Day 77 - Chianti
27 February 2022
Noisy night. Bad sleep. Italy has reopened bars and nightclubs. The bar across from us picked up at 3.00 am and wound up at 4.00 am. To be expected. Ground floor in the heart of the city.
“Someone's always spraying the air with their mood.” ― Chuck Palahniuk
Pack and check out by 8.30 am. The weather is ‘feels like -2 C. Light snow’. It was colder yesterday. Grab the bus and hit the road. Destination - vaccine attempt number one thousand.
We head to where Siena ASL suggested. A house in the middle of nowhere. We continue driving. Hit a roundabout with a sign for Ospedale. We follow, get lost. Keep going. I am ready to throw in the towel. At the next intersection, ospedale. We are heading back to Siena ospedale. Shell spots a sign. Vaccino COVID-19. Under protest, I follow.
We come to a clinic in a tiny village. It is open. In we go. I have little hope. Yes, there is someone here who speaks English. Let me check with the Doctor. Yes, we can give you a vaccination.
Paperwork complete. Email our details. Certificate ready Tuesday. Vaccination done. After all the run-around. All the negative responses. All the shunting from one department to the next. Here we are in rural Tuscany and everyone is saying ‘yes’.
Take a bow Rachelle, your perseverance and determination paid off. I was ready to quit after the third attempt.
“You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” ― Harper Lee
We take the scenic route to our farm accommodation. There is no rush. If we find an open winery, we will stop. The scenery is stunning. Hills that wind up to reveal vast landscapes of vineyards. Every hilltop has a villa or a castle. I feel like I am driving in a novel.
We pull into Castello di Bossi. I had heard of the producer but not tried their wines. We take a quick tour of the Chianti Classico barrel room and the cellar. Di Bossi has vineyards in Montalcino and produces a world-class Brunello. Highly regarded for its aging potential, there is Brunello di Montalcino dating back to the 1960s. Surprisingly, there is also Chianti Classico from similar vintages. Franchesco assures us that Chianti Classico is for cellaring.
“I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.” ― Oliver Goldsmith
We head up to the tasting room. We try the 2016 Chianti Classico Reserva alongsinde the 2018 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. Both are excellent expressions of Chianti, the Gran Selezione showing more fruit and more oak. The Reserva is my pick, the 2018 needs some time to show its potential.
Over the last few decades, Super Tuscans have dominated the wine spotlight in the region. Tignanello, Sassacaia and its bedfellows. The introduction of Cabernet Sauvignon leaves them outside the Chianti DOCG. I have never been a fan. Soon enough the conversation turns to Super Tuscans. Franchesco shoots downstairs and returns with a bottle of Corbaia. The Castello di Bossi Super Tuscan.
This is a powerful wine. Only 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The rest is Sangiovese. The Cabernet Suavignon dominates. It is a great wine. My snobbery toward the style is not justified. The Chianti purist; just wine wankerism. Good wine is good wine. That is where it should start and finish.
“But the thought of being a lunatic did not greatly trouble him; the horror was that he might also be wrong.” ― George Orwell
We head to Carlinovacanze. A little Tattoria called Il Carlino D’Oro. Traditional Tuscan food. We arrive just in time. It is near full and we take the second last table. The owner and his son work the floor. I could see only one person in the kitchen. I am guessing his wife. The son is about 12 years old. He works the floor like he has been doing for a decade, which seems unlikely.
Antipasti to start. Tagliatelle is the pasta today. Beef ragu and chingale. I can’t say no to wild boar at the moment. Secondi is roast pork for me. Shell goes with the rabbit. The rabbit is the dish of the day. An entire hindquarter cooked perfectly.
‘Rabbit is the best flavoured chicken I have ever eaten’ - Rachelle Griffin
More driving through the Chianti countryside. Only occasionally forgetting what side of the road I should be on. Our small road turns onto a gravel road. We wind down through olive groves. Arrive at Podere Felceto. Built in the 1600s. Our apartment overlooks the valley and mountains beyond.
After the racket of Siena, the silence is wonderful. It is cold, there is a wind. The trees are still in winter, with no foliage. We shower and relax before heading to dinner laid on by our hosts.
Antipasti plate from the local area. Home-made focaccia. I am not sure what I have been eating in Australia, but it isn’t focaccia. Call it something else, it is a disgrace to what I am eating here. Three types of Pecorino. Young, 12 months, and 24 months. All from the same local producer. The incredible pate from the region made from chicken liver and Vin Santo. Artichokes. Olives and olive oil from the estate. And so on.
“People confuse me. Food doesn't.” ― Anthony Bourdain
We head upstairs entirely satisfied. I can't wait to sleep tonight. The darkness is black as ink. The silence is deafening. There is no phone service. All is well.