldelli family since 1819. Giovanna will be there to welcome her guests. She will take them on a short tour of the property and the cellars. Starting from the main building: the old renaissance villa dates back to 1419 and was once the property of Machiavelli. It has a charming courtyard with the old well in the centre and also a private chapel. Through a beautiful, old and large door, you reach one of the gardens that surround the villa. From here you have one of the most spectacular view: hills, villas, olive grove and vineyards all around. In the distance you can see the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence cathedral!

The visit of the winey

Heading directly underneath this garden, Giovanna will lead you into the old aging cellar. Here the oak barrels keep company to the old cement vats. There are lots of stories about this place, and Giovanna is always happy to entertain you with them while also explaining about the importance of the wine aging process. She will also encourage everybody to take wonderful photos.

By now everyone is in a good mood, as Giovanna likes to joke and engage with her guests and so it’s time to move back upstairs, into the tasting room.

This is also a special room that is full of history. It used to be the oil mill, and the old stone mill and press are still there. This makes it easy to fully understand how they used to extract extra virgin olive oil in the past. So, the tasting at Fattoria di Bagnolo always starts with the beautiful olive oil they produce now with the more modern method.

Their wines

But let’s come to the wines! The property includes 10 hectares (22 acres) of vineyards, all planted with mostly Sangiovese, and small percentages of the local Colorino variety, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and also some Trebbiano and Malvasia. The farm is within the Chianti Colli Fiorentini area, so it’s no surprise that this is their main production.

The young entry level Chianti Colli Fiorentini is made with a small addition of Merlot grapes to Sangiovese and has a very short aging in used barrels. The result is a very fruity and simple wine. It will surprise you for being extremely drinkable, yet very elegant with floral aromas. Next you will taste the Riserva version, where Merlot will make way to Colorino. The aging in this case is longer, about 12 months, and the barrels are not as old, hence the deeper color, more intense and complex aromas and definitely bolder body, but still, the elegance and balance of this wine are remarkable.

The Supertuscan

To complete the selection of red wines, Giovanna also produces a Supertuscan: Capro Rosso. This is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged in newer barrel for 18 months. A wine of great body and character, that is also suitable for long aging in the bottle, to become even more complex. While the two Chianti wines are best with meals, from appetizers and pasta and simple meat and vegetable dishes for the base, to the richer roasts and aged cheese for the Riserva, Capro Rosso on the other hand, is a great meditation wine that is also excellent with dark chocolate.

Their sweet wine

Last, but not at all least, at Fattoria di Bagnolo they also make a wonderful Vin Santo with the white varieties grown. Made according to the traditional method, it undergoes an aging that is often extended to over ten years in the small chestnut wood barrels. The complexity of this wine is immense, and you can enjoy it both with desserts or alone, but it is absolutely great with a strong Gorgonzola cheese!

 

Breath-taking views, beautiful buildings, history everywhere, wonderful oil and wines and a fun host like Giovanna, all make a visit to Fattoria di Bagnolo a completely satisfying experience. Don’t miss it!