Radda en Chianti and the "Gallo Nero"
Last Tuesday afternoon I arrived to “Radda Hamlet”, I decided above all to relax, to read, to write and to enjoy this pleasant and beautiful place where I was staying. I had also made some small scans of the Chianti territory to familiarize myself with this important area of Tuscany, but the first real trip I made happened yesterday.
In the early morning, whilst having a delicious buffet breakfast that they prepared for us every day, I noticed some English books scattered on a table near to mine where there was a middle age woman breakfasting alone who had a Saxon appearance. Shortly after, I noticed that she was staring at some books in Castilian and a few CDs that I had left at my table to take to the car as soon as I had finished eating.
That was how, after introducing ourselves, we entered into conversation whilst leaving the dining room. She was called Glenda, and was Scottish and had served as a Professor of Ancient and Medieval History in Edinburgh. A few months ago her husband died and she had come to Tuscany to relax and recover. She mentioned that her family, for various generations, had gone on holiday in Tuscany.
We went for a nice walk together around the charming town of Radda in Chianti, which was very close to our accommodation which, incidentally, is the venue of the “Consorcio del Gallo Nero”. This is the entity that brings together all the wines of Chianti which belong to a particular area of this territory. The emblem was indeed a black rooster and so I have documented which of the wines in Chianti are the most prestigious. No need to go through the theory, I assure you that they are truly extraordinary.
The urban layout of Radda in Chianti is medieval and has an ellipse shape, so all the streets will lead to Piazza Ferrucci. We were visiting this lovely square where stands the Praetorian Palace, which has more than 50 coats of arms in its splendid façade. The castle dates from the fifteenth century, but the army of Alfonso V of Aragon, on the way to Naples, destroyed it in the same century. Apparently, during the long and bloody “casus belli” between Siena and Florence, to see who would overcome the other, and along with other skirmishes in later centuries they could not rebuild it until the eighteenth century.
Afterwards we visited the churches of San Giusto in Salcio and San Polo in Rocco. Both are from the fourteenth century and were built as two small fortresses equipped with two tall round towers. They are beautiful and unique and their interiors housed some ancient and remarkable works of art.
La Bottega”, where the previous day in the bar that they have below I was having a wonderful Chianti and from the aroma that was coming from the kitchen I knew right away that it was a restaurant that I had to consider. The style is popular and very nice, the cuisine is home-made and traditional to the area. They made everything from the pasta to the sausages from scratch. We were attended by Carla, a really nice lady who we thought was the owner , who advised us to start with the sausages made by themselves and follow with a “pappardelle alla lepre” (a kind of very wide noodle with hare sauce stewed with Chianti red
wine) which had been made that morning. Naturally, Glenda and I wanted to give a tribute and ordered a Chianti DOC “Gallo Nero” – “which resurrected the fallen in the battles of the Middle Ages!” The sausages were varied and plentiful, were exquisite and the “papardelle” de “La Bottega” should appear in the annals of the local cuisine. To put it to lightly they were scrumptious. As we were already full, we had a coffee and a glass of nocino ( a delicious walnut liqueur) and we got to talking quietly.
Without counting the wine, we paid less than 40 Euros between the two of us.
On leaving we stopped at some of the many wineries that you find a lot of in the villages as the roads are full with a variety of Chianti wines. Once in Radda in Chianti, we entered “Enoteca Toscana” with all the bottles of wine and oils in the area that you could imagine and there we bought a DOC “Gallo Nero” each.