Notes From a Small Tuscan Wine Cellar.
Greek writers discussed the virtues of Tuscan Wine in literary references dating back to the 3rd century BC. Word has it that the Etruscans started viticulture in Tuscany during the 8th century BC with exports going out to Southern Italy and Gaul a century later.
Winemaker Riccardo Rosati carries on Tuscany’s storied (and delicious) tradition today at the family run Agricola Fontanelle in the medieval hill town of Chianciano Vecchia in the Siena province. Along with his two brothers–Leonardo and Valerio–Riccardo produces world-class wines from experience inherited from generations of family wine making and his personal passion for the vine.
Within minutes of meeting Riccardo outside of the cellars of Agricola Fontanelle for our tasting, I realized quickly we were in store for something special. His enthusiasm for viticulture is certainly not rare, especially in this region; however, his personal connection to the land’s culture and willingness to open up about his life’s work was a like being in the audience for a VH1 Storytellers session with wine taking the place of music. For a few hours on a warm spring evening in Tuscany, Ricarrdo took us into the bottles we sampled, explaining the depths and complexities of each, while we indulged on an incredible selection of cured meats, olive oil and breads.
And really that is the true brilliance of Agricola Fontanelle. The brothers all bring something to this fertile and sustainable farmland. The vineyards are cultivated according to the high-density, low-yield system to obtain the highest quality wines, producing both Chianti DOCG (Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita) and IGT ( Indicazione Geografica Tipica) Toscana. The farm’s award-wining virgin olive oil is regarded as one of the best in Tuscany. And to top things off, Agricola Fontanelle also raises the traditional Tuscan pig, Cinta Senese. This ‘heirloom’ breed of pig, lives cage free on the farm to help maintain its well being, which results in higher quality meat.
Just about the time the streets lights flickered on against the backdrop of Italian nightlife, we made our way out of the cellar and back to our farmhouse across the way, carrying a few bottles of the brothers’ passion with us to share their family’s traditions with ours.
Our wine tasting at Agricola Fontanelle was part of the G Adventures’ Local Living Italy: Southern Tuscany, a 7-day tour that takes you into the heart of Tuscany and its storied hill towns.For those in search of experiencing the real Tuscany, we can’t recommend this tour enough. Stay tuned for more stories from our journey through Tuscany with G Adventures.
*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!
**Although G Adventures hosted us on this trip, our views and opinions are always our own.