After Florence, we couldn’t wait to savour rustic Tuscany. From the Chiantis and the Brunellos to the cyprus- lined landscapes of green. Vineyard hopping would be one way to look at it, but we wanted more. We wanted to live in the heart of all of this. And the Montechiaro Wine Estate was the ideal setting.
A Tour of the Montechiaro Wine Estate
We (Charles, I and a couple of dear friends) were staying in one of the family’s villas on the Montechiaro Wine Estate. I may not know too much about winemaker’s terms like Terrior, but I’ll tell you this – Drinking Montechiaro wines while sitting and looking out at the vineyards makes a lot more sense than sitting here in Mumbai and sipping them. The Eighteenth Century Montechiaro Estate is sprawling. And we had the charming Alessandro Griccioli, the talented young winemaker to show us around. He began by showing us the old farmhouses surrounding the family villa. Quaint stone structures with creepers plastered on the facade, they were everything we imaged Tuscan houses to be. We walked the dirt path, towards the other villa. Signs of spring approaching were everywhere from the covered swimming pool to the flowers beginning to bloom. We crossed over into the main family villa, gasping in unison at the amazing picture postcard view before us. Alessandro smiled, his eyes twinkling, knowing the effect his estate had on us and he was pleased. 160 Hectares, 10 of them vineyards surrounded by 2000 Olive trees. Wow. In the distance, silhouetted against the sun, he pointed out the city tower of Siena, the town we had stayed in the previous day. This was the day we fully understood the meaning of “rolling hills”. The Tuscan landscape really did seem like it was rolling, undulating, coming up and going down as if in an endless mass of waves. A green velvet blanket, pricked only in bits by a line of needle sharp Cyprus trees, shaded by the clouds, shadowed by the sun. We entered the family garden, where ancient lemon trees bearing plump yellow lemons sat tempting us to grab a couple for salad. The old barn, retained in its original state, family crest on the wall, his grandfather’s horse cart in the corner. We walked around as if in wonderland.
Wine Tasting at the Montechiaro Wine Estate
On our walk around the estate, we had come full circle, back to the main building, opposite which sat Alessandro’s prized possessions. His cellar. A peek into the back room where the Vin Santo sat fermenting, and we knew that there was a lot of time this cellar had seen under the watchful eye of the Vin Santo maker, one who no longer was. The ancient wood casks retained the original fermentation, which carried on from batch to batch- the Madre. Bringing us to his wine tasting, the sparkle in Alessandro’s eyes got shinier, as he now pulled out bottle after bottle of his labour. We tasted several delicious wines, the Anno Domini 345 taking the prize for everyone’s favourite, while the Arte Liquida Bianco was definitely a mind-twister. The nose was sweet and dessert-like, while the taste itself was rather crisp and refreshing. The grappa was lovely and the vin santo among the nicest we had! All of this accompanied by some lovely cheeses and fruit purées from their store at Montereggioni Castel. Leafing through the old log books of the family, to see how much sheep and chicken were once sold for was a lovely touch!
Staying at the Montechiaro Wine Estate Villa
Of the different villas on the estate, we stayed at the Villa Capannina and it had everything we’d need for a lovely weekend in the countryside. 4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, a dining room and lounge area with a fireplace, a stocked up kitchen, outdoor seating beside the house at the garden and behind on the terrace overlooking the neighbouring vineyards. Splendid. And we were so well looked after. From Nonna sneaking in to place some cake on our table in the morning, to the lovely ladies Sandra and Sabrina coming in to show us how to make pasta and then cook us a lovely rustic meal in the evening. We began by kneading out our own dough for the egg pasta, and then rolling it into Tagliatelle as well as Tortellini. The ricotta spinach stuffed Tortellini was pretty good even if I say so myself! The night ended late, over several bottles of Tuscan wines, good friends and general merriment.
For a wonderful stay in the Tuscan countryside with the warmth of Italian hospitality and some lovely wines, look up the wonderful Montechiaro Wine Estates.
This post was made possible by Montechiaro Wine Estates. Opinions as always, are our own.