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Candelaria Design Tour Italy ~ Day 7 ~ Wine Tour with Pino in Chianti

Pino Teresi - 2004
I met Pino Teresi in 2000 on my first trip to Italy as I was introduced by our first Candelaria Tour Italy host, Louis Martin. She told us of a wonderful man who spoke very good English that could take us on a wonderful tour through Tuscany to see and taste some amazing wines, cheeses, meats and oils. What a find he has been. I have been on at least 8 tours since.
Pino Teresi - 2013 - Looking good!

We started the day with coffee on the terrace and then a quick dash to the little coffee/breakfast bar in Mercatale where we would rendezvous with Pino as he had reserved a bus for all of us. We quickly grabbed a panini and some coffee - some of us ordered a latte only to fined that means warm milk - and made our way onto the bus. Greg had attempted to get some cash out of the town ATM but the ATM machine must have been hungry too and ate their card for breakfast! Luckily, they had another, called their bank and it was off to Tuscany.

Today our tour was the Chianti region of Tuscany. After a two hour windy bus ride and a little adventure along the way we made it to our first stop, the Castelo di Meleto for a quick walk around their grounds as we were too early for a tasting. What a beautiful place, with the most lovely gardens. I had been here in 2004 and remembered how gorgeous this place was. We all took several pictures and enjoyed the surrounding scenery and sunshine and we were off to our first official tasting!

It was now noon and time to enjoy some wine. Our next stop was the Castelo d'Albola which is a beautiful winery in Chianti. Gorgeous grounds and some amazing wine and vin santo (dessert wine) cellars. Following our tour of the cellars it was off to the tasting room for some of their wines. We tried roughly five wines starting with their Chardonnay which was light and crisp and more like a Sauvignon Blanc - very delightful and I'd have to say this would be my kind of Chardonnay. Then it was time to try their Chiantis of which their Reserve was the best.  Finally, we finished with a Vin Santo. Beautiful!

Following our tasting it was off to lunch in the Chianti countryside. We enjoyed a beautiful lunch featuring a variety of crostinis, a delicious spaghetti, and a farrow salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions. All delicious. Of course red wine and lemoncello for dessert.

Then it was off to the capital of Chianti, Greve. I love this little town. We stopped at an amazing cellar, shop, wine tasting store - Le Cantine de Greve in Chianti where they had carousels of different wines featured, you buy a prepaid card, plug it into a reader and choose the wine tastings you want to explore. Loved it. We spent a good hour here trying wines, grappas, vin santos and oils. Everything from Chiantis to Brunellos, to Amarones. The Amarone was the best!

From here we went to the main piazza to shop and enjoy the most amazing butcher shop. Spectacular - it just went on and on. I wish I could infuse the blog with all the smells from the cellars and meat shops from this day! Following the tour of Greve we were off to the Balsamic Vinegar cellar in Montagliari where we toured their cellars and sampled and purchased some twenty and thirty year old balsamic vinegars that were more like delicious syrups. Amazing!

From there it was a long 2-3 hour bus ride through pouring rain back to our little Niccone Valley in Umbria where a seven course meal was waiting for us at Mimmi's. This meal, family prepared each day, is served country style with a pitcher of local farmer's wine on the table. Once the food starts coming it just keeps coming. We started with cheeses and meets and then grilled vegetables. We then went to two pasta dishes, raviolis and then manicotti, then onto roasted pork and turkey and more vegetables and then for dessert it was panna cotta with an espresso glaze and tiramisu. Fabulous.

A quick walk to the cars and drive home to our little country houses in Umbria. We were now halfway done with our adventure through Italy with an amazing half yet to come.