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Chianti Colli Fiorentini: Exploring Wines from the Outskirts of Florence

When heading to Tuscany to visit its wineries, most travelers head out of Florence and drive for a while to get to the most famous regions, like Montalcino and Montepulciano. But did you know that great wine, particularly Chianti, is made right outside the city in the surrounding hills?

Chianti Colli Fiorentini is one of a number of regions for chianti production and has been classified since the 1930s, making it one of the earliest to be officially recognized. It is also the only DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, Italy’s highest quality designation) classified region for Chianti production that can include “Firenze” (Italian for Florence) on the label. As such, the wines from Colli Fiorentini are very popular in Florence itself, and are a source of pride among locals.

Like in many areas of Tuscany, grapes have been grown in Colli Fiorentini for a long time, and wines from the region have a reputation for being approachable and drinkable fairly early after release. Now, thanks to a new generation of owners who are working to increase awareness and extend their reach in the marketplace, The wines for Chianti Colli Fiorentini are starting to gain a reputation outside the region, as well.

Vineyards at Chianti Colli Fiorentini just after harvest in 2018

The Connected Table recently spent time in Colli Fiorentini visiting a number of producers, both large and small. We were thrilled by the wines we tried, and also by the people we met, who are warm and inviting to oeno-tourists. In fact, oeno-tourism is a big part of their livelihood, and almost all the wineries we visited were also “agriturismo” (Italian for Bed & Breakfast) properties, so overnight stays are also possible.

While some white wines are produced (mostly from Trebbiano and Malvasia), including a number of excellent Vin Santo wines (sweet dessert-style wines made from grapes that have been hung to dry and concentrate their sugars before being pressed), most wines are reds made from Sangiovese with other grapes like Canaiolo & Colorino blended in depending on winemaker preference.

The following is a list of wineries we visited and found made exceptional wines:

Diletta Malenchini, Malenchini Winery

Malanchini. ( ) Owned by the Malanchini family since the 1830s and run by Diletta Malenchini. The family also operates an Agriturismo on property and hosts weddings in season. Wines to look for include Chianti and  Chianti Riserva which is made from 100% Sangiovese.

Le Querce wines

La Querce. ( ). Located in Impruneta, La Querce’s wines are made by Marco Ferretti, who is also the current president of the Colli Fiorentini Consorzio of producers. Wines to try include Sorretolle, La Torretta Riserva, La Querce Toscana, and M.

With Camilla Carrega, Volognano (listen to our show with Camilla. Scroll to the end of this post.

Volognano. ( ). A fully restored 11th century castle and adjoining medieval village is the backdrop for Volognano’s wines which are delightfully modern in style. Camilla Carrega, third generation of the current ownership runs the winery and extensive agriturismo. Wines to look for include their Toscana Bianco, a delicious blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia, Noi Chianti CF, Baccante, a Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, and their Vin Santo, Aetius.

In the vineyards at Tenuta San Vito

Tenuta San Vito, ( ). Founded in 1960, Tenuta San Vito is 12 miles from Florence and comprises 300 acres with 70 of those dedicated to grapes. They also make some wonderful olive oils and run an agriturismo for overnight stays. Wines include Chianti CF and Chianti CF Riserva, San Vito also makes a delicious Vin Santo aged in Chestnut barrels.

DOP Salumi at Fattoria San Michele

San Michele a Torri. ( ). One of the more established producers in Colli Fiorentini, San Michele has 400 acres with 60 under vine. They also produce olive oils and Cinta Senese DOP salumi from their heritage breed pigs. They make a number of wines and their Chianti CF and CF Riservas are top notch.

Tasting at Quei2

Quei 2. ( Certainly the smallest producer on this list, and maybe the smallest we’ve ever seen. Quei 2 makes only 6000 bottle per year from grapes grown in 50 year old vineyards, but the owners, both former engineers with a passion for making wine, are investing both time and resources to secure their future. Wines include Le Casine Bianco, Rex Rubrum Chianti CF, and 208 Rosso, a Sangiovese/Merlot/Canaiolo blend.

La Colombaia Villa di Bagnolo. ( ). A beautifully restored Villa and property owned by the Beltrami family since the 1970s, La Colombaia makes a variety of wines including Chianti and Vin Santo. The property is also available for private events. Their Terre delle Fornaci was a favorite.

