I was on a mission to find Casaloste in Panzano in the hills of Chianti, about an hour south of Florence. The wine farm sign pointed down another infamous narrow “white road”, meaning unpaved–adventure ahead! This time, there were no forests to weave through, just field after field of vineyards!
In the early Spring, the grape vines are pruned and placed in stacks beside the dirt roads. The cuttings are then set ablaze along with the olive tree branches. That day, the air was crisp with the sweet smell of burning wood drifting through the air. Rain was forecasted in the late afternoon, so I wanted to reach Casaloste before the rains would flood the low spots on the rutted road. After a few missed turns, I found Casaloste!
I arrived unannounced, but was warmly greeted by Emilia d’Orsi, one of the owners of Casaloste. Emilia and her husband, Giovanni Battista, relocated from Napoli to Tuscany many years ago and fell in love with the old wine farm, now known as Casaloste. After much refurbishing, the wine farm now serves as an agriturismo (bed and breakfast) with three apartments and a pool. Legend has it that Casaloste housed wayward or injured soldiers in the mid-1200’s during the Siena/Firenze battles, so hence its name, “Lost House”. www.casaloste.com
While I tasted a lot of Chianti wines during my three-week wine trek in Tuscany, few compare to the 2008 Don Vicenzo Riserva, a dark ruby 100% Sangiovese wine with bright character and hints of cacoa and tobacco. Also notable was the 2009 Inversus, an IGT (Indicazione Geographic Tipica), a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. My only regret was that I didn’t have more bottles shipped home!
On a side note, on Mother’s Day, I was having brunch with my daughter, Tara, at the Grand Del Mar Hotel Restaurant, Amaya, in San Diego. I always scan the wine list and lo and behold–there was a Chianti Classico from Casaloste! So if your travels don’t take you to Tuscany anytime soon, you can indulge in a glass of the fine Chianti Classico in San Diego. www.thegranddelmar.com/san-diego-dining-amaya