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Country Roads: Fonterutoli
Country Roads:
Chianti Pours Forth
From Fonterutoli

Story and photos by Tom Weber

the rolling hills of Fonterutoli, Chianti wine country, Tuscany

fter catching some rays under the Tuscan sun around Cortona, our band of merry media – VIP guests on an abbreviated version of one of Insight Vacations' (Insight) Country Roads of Italy itineraries – rolls further into Tuscany, over scenic hills and dales, into the middle of Chianti wine country: Fonterutoli.

Roll the "R" and repeat after me: fohn-tay-ROO-toh-lee. Bravo!

panoramic view of Chianti wine country

It is here, where Florence's provincial border ends and Siena's begins, that a noble Tuscan family planted its roots way back in 1435 and began to grow superlative Sangiovese grape on the rolling hills surrounding its picture-postcard perfect castle-village that would define a brand known the world over: Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli.

the Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli

Today, we're going to see firsthand the 21st century version of this Renaissance-era bloodline's heritage of making extraordinary Chianti Classico wines.

Shorthand at the ready and camera lenses locked in place, we go inside the epicenter of the brand that begins in a mini art museum-like foyer and ends alongside a dark, tucked away grotto: Mazzei's sprawling, 10,000 square meter, state-of-the-art winery. Impressively pristine, the mammoth cantina produces the award-winning varietals and blends grown from the vines that drape the nearby terroirs, along with other labels from the family's emerging wine zones in southwestern Tuscany and on the island of Sicily.

Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli's director of public relations Leonardo guides the writer's media group through the plant

delivery chutes at the Marchesi Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli

stainless steel storage and blending tanks

bottling and labeling and the underground cellar

Leonardo, the estate's director of public relations, guides us through the plant, explaining in great detail all of the steps involved in getting the Mazzei brand from the vineyard to your glass: delivery chutes, stainless steel storage and blending tanks, bottling and labeling, and the cavernous underground cellar – complimented by the sounds of flowing water inside a grotto –- where an army of oak barriques (barrels) envelops all of that luscious vino rosso under the lowest of light until its aged to perfection.

Back above ground, Belinda, our tour director-slash-storyteller, ushers us back on the motorcoach and announces to the peanut gallery that we're going to be the guests of Dr. Francesco Mazzei at the family's upscale Osteria di Fonterutoli for a special wine tasting-culinary lunch, followed by a stroll around Castello di Fonterutoli.

All together now: SI!

For complete information on Insight Vacations' 12 Italian premium and luxury-escorted, business-class motorcoach itineraries – where you'll be treated with a host of "signature" moments, like wine tastings and fine dining – and over 100 journeys throughout Europe just click HERE, or call toll free (888) 680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

I'll see you at the osteria (tavern) in just a few minutes. If I get their first, I'll save you a virtual seat.

Ciao for now.

Related Articles:
Cortona: Under the Renovated Tuscan Sun; Linnertime in Spello; Take Me Home Country Roads; The Olive Groves of Ragani; Saintly Assisi; Underground in Perugia; Sipping Vino and Savoring Vistas in Tuscany

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

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Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, the Garden District, the streetcar (now a bus) to Desire, the jazz clubs, the beignets at the Café du Monde and breakfast at Brennan’s come to mind when you think of New Orleans. But that’s not all there is to this unique American city, filled with treasures both culinary and cultural.

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The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

go there

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In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

go there

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