Day 3 of our tour was spent in Chianti Classico and we were in the hands of two renowned estates.
From Siena we headed forty five minutes north to Barberino Val d’Elsa. This is an incredibly picturesque area and ticks all the boxes for rugged and beautiful scenery. Our first stop was at Isole e Olena and we were greeted by owners Marta and Paolo de Marchi. Their family have owned the estate since the mid 60’s and it is now one of the admired Chianti Classico estates with their Cepparello a highly regarded Super Tuscan. Paolo gave us a detailed account of the social history of the area and its rapid transformation in the 70’s. Paolo was passionate, funny and intensely knowledgeable and we learned a lot in a short time. The tasting was terrific as we experienced superb chardonnay, high quality Chianti Classico and then a series of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and their £150 Gran Selezione. The Vin Santo at the end was sublime.
From Isole e Olena it was an hour’s drive south to Castelnuovo Berardenga and the illustrious Felsina estate. Carlotta showed us the historic old cellars and explained the background to the winery.
I have had the pleasure of visiting Felsina on a number of occasions and they never fail to please. We savoured a delightful tasting lunch as we paired Chardonnay, Chianti Classico, Classico Riserva and their Super Tuscan Fontalloro with superb antipasti, pasta and then rounded it all off with some delicious Cantucci biscuits and their stunning 2006 Vin Santo.