It rained cats and dogs the Monday that we spent in Tuscany with Al and Mitch. Despite the downpour, we drove to Greve and tasted wine at the Cantina and then ate another great lunch at Nerbone in Greve, one of my favorite restaurants in Chianti. Mitch and I split an order of steak tartare, so you know that I was a happy camper! We also split an order of pasta with cinghiale sauce—no surprise there!
Although early weather forecasts called for rain all week in Tuscany, on Tuesday we awoke to brilliant sun and a gorgeous day. We were grateful for that because we had booked a tour of Brolio Castle in southeastern Chianti. Brolio Castle dates back to the 11th century and has been owned by the Ricasoli family since 1141, nearly 900 years! The family lives in the castle in the summer and in Florence in the winter. The most famous Ricasoli is Bettino, an interesting man who was a leading figure in the consolidation of Italy in the mid-1800s and a scientist who performed experiments in grape growing and vinification that led to the modern formula for Chianti wine. The tour lasted nearly three hours, and we visited the castle (although not the family quarters), the vineyards, and the winery, and we tasted three Barone Ricasoli wines.
Fall in Tuscany is pretty, although not so colorful as fall in the northeastern United States. In Tuscany the vineyards turn lovely shades of pale green and yellow, with a few red leaves here and there, and the countryside is spectacular. The views from Brolio Castle, which is perched on a hill, are magnificent, as you will see in the photos.
The Barone Ricasoli wines that we tasted—both white and red—were delicious, and if we hadn’t had to scurry to Siena, which is about 20 kilometers away and which is visible from the castle, we might have bought a case or two. But scurry we did and enjoyed lunch and hit the top sights there. On the way back to Borgo di Pietrafitta we stopped to watch another spectacular Tuscan sunset.
I’ve now seen Tuscany in spring, summer, and fall. Fall is always my favorite season, so that preference may influence my opinion, but I like fall in Tuscany best. To be absolutely certain, I guess I’ll have to give winter a try!