Friday September 14th

Today was another cool windy day.  The forecast shows better weather starting tomorrow.

We got up early this morning for our appointment at Le Miccine winery.  I had emailed the winemaker, Paula Cook, some weeks ago to arrange a visit and tour.  The winery is located just outside of Gaiole in Chianti on the road to Radda in Chianti.  Paula is a young woman from Montreal who has been running the winery that she and her parents bought since 2010.  While not a supplier to the Opimian Society she was written up recently in the Opimian Newsletter.  Once I read her story  I knew we had to visit.

Paula Cook of Le Miccine

Le Miccine is a small winery producing 30,000 bottles (2500 cases) per year.  Paula took me on a short tour of her operation.  It was very interesting.  She explained that when she ferments the grapes in the stainless steel tanks and in the wooden casks she keeps the different types and even the different strains of the same grape separate.  For example the Sangiovese from one section of the vineyard is kept separate from the Sangiovese from another section as the flavors might be slightly different.  Only when she blends the wines do the different strains get mixed together.  For example, for her Chianti Classico she would first blend the base of Sangiovese (Chianti Classico must be at least 80% Sangiovese) by mixing the different batches until she achieves the desired taste.  Then she mixes in the Malvasia Nera and Colorino grapes until she arrives at the taste she wants.

Le Miccine vineyard

Le Miccine does not have its own bottling plant but rather she uses a mobile one.  When she needs to bottle the truck arrives, opens its doors to reveal the bottling line, they bottle her wine in short order and leave.  This saves her the expense of owning and maintaining a plant (not to mention she doesn’t have the space to house it).

Various strains of Sangiovese are grown at Le Miccine along with Malvasia Nera, Merlot and Vermantino.  The soil is a mixture of sand, clay and calcite.  The calcite pretty much demarks the Chianti Classico region.  Paula explained that the formula for Chianti was originally developed in the area but over time vineyards all over the place were calling their wines Chianti.  As a means of restoring the good name Chianti winemakers in the original area adopted the black rooster as their mark and delineated the region between Florence and Siena as the only area where Chianti Classico wines could come from.

All-in-all it was a fascinating couple of hours that we spent with Paula.  We ended up buying 4 bottles of wine at Le Miccine:  a Chianti Classico, a Merlot, and 2 bottles of white made from Vermantino.

After our visit we drove into Gaiole in Chianti.  The entrance to the main square is dominated by a large metal sculpture of a rooster.

Giant Rooster

Various shops and a couple of restaurants line the square but it was in the Tourist Information Center that Susan discovered something I had been hoping to find.  At the start line of the GranFondo back in July I noticed a fellow wearing a cycling jersey with an outline map of Tuscany on the back.  I was hoping to find the jersey on this trip and lo and behold there it was in the Information Center.  I quickly plunked down my €50 and took possession of my new jersey.  Our next destination was a restaurant just outside of the main square where we enjoyed a couple of fabulous pizzas.

Following lunch it was back to The Barn to enjoy a bottle of Le Miccine Merlot on the terrace.

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