~ Dusk over Monterosa ~

Nestled on the SP 102, or “Strada Provinciale di Vagliagli”,  is the quaint hamlet of Vagliagli which sits smack in the center of Chianti Classico.  This tiny town served as a centrally located base for our explorations of Tuscany. We were the only tourists there.  Totally immersed and warmly welcomed.  Having just returned,  there is lots to organize and many facets of life to catch up on.  But for today,  a photo essay of sorts, with the promise that much more is to come.
 
 
~ Villa Monterosa would be our home.  With infinity pool, hedges of rosemary and lavender, fig trees, olive groves, grape vines and Cinghiale, it was the perfect base for exploring Chianti Classico and the zones beyone ~
 
~ Sloping down the hillside of our yard, there sits the center of Vagliagli – complete with a small bar, an even smaller grocery store and a wonderful restaurant called Taverna Vagliagli ~

After arriving at the villa later than planned courtesy of  Hertz’s Italian customer service and the baggage handlers in Copenhagen, we met our caretaker who graciously arranged a reservation for us at Taverna Vagliagli.  A wonderful place tucked into a dead end alley, the prices are reasonable and the meal simply outstanding. 



~ Primi Piatti – Ricotta filled Raviolo with white truffle and a light cream sauce ~
 
Not wanting to start the trip off on a dull note,  when the waiter offered that the Bistecca was exceptionally good that night, the die was cast.  Sold by the gram, we ordered enough for two. If you’ve never had Fiorentina in Tuscany, you are missing something special.  We were to have it several more times over the course of the trip.  Each time seemingly better than the last.



~ Secondo Piatti:  Bistecca, grilled potatoes and fried Zucchini ~

What to drink with all of this?   Well, my eyes gravitated to one of the venerable Chianti Classico producers right from the start as the pricing in Italy on this wine is a mere fraction of the US price.  Is the importer listening?? 
 
The 2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico is a gorgeous wine.  Period.  It’s a deep dark ruby to violet in the glass with all the hallmarks of Chianti and the perfect foil for both courses.  Hugely aromatic for a 2010 with lavender, flowers, crushed fruit and leather – the aromas carry through to the palate. This is juicy, moderately tannic and the long finish is tinged by pipe tobacco notes. 100% Sangiovese and off the wine list at a price cheaper than US retail.  There is nothing not to like here.  93 points, about $28 USD. 



~ So delicious was this, that we ordered a second bottle!  And yes, we left the Taverna with some remaining ~
 
~ Some of the many lavender hedges dotting the Villa Monterosa. We picked a bunch to perfume the villa and I even scented some extra virgin olive oil ~
 
~ Another view of Vagliagli.  That’s a wild fig tree in the foreground growing off the side of a cliff ~

 
With this tranquil setting in mind, it is from here that we will begin to explore the best that Tuscany has to offer. In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring articles on exclusive tastings, feature articles  with winemaker interviews, varied tasting notes, and some of the most amazing pictures you will see. 
 
Join us for the ride!
 
 
 
 
 
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