Today was winery day. The original plan was to go early in the morning, see a vineyard/winery, then have a long lunch, then see another and come back. After the Fierenze trip, however, folks were willing to visit only one. I suggested leaving at noon and getting to a winery by 3pm. Gary was against the idea - wanted to go early and then drink wine all afternoon and evening. They awoke late the next morning, however, so were part of the afternoon group.
judiang's swollen feet and ankles said that she had to take a day off, so she stayed at the vill while we all headed into town for lunch. There was a cafe open, so we ordered sandwiches (I got focaccia w/ ham & cheese), sides (I got pistaccios), and drinks (Sprite for me). Good and cheap - €4.50 total.
We drove on to wine country and made our way to Castello di Broglio - the birthplace of Chianti. We had to park near the bottom of a steep hill, then walk up to the castle. It was a long arduous climb, but if I can climb 320 steps, I can do anything!
The castle was medieval and looked like a fairy tale castle. I took lots of pictures. The wine store was back down the hill. I walked and others drove. I tasted every wine and bought two. Granello, a sweet white that I actually liked. Also, I got a chianti for mom & dad. I later got a granello to have at the villa. My wines were €17 and the chianti was €13. We left the enoteca having bought many bottles of wine and headed back with a goal of stopping at an olive oilery/winery that we'd spotted on the way to di Broglio.
We followed the signs and came to a winery and parked. The lady who owned the place said they were closed, but she'd let us come in anyway. She let us taste her wine and (unlike the castle) see her HUGE wine barrels. She had two lovely doggies, too, who were very friendly.
This vineyard/winery was much more like the way I pictured wineries. Beautiful house on a hill, lots of vines and olive trees, doggies, a swimming pool, and a gorgous view. She even rents out part of her property and some of the residents were enjoying the pool.
We headed back towards the villa and went to Castellonuovo (or Newcastle as I dubbed it). The vintner had said all of the restaurants in that town were good. The first one we saw had good prices and some recommendations. It wasn't open until 7pm, however, so we had half an hour to kill. So what do people do when they have half an hour to kill in Newcastle, Italy? Buy toilet paper, of course!
We, of course, went to the local fromagerie and checked out the cheeses and found the toilet paper. So I bought a roll and also two more of those candy toy things - all for under €5.
When the restaurant opened, I sat with the O'Neals and ordered Tuscan stew and lamb with rosemary. The food was fab and the price reasonable (€15 including charges and tip).
We returned to the villa late, where we encountered a hungry Judi. Earlier, I had been concerned about her getting food (cuz Tammy was vague about supper before we left) and it turns out she hadn't gone out to the town for food. Dave volunteered to take us out so he could get gelato, so Dave, Mary, Judi and I rode into town and parked near our favorite microwave joint. Those two got gelato while Judi and I headed for the first restaurant we came to - Al Viale.
Two folks (later discovered to be mother and son) were eating when we arrived. The young man served us and the mother cooked Judi's steaks. I say steaks because we had a language problem. Judi wanted steaks between al sangue (rare) and medio (medium). So he got her two steaks, one of each!
Still, the meal was only €20 and included free biscotti. Judi had leftovers. We then walked back to the Big Apple for gelato and I had the superb combo of vagnilia and cocco (vanilla and coconut). Paid €4.40 for BOTH of our gelatos.
Back at the ranch, folks were swimming, but since we were going to the seaside the next day, I decided to just watch and chat. We got to sleep late and got up early. So what would the seaside be like? Just wait and see...
Speaking of seeing, I've got a few photos of our fine time with wine.
Castello di Broglio - the old bit.
Castello di Broglio - the new bit.
The gardens of the castle.
John's a little thirsty...