Meanwhile, I had a research project to take care of: Biking with wine tastings in Tuscany, courtesy of Bike Florence&Tuscany! Though we were running late to meet Piero and Elena, they were kind and gracious to us. First we headed to San Donato, where 3 of our riders departed for the ride through Toscana. I chose to remain in the car for the first 3 miles of our route, which were 3 miles uphill. Down the road a bit, we met the rest of the group, hopped on our bikes and continued to the small and sweet town of Castellina in Chianti. After a brief ride through town, we continued to a nearby winery for our first tasting. We loved the Chianti Classico here!
Next, we returned to our bikes and continued. My uncle told me I rode better after my first glass of wine- not sure what to think of this! The hills were a bit strenuous and it was not an easy ride, but a fun challenge. We continued on and stopped at another boutique winery- this time, we had a cellar tour and learned about the fermentation process. We were able to taste a lovely rosé, a few chianti types and all loved the very expensive Chianti Gran Superiore (of course...). The van from Bike Florence&Tuscany stays with you the whole time so if you fall off your bike, get tired or want to buy some wine and not carry it, they are there for you.
We biked our final several miles to Monteriggoni- a perfect Medieval hilltop town with a population of 42! We stopped for lunch and all had local specialties- pappardelle with wild boar meat, pici pasta with breadcrumbs. I grabbed a gelato (chocolate and hazelnut) and we headed to our final tasting of the day. What an experience! Here the owner enthusiastically described each wine to us and paired it with a local cheese and sausage. We were honestly in heaven with the food selection. The owner added a lot of theatricality to the experience and made it very memorable.
We returned to the van, where we were transported back to Florence. I was exhausted from my 15 mile ride (the others did 18) in the rolling (and sometimes steep) hills and promptly fell asleep.
In the evening, our entire group gathered on the rooftop of the hotel at the bar and enjoyed the spectacular views and have a glass of wine. It was un giorno fantastico!