I usually begin my day in the gardens just to drink in the surrounding view, because not a day goes by without it filling me with inspiration, then I’ll stroll through the vineyards to Vertine or Gaoile to pick up some fresh bread.
Depending on the season I’ll be checking on the olive groves and vines. If guests are staying I invite them to join in the grape crushing. We have a good cellar stocked with both our own Chianti Classico and neighbouring vineyards, it is always a pleasure to share a tasting, but that usually comes later in the day.
I might take friends along the Chianti castles route beginning with the medieval castle in Vertine, then to Castello di Brolio, which looks majestic on a hilltop surrounded by cypress trees, they have produced wine for 1,000 years.
The villa is a pretty special place to be for lunch, by the pool usually, munching on bruschetta, with tomatoes from the garden and a drizzle of our own olive oil. If I’m out I might drop into La Fornace a Meleto, a modest local restaurant ten-minute drive away, overlooking vineyards. Another good lunch spot is the osteria at Tenuta di Perano winery.
Beyond the cultivated hills are beautiful forests with game birds, wild boar and deer, aswell as edible riches like chestnuts which I pick in Autumn. A great pleasure is hunting for truffles.
I enjoy an evening aperitif in Vertine with some local Pecorino, or in the villa I’ll find a pretty spot by some fragrant jasmine. I might go out for dinner to Le Contrade which has a relaxed dining terrace, a particular favourite is their gnocchi with rabbit sauce, or there’s Osteria Il Papavero, full of rustic charm. But for me it’s hard to beat dinner at home with friends. A foray into the wine cellar, then we fire up the pizza oven in the garden, or the kitchen has an open hearth, perfect for grilling that famously tender Chianina bistecca or succulent wild boar, all served with vegetables from the gardens. Sometimes I get a local chef in to make the whole feast, they are better than me. If I was lucky enough to strike ‘edible gold’ in the forests there’s a Chianti speciality of ice cream with shaved truffle on top. Benvenuti a tutti and buon appetito!