I so do love Tuscany. It’s so beautiful! How can you not love looking at the sceneries like these as you drive down the road?
I never realised how much I love the countryside. I feel so completely inspired by this trip, that I totally wouldn’t mind going on a scooter trip, like how I did to Pengerang and Malacca some years back.
Anyway, today we head to a winery and olive oil maker called Fattoria le Corti which is owned by the royal Principe Corsini family. (Speaking of Princes, I was telling Cart of a *cough* Rome prince *cough* that was in the bachelor some time back)
Just a precaution, it would be best to check opening and tour hours beforehand as we only knew later that there are a lot of places that are closed on Sundays. So don’t take it for granted that places are open all the time! We were lucky that we got the chance to crash into another tour group or our journey would be for naught!
Anyhow La Fattoria le Corti is such a charming looking place. The tour started at 2pm, so we had a bit of time to explore the outside.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen fuel dispensers like one below (Probably when I was a little girl going back to Tekong before it was taken over to become a military base)
Part of the vast vineyards that they own.
See the two orange tractors there? These will carry the packed wines from the holding room opening, as you will see soon.
Oh, and speaking of tours, I didn’t see it from the website, but it costs 7 euro for only the tour and 12 euro for a tour and wine/olive oil taste respectively. Hema mentioned that she went to a free wine tour while she was in Australia, but finds that this one more comprehensive.
Here’s Hema looking excited for the tour to start!
That she couldn’t wait to try the wine samples! Hehehe!
And in no time, the tour started proper. We joined a group of people from Holland and I was quite amazed at how they were wearing tshirts and slippers, while I was still feeling cold, and needed my jacket.
First we were introduced area that was owned by the Corsini family.
And then we were shown the holding area where the wine will be distributed later.
My gosh, the barrels were impressively huge! I can’t imagine how much work and grapes it would take to collect to make all these wine. There were so many barrels of them.
See! You could have a rave party in one of these barrels.
I don’t remember what this machine is, but I reckon it’s what was used to separate the grapes from the stems. We were in such a big group, and when I can’t hear what was being said, my mind goes wandering :p
Next we walked down the steps into the cellar where we saw loads of wooden barrels of wine resting and being fermented.
We were told that each barrel costs a lot of money! I think it was 8 hundred euro each. My eyes almost popped out when I heard it. They use quality wood that will affect the taste of the wine and once aged, the barrels will not be used by the factory any more.
The cellar has a constant 12 – 18 degree celcius temperature and there is a water mister above which is used in case the temperature gets erratic.
Look at all the money! Show me the money!
Next the wine are moved into another container, to aid with the maturing process.
The wines are separated by types and at La fattoria, they specialise in Chianti Classico which uses 80% sangiovese grapes (the other 20% is either colorino or caniolo or both) 95% and 100% which is the most expensive one and is produced in very limited quantities. I think the guide said less than 100 bottles a year?
These containers are made of stainless steel
At this point of time, I wished that we were here somewhere end of September or October when it is grape picking time. I would have liked to see the grapes being harvested and juiced! I’m sure that would be a lot of fun!
The fermentation smell is very strong in here! For some reason I am reminded by the smell of cheng theng. I have no idea why!
And once the wine has aged, 6 months and above, they are packaged and here is where the packaging are made.
And ready to be transported all over the world!
Next is the olive oil tour. Again, I would have liked to see the process from the start – the picking of the olives followed by the pressing. I think it would make it more complete. But again, olives are seasonal too. Oh well!
Anyway, we were shown the containers where picked olives are stored.
These containers are huge! One could fit an adult in here. If there were 40 of them, we could do a Ali Baba and the 40 thieves play. They are each made of ceramic.
In making olive oil, time is of the essence. Unlike wine that takes time to mature, for olive oil, the fresher the better.
These machine processes the olives into oil.
And then filters it.
And then finally weighed for packing.
Did you know that olive pits are collected to become a form of fuel?
It’s a very musty smell though – so it’s not for everybody!
And here is how olive oil was made traditionally!
After our tour, we got to see a view of the garden. It’s gorgeous! Royalties live in the most lovely places. Wouldn’t you love to wake up to a view like this?
This is the villa which is now converted into a bed and breakfast. It would have looked prettier if not for the lack of grass, trampled by wedding guests last week.
Anyhoo! I felt so princessy just looking at the view, that I was inspired to take a picture here (Too bad I wasn’t wearing anything pretty!)
But of course Murphy’s rule says that anything can go wrong at any time – and my phone camera did something funny and suddenly I have this unwanted faded 70s like picture with border effect -_-”
At the end of the tour, we went upstairs to the dining area and got to get a taste of their wine and oil. Here are the types of wines that was sampled.
This is the cortevecchia which takes 20 months of ageing in the barrel.
This is the Don Tomasso which is aged for 15 months in the barrel.
And this is Le Corti which is aged for 12 months.
Since Cart and I don’t drink, I have no idea how these wine tastes like or appreciate them. My friend looks very pleased with herself though. Hahaha!!!
Cart and I tried their olive oil instead. There were two types – on the left is the Le corti extra virgin olive oil where the olives are hand picked and pressed within 12 hours. The one on the right is the organic one which is hand picked and pressed within 7 hours. It has won 3 olive slow food award in 2010.
We tried them both with Tuscan bread – which as you know by now, is tasteless since no salt is added to it. I even had to salt the bread after pouring out the oil on the bread. And everyone who knows me, knows that I don’t like too much salt on my food! (I love Tuscany, but I don’t like their bread)
It’s hard to see in the pictures, but the organic one has a darker colour.
In any case, the organic one was amazing! It was intense and rich. Think of the best olive oil that you’ve ever had and imagine the taste more refined and pure by ten folds. And for some reason, when you taste it, the scent comes right out of my nose (sort of like the wasabi effect without the heat) It was most peculiar. I told this to Cart and he said that this was the mark of high quality olive oil.
We immediately bought a bottle for ourselves after this. And that was the end of our little tour! While I don’t drink, I thought that the tour was interesting and I liked learning new things.
Just for fun, I’m adding in some pictures of another winery/castle/bnb. We thought that it would be nice to roam around the area but unfortunately, the place was closed on Sundays and the only living things that we saw were these sour faced pussies.
It’s a very pretty looking place nevertheless.
And of course, being springtime, a lot of flowers are starting to bloom, making the place look so magical – like a page out of a fairy tale.
I’m surrounded by so much beauty!
That’s the end of my blog post for today. Next up will be a post about our trip to amazing Firenze