Barberino Val d’Elsa – Chianti Classico’s western edge
- Castello di Monsanto – the first 50 years
- I Balzini – breaking the rules
- Casa Sola – Chianti Classico’s western edge
Barberino Val d’Elsa itself is yet another perfect, small, hill town, on the western edge of Chianti Classico, north-east of San Gimignano. From the point of view of the Tuscan quality wine zones, the town itself is actually still in Chianti Colli Fiorentini which has a long extension which reaches halfway down the western side of Chianti Classico. Florence is closer than Siena but only by 10 kilometres.
As its name indicates, the territory is basically in and around the valley of the Elsa river. The river rises at Sovicille in the hills just south-west of Siena and flows north past Poggibonsi, Certaldo and into the Arno west of Empoli. But in wine terms the name Val d’Elsa only applies for the southern part of this journey as you quickly move into the Val di Pesa.
Some of the wineries featured here are in Chianti Classico DOCG (Castello di Monsanto and Casa Sola), while I Balzini is in the Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG – though I notice that Nicholas Belfrage does smuggle it into the Classico section of his book. What unites them is that geographically and administratively, they relate to the town of Barberino Val d’Elsa.
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