Marco Bartollini and his sister

Fattoria di Bagnolo. ( ) Located directly across the vineyard from La Colombaia, this winery is one of three multi-use properties in Tuscany owned by the Marchesi Bartolini Bardelli family and is their premium wine estate. Marco Bartolini led the winemaking for the last 30 years, and recently passed oversight to his sister. Their Chianti CF wines are made from traditional Tuscan varieties like Sangiovese and Colorino, They also make a Super Tuscan called Caprorosso, which is very good.

At Castelvecchio

Castelvecchio. ( Founded in 1962 by the Rocchi family, Castelvecchio is run by brother and sister Filippo and Stefania Rocchi and produces about 100,000 bottles annually from its 75 acres of vineyards planted to traditional Tuscan and French grape varieties. Favorites included Il Castelvecchio Chianti CF, Vigna La Quercia Chianti CF riserva, and Numero Otto, a red made from 100% Canaiolo.

Tenuta Il Corno

Tenuta Il Corno. ( A sprawling estate built in the 12th century and once the summer residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Il Corno has been owned  by the Frova family since 1911. Maria Giulia Frova runs the wine program and is nicknamed the “Queen of Colorino” due her affinity for, and expertise in coaxing Colorino to life in the bottle. “Corno Divino” is a wonderful restaurant on property, and accommodations are also available.

Ugo Bing and his son

Fattoria de Fiano. ( Winemaker Ugo Bing’s family has been growing grapes on their property since the 1940s and make some deliciously interesting wines form their panoramic hill-top vineyards, including some from grapes not widely planted in the region like Petit Manseng and Abrostino (only planted by about five producers). Wines include Chianti CF, Fianesco (their Super Tuscan), Pugni d’Abrusco (a red blend of Pugnitello and Agrostino) and Vin Santo.

Wines at Le Torri

Le Torri. ( ). Milan native Beatrice Mozzi runs this agriturismo and winery for her family, and winemakers Giovanni Sordi & Alessandro Maffi make some beautiful wines, including Chianti CF and CF Riserva. Other projects include a delightful Brut Rose sparkling wine (great to sip by the property’s pool while staying the weekend), Soleluna Chardonnay, and Magliano Super Tuscan.

Fattorie Gianozzi

Fattorie Giannozzi. ( An historic winery owned by the Giannozzi family since the early 1700s. Gianozzi was one of the first chianti producers to export to the U.S. (in the 1930s) and are well established in the U.S. market. Brothers Luca and Simone Giannozzi run the wine, olive oil, and agriturismo.

Wines of Gualandi. Listen to our show with Guido Gualandi on The Connected Table LIVE

Gualandi. ( By far the most unique of Tuscany’s wineries. Guido Gualandi’s passion for making wine extends from his passion for history and most importantly, historical winemaking methods and ancient grapes. An archeologist & teaching professor specializing in Mesopotamia, Guido actually researches how winemaking was done in ancient times and re-creates the process to make his wines. He eschews modern winemaking techniques and seeks out and revives forgotten grape varieties. His website states “archeologial wines” are the focus, but we like to call his phenominal wines “Super-Etruscans.” Wines include Montebetti Chianti CF, Gualandvs, and a beautiful Vin Santo.

Wines at Valvirginio

Valvirginio. ( Valvirginio is produced by the local cooperative winery Cantine Sociale Colli Fiorentini which is owned by about 850 small grape growers in the area.  The Cantine also operates a half dozen Valvirginio retail stores around Tuscany to sell its products which include wine, olive oil, and honey. Collorosso is their Chianti Colli Fiorentini wine.

View from Castello Poppiano

Castello di Poppiano  ( ) The Guicciardini family has been making wine at Castello di Poppiano since 1199A.D. Conte (Count) Ferdinando Guicciardini runs the show and also owns two other wineries in Tuscany which he constantly shuffles back and forth between while overseeing production. Castello di Poppiano is Chianti Colli Fiorentini’s largest producer and Ferdinando was instrumental in gaining the region DOCG status in the 1980s. His wines are well distributed, and he can often be found at the estate, always willing to spend time with guests and tell the history of the beautiful castle he and his wife Annamaria calls home.

another stunning view


Listen to The Connected Table LIVE with Guido Gualandi, Gualandi


Listen to The Connected Table LIVE with Camilla Carrega, Volognano


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Her Greatist Legacy Will Be Helping To Feeding NYC’s Homebound Elderly

Usually when we think of malnutrition our thoughts drift  to impoverished areas of the United States or overseas to Third World countries. Rarely do we think about New York City much less a neighbor in your building.

