After spending 3 days in Siena, we rented a car for our first excursion to the wine region of Chianti. The Chianti Classico wine region is between Florence and Siena. The wine must follow strict requirements to be labeled with the black rooster (Gallo Nero).
Our first stop was at the Brolio Castle which has been the home of the Ricasoli family since 1141. Bettino Ricasoli created the formula for Chianti Classico and the 32nd Generation of his family still lives on the estate.
The highlight of our trip to Chianti was our wine tour and lunch at the Vignamaggio winery and estate. Our host, Lorenzo, was very gracious and most informative. We were served a wonderful lunch on the terrace with a wine pairing for each course.
In the 15th Century, during the Renaissance, Anton Gherardini was the Lord of Vignamaggio. His daughter, Monna Lisa was the inspiration for Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, “La Gioconda”. We took our picture from the Mona Lisa Terrace that has a view thought to be the background for the painting.
Our B&B just outside Panzano has a view looking out at the Vignamaggio with the vineyard in the foreground and cypress trees around the estate. There are lots of olive trees on the drive up to the grounds.
We also visited Gaiole, Rada and Castillina that loosely speaking defined the original Chianti Classico region. The towns each has a small historic centers that was fun to wander and occasionally stop for a gelato.