A day in Chianti 

 Before we get down to the serious business of tasting wine we usually visit the village of Impruneta, the area of Tuscany from which nearly all the terracotta pots, vases and tiles found in the region have been made.

In this photo Filippo Fattori, owner of Tuscany Car Tours is showing the group how amazingly fine – and surprisingly grey – the soil is before it is made into clay for the pots.

The clay turns red as it dries out and is only the recognisable true terracotta  red once it has been thoroughly cotta (cooked) at a very high temperature.  Tuscan Terracotta is renowned worldwide for its durability under extreme temperatures -it is also very versatile and can be made into sculpture as well as pots and tiles.

Our next visit was to Greve – where we started to sample some meats and cheeses and whet our drinking palate a bit.

The famous Macelleria Falorni in Greve has been in business there since 1729 and they produce some wonderful pork products –  some from the cinghiale (wild boar), others from Cinta Senese, a breed of pigs native to Tuscany.

They are a little bit addictive I think!

Our next stop was to the Enoteca in Greve – where wine tasting finally began!

The Enoteca stores all its bottles in vacuum cases so the wine keeps and it enables guests to try a wide variety of different Chianti wines as well as the new Super Tuscans and start to get to know the Sangiovese  grape.

Next lunch at Montagliari – to sample not only wine but sweet Balsamic Vinegar – matured for 25 years is does not come cheap – but it is so sweet and sticky it is surprisingly delicious with strawberries and vanilla ice-cream!

Finally we went to Casa Emma , where owner Paulo Zoppi showed us around and introduced us to all his wines – first ensuring that there was no cleaning sediment left on the glasses after dish-washing by rinsing each glass with a little wine!

As always after these tasting sessions most of us slept very well on our way home! Bravo to Filippo who guided us all day without touching a drop!