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  • Chianti and Castles - fabulous tour

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2018-03-29
Chianti and Castles - fabulous tour
Madeline Deneen
USA
My boyfriend and I booked the shared/group Castle & Chianti wine tour for the last day/night of our Italy trip and it ended up just being a very memorable private tour for the both of us. This tour with the ever-entertaining Hillary was by far the highlight of our trip!! Spending the entire day with Hillary was amazing! She’s a very passionate, informative and hilarious sommelier & guide who’s extremely personable and really knows her stuff! I cannot say enough positive things about Hillary and this tour :) This tour is perfect for pretty much any level of experience/knowledge and love of wine. My boyfriend wasn’t nearly as into wine as me prior to this tour while I’m known to be a bit of a ‘wino’ ;) but did not have many wine tours/tastings under my belt; however, we both walked away far more knowledgeable and appreciative of wine after the Castle & Chianti wine tour with Hillary. Plus, the Italy and Wine tour company did a great job with naturally incorporating sightseeing into the wine tour, so my boyfriend would’ve loved the tour even if he wasn’t as interested in the wine tasting part (which he ended up loving just as much too), and as a wine lover myself, I found the sightseeing like the castle and meeting a living member of ancient Florentine banking royalty, Marchesa Donatella Gondi, at her family’s historic villa and hearing her family’s rich Renaissance history to be more than relevant in enhancing the actual wine tasting experiences because wine is just as much the human story as it is the chemistry/science (which this tour really drove home) :) I thought the tour was organized perfectly in terms of sequence as well- we first started with the scenic drive from Florence to the castle while Hillary prepped us for the tasting we would have there and answered all of our questions plus provided us with interesting tidbits of Florentine history, background of the Chianti region, WWII stories, etc. Then after checking out the castle and learning of its rich history, Hillary took us to a private tasting within the castle and explained and joked about the how’s/tips & tricks of wine tasting and pairings. Hillary then asked us where we’d like to have lunch (which was included in the cost of the tour) and we asked her to take us somewhere in Chianti country where we could get an authentic Tuscan country lunch experience, and wow did she deliver! We had a delicious several course lunch while continuing our education and enjoying Hillary’s great conversation. We then drove through more of the gorgeous Chianti Rufina region on the way to the Gondi family’s wine estate for an amazingly fascinating tour and great storytelling from Marquesa Donatella Gondi herself and a delicious and one of a kind wine tasting experience there over more stories and great conversation :) The wine tastings were also generous servings, so that’s always a plus! We were bummed when the day was coming to an end, but Hillary gave us several suggestions for the authentic gelato experience for our last hour to kill in Florence while waiting for our ride back to our villa in the country, which was also delicious! We could not have had a better time. Thank you Italy and Wine tours and thank you so much Hillary :) Cannot recommend this tour enough! My mother, stepfather and a couple of their friends are renting a villa in Tuscany sometime in the near future and told them if they do anything at all- make it this tour!


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