Castelo di Brolio

{Article for Blending Magazine}

Prepare yourself: From the time you park at the bottom of a hill and begin your hike up to the castle, you will be lost in time. 

I know, I know: I have a weird attachment to images of the gospelers. But look how beautiful!!!

The Castelo di Brolio crouches on a stony hillside, closer to Siena than Florence, nestled in the north of the Chianti Classico region. Its fourteenth-century keep is built on top of the only remaining original walls, survivors of the long-running Siena-Florence conflict. An eighteenth-century English garden features Italian chestnuts, tropical palms, and until a year ago, a lone sequoia. The façade of the main building, damaged by bomb shells in the last war, retains its scars as a reminder of man’s destructive capacity, while the modern bottling and shipping operation is a testament to innovation.

While the castle is fascinating, the owner, Baron Bettino Ricàsoli, so-called “Father of Chianti,” was himself a remarkable character. A Renaissance man two centuries too late, he was a naturalist, a master statesman, a peace-maker, an artist, and a chemist. 

Perhaps these reasons—their eclectic namesake, the storied region—can explain the three unique wines we tasted at il Castelo di Brolio: a smoky, full-bodied chardonnay; a fantastically approachable chianti; and a juicy Super-Tuscan called Casalferro. 

If you have any interest in architecture, in the history of Italian wine (or indeed, in the history of Italy!), a trip to il Castelo di Brolio is just what the doctor ordered. 

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