But the reality is New York City is home to nearly 1.3 million senior citizens age 60 years and older. Many of them are hungry…for food and for companionship.  The same goes for other cities, not just New York. It could be your elderly neighbor down the street who has mobility issues or weakened memory for whom cooking is difficult and eating is no longer pleasurable alone. It’s not always about living on a fixed income or below the poverty level, though this is a problem. Many elderly are isolated and have no one to talk to.

According to a 1993 study by the Urban Institute* nearly five million elderly Americans (age 60 and over) experience “food insecurity” which means not getting enough to eat. In fact, 55% of seniors admitted to hospitals are suffering from malnutrition.

The situation is growing as Americans age. According to a December 1997 U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness* 65% of 29 cities surveyed reported requests for food assistance by elderly individuals increase by an average of nine percent that year.

I’ve written about malnutrition among cancer patients and within under served and impoverished communities where lack of quality food is a problem. With the elderly you wonder, “Don’t they have family to take care of them?” The answer is too frequently “No.”

Mary is one of the many homebound elderly who receive meals delivered by Citymeals-on-Wheels

Restaurant Critic and bestselling author, Gael Greene, has lived the life many of us dream about dining in Manhattan’s best restaurants and traveling the world eating for a living. But she couldn’t shake the fact that while her life was a banquet, she had “invisible neighbors” who may be starving, both for food and companionship.

With the late author and culinary teacher, James Beard,  Gael created Citymeals-on-Wheels, one of New York City’s and the nation’s leading non-profits that addresses malnutrition among the elderly by providing. Citymeals-on-Wheels mission statement is to “provide a continuous lifeline of nutritious food and human company to homebound elderly New Yorkers in need, helping them to live with dignity in their own familiar homes and communities.”

Eat Fearless Fabulous You radio INSPIRE Melanie Young Nutrition and healthy Eating

Homemade Kitchen Wisdom from Alana Chernila

“Do Your Best, and Then Let Go”

So reads one of the 13 chapters- and morsels- of kitchen wisdom in Alana Chernila‘s new cookbook, “The Homemade Kitchen.” This is a book whose message is as much about how to approach life at a slow, measured and pleasurable pace as it is about about cooking with the same intentions.


“Start Where You Are.” “Feed Yourself.” “Put Your Hands in the Earth.” “Do the Work.” “Slow Down.” Alana has these phrases and others taped to her refrigerator. I do the same thing on mine with inspirational quotations such as: “Just as the Caterpillar thought the world was coming to an end, she became a butterfly.” “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” This latter quote is the lead in my second book, “Fearless Fabulous You! Lessons on Living Life on Your Terms.”

Feeding your body also nourishes your soul. The kitchen is both heart and hearth for many home cooks, including Alana. She says, “The process of cooking at home is my window into what I want to create in life as a whole.”

Alana Chernila
Alana Chernila

If the kitchen is the heart of her home, her gardens are the arteries. Alana looks to nature for inspiration in the kitchen and shares practical insights to working with and not against it, from honoring the ingredients to utilizing bits and pieces and not being wasteful.

I’m a fan of the section of “The Homemade Kitchen” that address waste and re-purposing different foods, something I am just learning to do in an effort to be more respectful of the fact than we live in a nation of abundance where too many still go hungry.

“The Homemade Kitchen” is a follow up to Alana’s first book, “The Homemade Pantry.” You can also follow her blog, Eating from the Ground


Alana Chernila shares her story and her kitchen wisdom on Fearless Fabulous You! September 28th, 4pmEST on W4WN. The show podcast is available on demand any time at and the iHeart App. Here is the direct link:

Inspiring Women Around the World. Listen to all episodes on and the iHeart App anytime, Inspiring Women Around the World. Listen to all episodes on and the iHeart App anytime.
Inspiring Women Around the World. Listen to all episodes on and the iHeart App anytime. Follow Melanie on and Instagram/Melanie Fabulous. Website and blog: