Jun 012013
 

AntinoriAmazing day yesterday in Chianti Classico.

We started with a visit to Antinori‘s stunning new world headquarters and winery in Bargino.  Half space ship, half homage to Mother Earth, it’s a futuristic vision of wine, combined with a museum of over 25 generations of Antinoris.

And the wines were just what you would expect from Piero Antinori: sleek, stylish, and impeccable–all presented by a very professional and enthusiastic staff.  This place sets a new standard for winery experiences in Italy.

And then to Mazzei, where Francesco Mazzei himself regaled us with stories of Philip Mazzei and Thomas Jefferson’s early viticulture in Virginia. He then tasted us through a magical selection of wines that were focused, concentrated, and full of finesse.

A hard act to follow.

Mazzei vineyardsDinner that night was an experiment in the new event center for Chianti Classico: the Santa Maria Monastery in Prato.  Here we watched demonstrations by seven female Michelin-rated chefs cooking dishes matched to Chianti Classico wines.  All great–but we were too polite to push our way through the throngs to get much food.

No worries.  After a brief discussion, the hosts set up a table for us in a quiet room of the monastery and served us three of the dishes:  a chicken-liver pate with mandarin oranges; a spaghetti with bread crumbs and diced anchovies; and a two-part dessert of cheese cake over a layer of toasted pistachios and a base of chocolate mousse, and a ball of stunning sour-cherry gelato over a bed of chocolate ganache.

Nice way to end a memorable day.

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