~ One of the Iconic Towers of San Gimignano; home to Campochiarenti  ~

This is a story.  Sure, I’ve written about plenty of winery visits and lunches at estates.  And yes, while this essentially fits that description, it’s more than that.  This is different.  It’s a lunch with family and friends.


~ A quick snap before heading into the afternoon’s festivities ~

Giovanni Corbini loves to cook; especially fried and roasted Tuscan specialties. During Covid he and son Luca stopped using the family’s historic Villa Cennano as a bed and breakfast.  But for special friends – like my Rustic Tuscany travelers – they open their home for traditional family style lunches.  Giovanni and Luca run the show, but once Luca’s wife Maddalena settles the kids after school,  she joins in too.  I dare say this is a charming once-in-a-lifetime experience.


~ Fried zucchini and porcini mushroom ~

The maesto at work….


~ The wood burning oven in the Villa is an extension of Giovanni’s arms ~

Giovanni has two tools besides his hands.  His wood burning oven and some rudimentary gas hobs.  From these wares, he roasts pig, rabbit and all types of vegetables.  Typically, cauliflower, zucchini and mushrooms.  In addition to the fresh pasta, the various crostini and bread, no one is leaving hungry.


~ Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva 2020 ~

With assorted cheeses, crostini and cured meats lovingly handmade, we set about with the 2020 Campochiarenti Vernaccia Riserva.   Deep gold, viscous and complex, it is the perfect foil for the antipasto and the beginnings of conversation.


~ Who is that unmasked man on the left? ~

Daniele and I have become like brothers and we immediately set to talking about his Mom, his brother and the Vernaccia.  On the 2022 Tour, he blind tasted me on the Riserva and I guessed incorrectly.  This time there was no test.  But this Vernaccia hasn’t budged in a year.  It is among the best examples I’ve ever tasted.

Once the ravioli began to appear, so too did the Chianti Colli Senesi.  Daniele had brought two examples, the newly released 2021 and the longer aged version of the 2020.  Neither disappointed.


~ Our lineup for lunch – well almost. At least the 2021 is missing from this picture ~

I was curious to have the 2021 and 2020 “long aged” Chianti Colli Senesi side by side to see how different they were.  In short, it was hard to tell.  Maybe the 2021 was slightly darker but they both displayed that Campochiarenti color and they were both vibrant and fresh with their fruit flavors and powdery tannins. The 2020, perhaps in comparison to the wine that was originally released, might be a bit softer and more round.  An almost hybrid, if you will, of the Chianti and the Riserva.  I’m happy to have both in my cellar.

When the rabbit came out of the oven (and fryer) the vinous gloves came off.  The first was a battle of Vivi’s.  The original 2007 from magnum that Daniele had been saving for a special occasion and the newly released 2019.

~ Vivi has only been produced in two vintages: 2007 and 2019 ~

I’ve had the 2019 Campochiarenti Vivi several times.  Never once has it failed to impress and on the contrary, it continues to amaze.  Maybe some day it’ll harden and shut down, but I don’t see it.  It shares the traits of many other 2019s – the freshest of fruit, concentrated flavors and tannins so well integrated that the wine drinks well now. It’s juicy and long with that dusty chocolate streak that is so mouth watering.  Like Vivi herself,  it’s a gem.

But not to be outdone was the 2007 which is pictured in the glass above.  You can see that the color has evolved some.  I expected that wine might be showing more of its age.  But really, it isn’t.  It needed a bit of time to blow off some funk – I think Daniele had it opened before we arrived.  But it is just as fresh as ever and now boasts additional complexity that made it shine with the coniglio.


~ During lunch Daniele was happily serving both his wines and his oil and taking question after question from the group ~

Finally, there was one more treat to serve with the roasted meat.  A check in on the latest Campochiarenti Chianti Riserva release; the 2017.  This is the first Riserva to carry the new San Nicola homage. Like its 2011 predecessor, this wine out punches many costing 2-3 times the price.  It’s masculine, with excellent concentration and complex notes; yet in a vintage as hot as 2017, it remains fresh and nimble.


~ The 2017 is the most recent Riserva to be released ~

After Daniele finished taking orders from the group for vino and olio, I’m fairly certain Maddalena brought out cantucci and maybe some sort of, grappa like digestivo.  But I will have to defer to others on that one.

Lunch at Villa Cennano with Campochiarenti is on the itinerary for the coming 2024 Rustic Tuscany Tour.  If you’d like to experience this amazing affair, join me in 2025.  Otherwise, here is where you can buy Daniele’s wines.  Campochiarenti Vino

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