Monday, October 13, 2014

Zipping around Tuscany!

I was way too tired last night to write about the fantastic day we had yesterday. Since Tuscany is so car-oriented but we really did not want to be behind the wheel, we decided to hire a driver for the afternoon. That was a great decision and our guide, Monika Iris, was worth every penny and more! Before she arrived at the agriturismo we were guessing what kind of car she'd roll up in, we thought probably a Fiat or maybe a Mini Cooper. But no, she drove a Subaru Forester, the same car I drive at home! Too funny! Based on what I'd told her on the phone, Monika had a few ideas in mind about where to take us. We set off for a vineyard just on the other side of Montefioralle, the picturesque walled town we'd walked to several days prior. The vineyard was farther than we'd walked and gave us a great view of the town.

Waiting for Monika, knitting and ready for wine tasting!

Winemaking at Montefioralle winery

Montefioralle winery

So many delicious wines to try!

Green grapes at Montefioralle, being aged for the delicious Vin Santo
Wine tasting in Tuscany is much different than at home, and you generally need an appointment to visit a vineyard for a wine tasting. I didn't understand why that was the case until we went to the first winery (Montefioralle). They had a table for two set up, and spent a ton of time telling us all about their wines - the different blends, the years, and their winemaking techniques. The pours of wine were both big and more numerous than when we wine taste at home! Luckily, they also brought us fresh bread with olive oil, prosciutto, and salami. The Italians don't believe in drinking wine without food, a very good belief in my book! 

Wine tasting at Montefioralle, with Monika to show us the way!

The wine tasting setup

Us, at Montefioralle winery with the town of the same name in the background

After the winery, we cruised up and down the hills of Tuscany, stopping at viewpoints to see hill towns in the distance, driving through them, and then seeing them again from another perspective when we reached the next hill town. Along the way, we stopped for a coffee, visited a top notch local butcher, and walked through charming streets of the tiny hill towns. At the end of the afternoon we went to one last winery before Monika dropped us off back in Greve's town center. We were so glad we saw Tuscany this way and also skipped the experience of being behind the wheel of a rental car ... just being passengers in the car reaffirmed that the driving is a bit nuts for our taste, at least when we're wanting to relax and sample the vino on vacation! All in all it was a wonderful day and one of the highlights of our trip!

Love this picture. Stopped for a coffee. Monika drank hers in about 5 seconds flat! This place was nice, all glass and marble, and we were surprised to see dogs inside. Pretty much everywhere is dog-friendly in Italy!

Zoomed out view of the prior picture, with pasta, olives, ham slicer, etc!

A viewpoint we stopped at, with a hill town in the distance that we then drove to.

In one of the hill towns

LOVE this door!


All the little Fiats

Tuscany scenery

An archer practicing

Tuscan street art

Meat locker at the renowned butcher in Panzano in Chianti

At the butcher in Panzano in Chianti. We bought a small jar of herbed salts here and they have a nice website so we can order more if needed!

Winery cat at Cennatoio winery

Wine selection at Cennatoio winery

Cellars at Cennatoio

Taking pictures of each other taking pictures in the wine cellar of the second winery of the day, Cennatoio

At one of our last viewpoint stops of the day. What a fun day trip!

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