The Chianti Classico wine region is the best known of seven Chianti zones in Tuscany. The other six zones are Montalbano, Colli Fiorentini, Rufina, Colli Aretini, Colli Senesi and Colline Pisane. Chianti Classico refers to the zone between Florence and Siena, marked by the symbol of the Chianti Classico wine consortium, the 'gallo nero,' or black rooster.
If you are heading north from Siena, a great place to start your tour of the Chianti Classico region is the Rocca delle Macie estate just south of Castellina in Chianti. The brick-walled tasting room has large picture windows overlooking the vineyards. Generous tastings were given of a wide range of Rocca del Macie's high quality wines, including:
All of the wines are available for puchase, as well as other Rocca delle Macie products such as fine olive oil, honey and grappa. The tasting room is open on Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 noon and 3-6 p.m.
The Rocca delle Macie estate also has five apartments available for rent.
Heading into the town of Castellina, there are several enotecas in the center of town that offer free wine tastings.
Heading north from Castellina along the Via Chiantigiana (N222), you first pass through the town of Panzano before coming to the town of Greve in Chianti. In the center of town is Piazza Matteotti, where a lively Saturday market is held. The statue in the center of Piazza Matteotti is of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European to discover New York harbor and the namesake of the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn. Giovanni was born in the nearby castle of Verrazzano, where today sits the wine estate of Fattoria di Verrazzano.
Fattoria di Verrazzano is one of many wine estates in Greve that have tasting rooms and that offer tours of their facilities. A good place to get information and maps is the Greve tourist office located on Via Luca Cini, which is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4:30-7 p.m.
One of the best tasting rooms in Greve is at Castello Vicchiomaggio, located a few minutes north of the center of town. The Vicchiomaggio estate is owned by an Englishman, John Matta, who has won widespread recognition for producing high quality Chianti Classico wines using traditional methods. The wines available for tasting include:
The tasting room is located at the entrance to the estate. The Castello Vicchiomaggio itself is situated about 3/4 of a mile away on a hilltop surrounded by vineyards. The Castello has a restaurant on the premises and also has apartments and a small farmhouse for rent (see below).
For typical Tuscan cooking in charming surroundings, we highly recommend Ristorante Le Vigne in Radda in Chianti. The restaurant is located in an old farmhouse that has been converted into a small inn. It is surrounded by vineyards of the Vignavecchia wine estate. It is just off the road between Radda in Chianti and Villa a Radda.
LE VIGNE, PODERE LE VIGNE, RADDA IN CHIANTI
Castello Vicchiomaggio has one- and two-bedroom apartments and a three-bedroom farmhouse for rent by the week at fairly reasonable rates. Rentals can be arranged directly with Castello Vicchiomaggio or through CIT Tours.
VIA VICCHIOMAGGIO 4, GREVE IN CHIANTI