Castello di Brolio is one of the oldest wineries of the world and one of the largest farm estates in the Chianti area, making it a wonderful destination for the wine seeker. The fortress has been home to the once powerful Ricasoli family since the 12th century. It had largely been abondoned when Bettino Ricasoli decided to move into it after becoming jealous at a winter ball in Florence when his young bride danced too closely to a young admirer. To remove her from temptation, he rebuilt the castle, replanted the vineyards and came up with the formula that forms the basis of what is known today as Chianti Classico.
Today, parts of the castle are still inhabited by members of the Ricasoli family. Other areas are opened for tours and wine tastings. The tours offered allow the visitor to explore the beautiful park, magnificent gardens, the family chapel, one of the castle towers, vineyards and wine cellars -- I recommend making reservations. The views from the terrace walls are nothing short of spectacular!
At the base of the hill, visitors will find Castello di Brolio's modern wine shop. It is here that tastings and purchases can be made. Just beyond the shop and heading up the hill to the castle, you will see signs directing you to Osteria del Castello, where local seasonal ingredients are used to create traditional Tuscan dishes.
Castello di Brolio is located just outside Gaiole in Chianti, a little more than an hour drive south of Florence. As you make your way into Gaiole in Chianti, the scenery is amazing. But keep your eyes peeled for the castle signage on those winding hilly roads, it sneaks up on you fast!
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