Relais LaTorre, Cortona, Chiassa, Montipulciano,
This was to be the final 4 days of what has been an amazing food & wine tour with Ben Cleary and the Benfatti Foods group.
Could we keep finding more amazing experiences in this wonderful country . Lets see what unfolds.
Arezzo sits in the heart of four interconnecting valleys, the Valdichiana to the south, Valdarno to the west, Valtiberina to the north west, and Casentino to the north/west. Its a perfect base from which to explore Tuscany, and although we only had 4 days, i could have stayed here for 4 weeks, and still not seen everything. We shall return, you will read why later on.
We are heading for Relais LaTorre, 7 klm from Arezzo, ( 14 klm fro the motorway, and 70 klm from Siena & Florence , the complex located in the fortified part of the small village of Chiassa Superiore , the various buildings are structured on a fulcrum of a paved internal space, this manorial system connects the main residence with the farm annexes, where the five suites are now located. There are two other accommodations , the Torrino, an old towerused in the very early days as a prison. Now a very romantic shelter for 2 persons. Then there is the Baiellina, the farm managers house, perfect for longer stays, with 2 bedrooms, and this could be a base for future trips back to this amazing place.
Relais La Torre , has been bought back to life as a full Agritourisimo, run by the Marcelli family. Tulio is away when we arrive but we are warmly welcomed by Linda , Tullio's wife who will be hosting us as we settle in at this amazing property. www.relaislatorre.it
As its a late arrival we opt for a visit to a little Pizzeria del Borgaccio in the village at the base of the hill. Great little place that turns out all the daily bread for the village of Chiassa . We have one of the 5 suites l'Aia , and like the other 4 , all have been converted to very solid apartments, with very good bathrooms, very rustic finishes, and very fitting of the 17th century building.
We are up early to explore the area before a full inspection of the property including the winery
Breakfast is served in a huge room originally part of the stables with a great selection both from the farm, and breads from the local bakery that we ate at last night. very delicious
We are meant to be meeting up with their winemaker Christian who we met on the first night in Rome , the former rugby player, Christian Bertone, but something has been lost in translation, so he will be here tomorrow.
Its a great time to be here as today is the last day of vintage, and tomorrow we will celebrate with all the grape pickers and the winery team at a long lunch hosted by Tullio's family.
We are taken through the property , down the hill to the winery, still using traditional techniques, fully organic, and run on their self generated power grid. !!
There is one other area above the main house where they ripen the grapes used for the Vinsanto del Chianti, , something we certainly wouldnt see in Australia, so the winery is used for the majority of the fruit, Sangiovese, then the selected fruit sits until its almost botrytised, then crushed before going into wood.
we are then invited to have lunch with the family at the family table as Tullio gives us the history of this amazing place. We are treated to the local steaks, from the cattle only grown in this area. Name escapes me, but great quality beef. there is a selection of pasta's, and we try the first of 6 wines we will taste over the next few days.a superb Chianti riserva 2011, & I lastricheti from 2012, and we get to try the Vinsanto dunked in Biscotti. Unbelievably delicious, lucsious, and morerish.
After lunch its time for a siesta before we venture out for the famous town of Montepulchiano and this will be the next chapter before returning the La Torre for the harvest celebration tomorrow.
No rest for this mob.
as a footnote, the reason for the Olive trees having 3 or 4 main points from the ground level was due to severe freezing of the trees in 1975, which killed the main trunks which were then cut back and the new "arms" then commenced. Im sure you noticed that in the photo's !!