From Florence, it took us about 90 mintues to drive to Tenuta Guado al Tasso which is due west of Castello di Casole, and we could feel the sea getting closer and the weather getting warmer with every kilometer.
Guado al Tasso is not open to the public, however the members of C. Dodici, Castello di Casole’s Vintner’s Club, will be able to experience private lunches and wine tastings in the villa and on the beautiful grounds. It is a sustainable working farm which produces wheat, sunflowers and olives, plus food for the animals which include Allegra Antinori’s race horses and the hybrid pig/wild boar called Cinta Senese.
After out tour we were treated to a tasting accompanied by a selection of cured meats from the Cinta Senese. We tasted the 2008 Vermentino- a crisp, light and fruity white wine, and the Il Bruciato 2007 Super Tuscan, a delightful blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Bruciato, incidentally, means “burnt” and the wine is named after the Il Bruciato forest on the estate that was burned in the mid-19th-century by the people of Bolgheri because the owner of the land tried to prevent them from hunting and foraging for food there. The Rosé still produced at Guado al Tasso, called Scalabrone, is named after a legendary bandit who was considered to be the “Robin Hood” of the Maremma area.
After the tour we headed to the quaint seaside village of San Vincenzo for lunch at Zanibar which has the cozy, comfy feel of a little beach house. There is some major construction going on in the harbor but it didn’t detract much from our experience. We enjoyed an aperitif on the terrace looking out at the sea and chatted with an old salty dog named Mario. For lunch Marina and I had a grilled white fish similar to sea bass that was so fresh and cooked to perfection. The adventuresome Silva ordered raw shrimp and a plate of steamed Bianchetti e rossetti, hundreds of tiny white fish about an inch long that she doused in lemon juice and olive oil. Gherardo had grilled squid that at first glance looked like a grilled translucent garden hose but it was surprisingly sweet and tender.
On the way to another winery Silvia wanted to check out, we drove up the Via Aurelio past the Enoteca Maestrini which Silvia said is a great place to buy wine. She then turned right onto Viale dei Cipressi, one of the most beautiful roads I have ever driven down. Lined with about 2500 huge Cypress trees, the road which is protected by the Belle Arti (the Italian Historical Society), ends in the charming little village of Bolgheri. You enter the town through a narrow arch under a castle that dates back to the 8th century and belonged to the della Gherardesca family. Silvia pointed out several great restaurants with inviting al fresco dining areas that I will write about this spring when I return for a longer visit.
As we reluctantly headed back home, I kept looking back over my shoulder at the glistening sea until it finally dwindled out of sight. I know that this is a place I will return to many times in my life.