Day one in Italy ended with me in the quaint town of Greve. Located in the northern reaches of the Chianti region, and only some 30 kilometers south of Florence, it’s an ideal home base for visits in the region. The village is well-known as a source of fine wine, and is also home to several renowned restaurants.
I booked a room at the small, family run Albergo del Chianti, which is located right in the triangular piazza that forms the heart of Greve. It’s a typical Italian three star hotel, lacking in some amenities but making up for it with its rustic charm. Arriving in the evening, it was easy to find the brightly lit Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, and the quaint Albergo tucked away in its northern corner.
Travel Tip: Le Cantine di Greve in ChiantiLe Cantine is simply one of the finest winebars in Italy. Tasting through 100 different wines, from all the finest regions of Tuscany, as well as some of the best from every region of Italy, is a great way to spend a few hours. Stop by late in the afternoon and grab a plate of Falorni cured meats to pair with your glass of Chianti, Brunello, or Super Tuscan. It’s a beautiful, and spacious, place to kick back and enjoy the best that the region has to offer.
Dining and accomodations in GreveAlbergo del Chianti
The Albergo del Chianti features a lovely pool area, which I was not able to take advantage of due to November's weather, but it’s a great feature that makes this affordable and convenient hotel a great option for travelers whose interest include, but are not limited to, wine.
Enoteca Fuori Piazza
While the main Piazza in Greve is lined with restaurants, it pays to venture out beyond its confines for authentic food and a fine selection of wines. The Enoteca Fuori Piazza is only a short stroll from the Piazza, and offers a casual environment in which to enjoy a flight of fine wines paired with a rustic menu that features daily specials, as well as a selection of artisanal antipasti. Read my review of Enoteca Fuori Piazza on Snooth.
After a day full of air travel and driving through the vibrant colors of the Tuscan countryside it was nice to check into to my cozy room and settle into my first home base of the trip. Once I took care of some business, I headed out to take in the sights of the piazza and take a peek at the stores and restaurants that line the porticos surrounding the Piazza.
Greve in Chianti is the birthplace of Giovanni da Verrazzano, so it’s no surprise that the piazza includes a statue of the famed explorer. Another landmark of the piazza is the Antica Macelleria Falorni, producers of some of the finest artisanal cured meat products to be found anywhere. It’s the place for the finest local prosciutto, so make sure you leave some time to pick some up. The products made from the local Cinta Senese and Chingiale (local breed of pig and wild boar respectively) are perfumed, tender and so rich -- they're not to be missed. I stopped by one morning and bought enough to make a pair of sandwiches for lunch. I wish life would allow that on a somewhat more regular schedule. Weekly would be perfect!
Before getting to lunch though there was the matter of dinner that had to be taken care of. After circling the Piazza once, I decided to head out and explore the rest of Greve. It wasn’t long before I happened on the Enoteca Fuori Piazza, a small winebar with tented outdoor seating in addition to the few tables inside. The menu was simple but appealing and was just what I was looking for, so in I went.
I opted to sit outside, though it was a little brisk, it was still a beautiful night worth enjoying. In order to warm things up I ordered a flight of 4 glasses of Chianti, as well as a meal of Farinace (a thick, almost porridge like soup with potato and kale), risotto con porcini, and roast beef.
The Farinace was superb! A soul warming and rustic blend of hearty vegetables and subtle flavors that woke up my palate and let me know I was now in the Italian countryside. The risotto was fine, a dryer style than I prefer but with a rich porcini flavors, and the roast beef with roasted potatoes was clean, simple and well prepared. All in all the meal was a fine match for the four wines.
2007 Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico
Floral and fresh on the nose with notes of black raspberries and sweet, slightly medicinal herbs. This is fresh and pure in the mouth with a soft, rich quality to the sour red fruits. there's a dusting of bitter cocoa on those fruits that adds a bit of depth and complexity as well. 89pts
2007 Borgo di Sugame Chianti Classico
The nose on this is on the earthy side and a bit rubbery/leathery. On the palate this is a touch austere but well balanced with soft tannins and lovely mineral, licorice and almond laced fruit that powers through on the moderately long finish. 86pts
2006 Fontodi Chianti Classcio
A little oaky, smoky on the nose over creamy strawberry and black currant fruit tones with just a hint of green coffee. On the palate this is rich, if a bit soft, with lots of blackberry fruit and a slightly chunky feel that features some drying tannins on the finish. 87pts
2006 Querciabella Chianti Classico
This has a textbook nose of cherry, mineral, moss, tobacco and leather with woodsy undertones. On the palate this is elegant and silky with rich raspberry fruit touched with subtle hints of earth and herbs. The fruit has a nice crystallized edge to it and wonderful purity and cut finishing with a hint of mint.
The Querciabella really was the standout wine of the evening, working wonderfully with each dish. The Lamole di Lamole remained refreshing throughout the evening, but lacked the depth and length of the Querciabella. Both the Borgo di Sugame and Fontodi showed some dryness to the tannin when paired with some of the dishes. It was a lot of fun working on the pairings as giving each wine a chance to show it’s best but the day’s worth of travel finally took it’s toll on me and my thoughts turned to that small but comfortable looking bed back in the hotel room As I turned to leave Fuori Piazza I made a mental note of another restaurant directly across the street.
My room at the Albergo del Chianti was certainly modest but was fine for my needs. The breakfast they offer is somewhat above the average offered by similar hotels in Italy and certainly prepared me well for a day of winery visits. I’ll report on the winery visits in my next email but before leaving Greve I did return to the Pizzeria La Cantina.