Friday, 14 August 2015

Horse drawn wagon tour through the Chianti countryside

Despite the heat wave we're currently experiencing, I have just returned from a fabulous horse drawn wagon tour through the Chianti countryside under the expert guidance of Luca Perrotta. I can't think of a more appropriate way to get around in Chianti than by horse and wagon! Luca met my friends and me at Montagnana near Montespertoli. That's where his tours start, although by prearrangement, you can start off from elsewhere if you'd prefer to tour a different part of Chianti. The wagon is covered to keep the sun off but open at the sides to let the breezes blow through. This was ideal for the kind of weather we're having right now. The seats were comfortable and the horses very strong and beautiful. Off we go!

Horse and wagon excursion through Chianti, Tuscany
Luca making the last minute preparations for a horse and wagon excursion through Chianti
Luca spends as little time as possible on tar-sealed roads and even then on roads with little traffic. Most of the time we travelled over Tuscan strade bianche (dirt roads) among the vineyards and olive groves. We took a full day tour and so stopped off for some wine tasting during the morning at one of the wineries near Montespertoli and San Casciano, and we had lunch at a farm house in their fine old kitchen. During the afternoon we continued our explorations with a stop at a castle (a small castle or a large fortified villa - both descriptions fit!). Altogether it was a wonderfully relaxing day.

Horse and wagon excursion in Tuscany
We took it in turns to ride beside Luca on the driver's bench
I can especially recommend Luca's horse and wagon tour for parents who are visiting Tuscany and who are asking themselves "what activities are available for kids in Tuscany?" One excellent answer is "a wagon ride through the Chianti countryside!" If you want to give a group of children (including grown-up children) a real treat, Luca can arrange for clowns, jugglers and other similar actors to meet you at some point during the tour. Wedding parties also often appreciate this kind of entertainment.

A group of children about to set out on a horse and wagon outing in Chianti
A group of children about to set out on a horse and wagon outing in Chianti

More about Luca's horse drawn wagon excursions in Chianti.


Tuscany Toscana
Don't forget to visit Elena Spolaor's
Travel Guide!

Up-to-date news on what to see and where to stay in Chianti and all of Tuscany & Umbria.

Chianti Travel Guide

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

All content copyright © ammonet Web Site Promotion 2015. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

An exceptional vintage is predicted for Chianti Classico 2015

Very hot and dry weather conditions in Chianti mean an exceptional vintage is predicted for Chianti Classico 2015, according to the experts. This year will also be the second earliest vendemmia (grape harvest) since World War II, 2003, the year of a major drought, being the earlier harvest. Both quality and quantity of Chianti wine should be excellent this year, with estimated production rising at least 5% over last year, for an projected total of about 44 million hectoliters.

exceptional vintage for Chianti Classico 2015

The additional production should keep prices stable so watch for the Gallo Nero label of Chianti Classico 2015 when the wine reaches the shops in spring next year. The Riserva will appear on the market starting from late 2016.

As with all Chianti Classico wine, cellar your bottles for 5 to 6 years, not more. Some can be drunk even sooner, but they should not be kept for much longer than that period. In contrast to claret, for example, Chianti Classico is best consumed quite young.

Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil harvest 2015


Tuscan olive oil

Based on my olive trees and those I have seen in central Chianti, this year's olive oil production in Tuscany will be infinitely better than the disastrous harvest of 2014. It looks as if it was cold enough during winter to inhibit the life cycle the Bactrocera oleae, the fruit fly that lays its eggs in the olives whence, eventually, the larvae eat their way out, destroying the fruit. Four days of frost kill the eggs. Last winter was the warmest on record in Tuscany and was followed by warm, humid conditions, ideal for fruit flies.

Until now the bacterium that is wiping out olive trees in southern Italy has not made an appearance in Tuscany. Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterium carried by aphids and has spread quickly through the olive trees of Apulia. This is particularly tragic because some of the olive trees there, in contrast to those in Tuscany, are up to a thousand years old. We are praying that the disease is brought under control before it spreads to Tuscany.

Tuscan wine tours and winery vacation rentals.

Tuscany Toscana
Don't forget to visit my Tuscany
Travel Guide!

Up-to-date news on what to see and where to stay in Chianti and all of Tuscany.

Tuscany Travel Guide


vacation accommodations in Tuscany

Author: Anna Maria Baldini

All content copyright © ammonet Infotech website promotion 2015. All rights reserved.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Great new Tuscan country restaurant in Chianti, located between Greve and Panzano in Chianti

I've just had a fabulous dinner at a great new Tuscan country restaurant in Chianti, located between Greve and Panzano in Chianti, right in the middle of the Chianti Classico wine zone. Francesca, the proprietor of Agriturismo Dondoli, has just opened this family restaurant on the same rural property that encompasses her organic fruit and vegetable gardens, and her two-apartment agriturismo. Ristorante Dondoli is situated about 5 km from both Greve in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti, on a side road branching off the Via Chiantigiana (SR 222). Francesca's son Giovanni is the chef, assisted in the kitchen by Francesca herself, with Letizzia waiting on the tables. There are 25 seats for outdoor and indoor dining, making this is an intimate place to eat out, deep in the tranquil countryside far from highways and noise.

Tuscan country restaurant in Chianti, located between Greve and Panzano in Chianti
Ristorante Dondoli - Tuscan country restaurant in Chianti, near Greve and Panzano in Chianti

All of the dishes offered take their inspiration from classic Tuscan cuisine. Bistecca alla fiorentina and other classics are offered but the majority of the choices at Dondoli are highly original and all are delicious. The prices for both food and wines are extremely competitive - take advantage of them!

Chianti country restaurant near Greve in Chianti, Tuscany
Happy diners at Ristorante Dondoli

Fresh ingredients are the signature theme of Ristorante Dondoli. The fruit and vegetables come from Francesca's own organic gardens, only a 100 m from the kitchen of the restaurant. This means that not only are the vegetable dishes as good as you can get, but there are excellent choices available for vegetarians. The wonderful desserts are made by Francesca at the restaurant.

Fresh organic zucchini and their flowers at Ristorante Dondoli.
Fresh, organic zucchini and their flowers at Ristorante Dondoli.

I went on Thursday which is one of two days, the other being Friday, when a seafood menu is offered in addition to the usual daily menu. The menu is composed on the day, based on the fresh seafood available. All of it comes from Tuscan coastal waters. I took the seafood menu which extended over several courses, all of them fabulously delicious and original - not that many restaurants in Tuscany do this. I drank the house white wine which was amazingly good, especially taking into account that it was Tuscan and there aren't a great many wonderful Tuscan white wines.

Sea food antipasta at Ristorante Dondoli in Chianti
Sea food antipasta at Ristorante Dondoli in Chianti

More about "Ristorante Dondoli" Tuscan country restaurant in Chianti.

How to get to ""Ristorante Dondoli" from Greve and Panzano.

Tuscany Toscana
Don't forget to visit my Tuscany
Travel Guide!

Up-to-date news on what to see and where to stay in Chianti and all of Tuscany.

Tuscany Travel Guide



vacation accommodations in Tuscany
Author: Anna Maria Baldini

All content copyright © ammonet Infotech website promotion 2015. All rights reserved.