“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy,”
– Benjamin Franklin
This year’s Cantine Aperte weekend has been filled with time with friends in the countryside around Montefalco. It was about tasting gorgeous wines, strolling through the vines, and enjoying stunning views over some of Umbria’s finest landscapes.
And what better place to learn about the local superstar grape Sagrantino than at the Arnaldo Caprai vineyard.
Umbrian families have been perfecting their crafts for generations. And that goes for harvesting olives, sculpting ceramics and, of course, winemaking.
Visiting this beautiful winery was on the top of my ‘to do’ list for years. They are evangelical about taking visitors on tours, tastings, or even gourmet picnics among the vines – the setting makes for the perfect al fresco dining experience.
Since 1988 Marco Caprai has been leading the company in his pursuit of giving the tradition an innovative approach. Harnessing his personal talent and skills, he made a commitment to produce high quality wines through environmentally conscious innovation, sustainable winery and farming operations. This, and the desire to preserve the landscape and regional identity, has lead to years of research in the agronomic and enological fields, which also involved the University of Agriculture of Milan.
I happen to love May and everything that comes along with it: the sunny days, the verdant hills, the many events, the balmy air and.., of course, Cantine Aperte. Italy wouldn’t be Italy if there was no wine involved!
Since 1993, member wineries of MTV (Movemento Turismo Vino) open their doors to personally meet the public on the last Sunday in May.
Tuscany, where outstanding wines and olive oil have been produced for centuries, is chock-full of great wineries. I wrote about some of them in my Cantine Aperte 2015 posts last year.
This year’s visit takes me first to the gorgeous part of Tuscany near Florence and the bordering Chianti Classico region, Figline Valdarno. This medieval town was once known as the barn of Florence. Il Palagio estate, in the countryside, surrounded by vines and dark green, at-attention cypress trees, has been lovingly restored by Sting and his beautiful wife Trudie Styler.
You can stop by, to taste and buy gorgeous wines, olive oil and more. Their Sister Moon is among the best 101 Italian wines.
What a stunning setting and beautiful winery! Surrounded by Chianti Classico vineyards, planted on steep hillsides to Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes. They produce some gorgeous wines here. We lucked out and had postcard style weather.
Castello di Querceto
This is one of my favourite estates, located in the northeastern corner of the Chianti Classico region.
It’s an unforgettable place in the heart of Tuscany, one of the fabulous castle wineries of the area.
We had a wonderful experience here, and I can highly recommend this family owned and operated winery for lovely wine tastings, or even accommodation in the Chianti Classico region.
Radda in Chianti
Not too far away is another Tuscan wine mecca – Radda in Chianti. The road to Chianti is picture perfect Tuscany. This landscape with vineyards and olive groves has become familiar through its depiction in Italian Renaissance paintings, and every corner of it is rich in Tuscan authenticity.
Located halfway between Florence and Siena, the Castello di Radda wine estate lies atop a hill facing the town of Radda in Chianti.
This winery is one of the biggest in the area, and the surrounding scenery is simply gorgeous!
The view was amazing and the estate maintained impeccably. In the glass: Castello di Radda Toscana IGT Rosato.
I previously wrote about this estate a year ago, I like it so much and I visit several times a year.
A great stop for winetastings!
The stunning pool overlooking the undulating countryside. Life should always be like this…
The village of Il Borro – a journey into medieval Tuscany.
Tenuta La Pineta
A big reason for visiting Tuscany is to not just sample the great wines, but to have it served to you by the families who make it. We spent a lovely afternoon touring the vineyard and heard Luca share with us his love and passion for winemaking.
And here are some of the gorgeous products you can take home to remind you of your visit to this beautiful region.
Castello di Brolio is now home to the descendants of the Ricasoli family, who still live in the castle, so you can visit the gardens and the museum, but also admire the great view. All this followed by the wine tasting at the Ricasoli wine shop (included in the entry ticket).
Did you know that Baron Bettino Ricasoli was the first to create the recipe for what became the great Chianti wine famous all over the world?
Here you get the opportunity to unwind and enjoy a different rhythm. Definitely worth a trip!
Another important estate I highly recommend visiting is Il Borro.
The Ferragamo family have preserved this picturesque area of natural beauty.
Here we got a chance to taste gorgeous wines accompanied by local specialities. My pick? I really enjoyed the elegant tannins of Il Borro, with its ruby colour, dry taste and its good body and consistency. The broad and silky texture of this wine made me want another sip (and a piece of prosciutto, too)!
Another wine producer, Tenuta Vitereta, have offered their best wines that express their strong personality through the balance of various sensations and wide scents.
And since you need something to go with your wine, some local produce, like excellent salame and prosciutto, directly from the tree! (Should definitely plant one of these in my garden…)
And, finally, here we are!.. In front of the Ponte Buriano, a seven-arch bridge I bet you are all acquainted with. Want a hint? This bridge was used by Leonardo da Vinci in the lower-right quadrant of one of his paintings. Another hint? No, I guess you all recognize ‘the Bridge’ behind the Mona Lisa.