In the morning we will reach the Chianti Classico area driving through beautiful narrow country roads. Our fist stop will be at one of the 2 Castles and wine estates that we will visit during our Chianti Castles and Wine tour.
The experts English speaking guides will explain you all about the Castle history and the wine making process from the vine growing to the bottle ageing. At the end of the Castle tour you will have the possibility to taste and enjoy all the estate production as wines, oil and much more.
We have selected for our guests some of the best restaurants of the region, where you will appreciate the tasty and gourmet Tuscany dishes.
In the Middle Age all the ‘Chianti’ area was covered with many fortified settlements. These castles were fiefs of the many different local lords, like the counts Guidi, the Trebbiesi, the ‘da Monte Rinaldi’. Since the 1201, after the peace of Fonterutoli, Florence starts to wield its power on the region. At the beginning of the 14th century this territory was organized in ‘Terzieri’ united in the new born ‘Chianti League’.
CASTELLO DI MELETO – Gaiole in Chianti Meleto Castle announces itself in the enchanting Chianti landscape at the end of a pleasant driveway lined with cypresses and junipers.
The Castle belonged to the Benedictine monks of the Coltibuono Abbey. The name “Meleto in Chianti” appears for the first time in 1269, in the Florentine Guelphs’ “Libro degli Estimi“, as the property of the family of Rainerii de Ricasolis.
The Ricasoli family extended and embellished the building over the centuries, and today the Castle still has its massive 15 th century fortifications with an imposing cylindrical tower built as protection against artillery fire.
But there is also the aristocratic grace of the villa nobile, with its sequence of furnished and decorated rooms, and an unparalleled 18th century theatre. The land of the Castle of Meleto stretches round the castle for about 1.000 hectares (2.471.000 acres), 180 of which are destined to the cultivation of the grapevine. The prevailing grapes are Sangiovese, destined to the production of Chianti Classico wine, together with Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and other traditional types of vine. The soil is mostly marl, calcareous marl and alberese: it is just in this barren land that the grapevine gives its best fruits, full of scents and natural fragrances.
CASTELLO DI BROLIO – Gaiole in Chianti. The first stones of Brolio Castle date back to the middle ages. The castle passed into the hands of the Ricasoli family thanks to an exchange of lands in 1141. Brolio, on the border between the territories of Siena and Florence, soon became the stage for all the disputes of the period, representing the Florentine bulwark against the fearsome Siena.
Through the centuries the castle has suffered attack and destruction in numerous historical battles. The castle has been rebuilt and modified several times and today it bears the marks of the different eras: from the fortified medieval bastions to the Romanesque and neo-Gothic additions and the unique nineteenth century Tuscan details.
Brolio castle is surrounded by 240 hectares of vineyards, forming part of the farm’s lands, making it the largest in the Chianti Classico area: 1,200 hectares in the communes of Gaiole in Chianti and Castelnuovo Berardenga – valleys, hills, woods of oak and chestnut trees, 26 hectares of olive groves, all enjoying the beauty and the wide variety of soils and climate in this central Chianti area.
Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809 – 1880), illustrious politician, researcher and far-sighted wine entrepreneur, was the promoter of the most famous wine in the world today: Chianti. In 1872 Chianti was born: after more than thirty years of research and experiments, Baron Bettino Ricasoli wrote down the formula in a famous letter addressed to Professor Cesare Studiati at the University of Pisa: “… I verified the results of the early experiments, that is, that the wine receives most of its aroma from the Sangioveto (which is my particular aim) as well as a certain vigour in taste; the Canajuolo gives it a sweetness which tempers the harshness of the former without taking away any of its aroma, though it has an aroma all of its own; the Malvasia, which could probably be omitted for wines for laying down, tends to dilute the wine made from the first two grapes, but increases the taste and makes the wine lighter and more readily suitable for daily consumption … “
The production rules have recently been modified, abandoning Malvasia, as Bettino Ricasoli had already supposed, leaving Sangiovese in the leading role, with a maximum permitted amount of 20% of other red grape varieties.
CASTELLO DI ALBOLA – Radda in Chianti. Albola, located on a hillock close to the sources of the Pesa river, was one of the most powerful castles of the Terziere commanded by the near town of Radda in Chianti.
The castle still looks today like a classic Tuscan mountain stronghold with the great part of its structures dating back to the 13th/14th century. Albola is also one of the few castles of this type that maintains traces of the external elliptical walled enclosure , at the center of which still stands the mighty and tall keep flanked by another lower building, both of medieval origin.
The original gate of the keep opens itself at the first floor level, all the complex is constructed in stone and was recently object of a big restoration. It was also an important point of resistance during the Aragonese invasion in 1478, before it became part of the Gran Duchy of Tuscany. Today Albola is known as Chianti Classico winery owned by Zonin family.