Dusty in Chianti

October 13
The famous region of Chianti is dotted with numerous vineyards. Which one to see in the short time that we have? We decided on Montefioralle for the locale and intimate feel. The online reviews were accurate describing a family vineyard and olive groves of 5 acres thriving under the gaze of a small hamlet of same name.

Carlos greeted us sleepily. We were the first visitors at 10am arrived under the fog that shrouded the winding country road. The drive was scenic as the car started climbing from Grève in Chianti toward Montefioralle. The fog lent the landscape a mysterious feel. Combined with the autumnal hues of the vines, it was one of the most picturesque setting .

We are wine novices but learned many interesting facts from Carlos who is a certified sommelier. Chianti wine must have at least 80% Sangiovese grapes. The vines grow organically in the region and watered naturally by rain. Good vintage thus depends heavily on mother nature. We tasted 2015, 2014, Reserva and Vin Santo. The sweet Vin Santo and Reserva got thumbs-up. We bought a variety case including some olive oil which have yet to be harvested. It will be a good memento of our memorable time here to enjoy the wine at home in California.

The town Montefioralle deserved a quick visit. Very tiny yet timeless and charming.

Leaving Montefioralle winery, we headed to nearby Rignana toward our lunch reservation. Visitors to Chianti are never short of choices for restaurants. We chose La Cantinera di Rignana for its locale and reputation. It was bit hard to find or perhaps due to our poor sense of direction, 15 minutes drive from Montefioralle became 45 min. The road was classified as strada bianca because it was unpaved. We drove past the restaurant and had to double back. On. Steep. Unpaved. Rocky. Winding. Road. White dust enveloped the car as we nervously made our way gingerly along the windy steep slopes full of rocks providing for bumpy rides that caused the rear window to collapse. Just as we fretted whether to scrap the whole lunch plan, we found it. What a sigh of relief as we guided the car to the parking lot.

Perfect country setting. It perched on slopes covered with vineyards basking under the Tuscan sun. After a delicious lunch of ragu, wild boar stew, and pasta with truffles accompanied by Chianti wine, some of us ventured down the slope, weaving between the vines, trespassing. Further up another hill, we discovered a secluded B&B called Fattoria e Vila di Rignana. Peeking inside we saw no one so turned back and mentally note its desirable locale for future lodging.

The drive to Monteroni D’arbi, our next Airbnb, was also hilly and windy. It was not far but took longer due to winding country roads. Again, we traveled down dusty chalky road that coated our car in dust.The scenery however is quite picturesque. Our spacious Airbnb has panoramic view of the Crête Senesi region from all windows . It was spacious and comfortable with Italian pavers and stone facade The kitchen is fully equipped, along with grocery store in nearby Corsano, allowing us to cook simple yet delicious meals.

Our host, Maria met us on arrival. She spoke only Italian. Between the elementary Italian that we’d learned while preparing for our travel and Google Translate app, we managed to understand each other. Had enough of driving on rough roads, we decided to forgo further venture. After a quick meal, the women walked around to check out the hamlet. The fields along the road were tilled over revealing the bare sandy soil, so from afar we thought it was burnt dead grass. We came upon a big farm tractor and climbing it, turned it into a photography prop. Moments later, after we descended, a truck quickly dashed down the road toward us. Probably under surveillance, they thought we’d drive off with the tractor? With no streetlights, we headed back quickly as the sun began to set. Sleep came quickly in the comfortable bed lulled by crickets’ chirping.

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