I was in Florence for work recently, and boy did I fall in love with the city. Beautiful architecture! Ornate antiques everywhere! Excellent food! A café that specialised in truffles! Fine wines! Scenic views! A quiet river just outside the city where I could sit and chill out undisturbed!
It is my new favourite city, and there are many reasons to pay it a visit. One of them is the wine club, properly named Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina.
I discovered them on my last night there and I wish I’d found them earlier. The food is exquisite, the wine options plentiful, and the staff friendly and welcoming. And, perhaps more importantly, very enthusiastic about their wines.
As you can see, the food options aren’t overpriced. I had prosciutto with truffle gorgonzola and the portion was very generous. It came with a side of bread – like most things do in Florence – and the bread was also very nice. A few classic slices, a few bits of foccacia. Perfect.
I’d been planning to just have a simple glass of wine, but then I noticed their Chianti flights.
I’d been torn between the 1971 and the 1980 anyway, so I decided to go for this and try three wines. The waiter brought me one 1971, one 1980, and one 2016.
The Pagliarese Chianti Classico 2016 was unsurprisingly the least complex of the three. It had a similar buttery undertone to what I normally taste when I’m drinking a good Bordeaux (I must find out why that is), and was the fruitiest of all the wines I tried. I liked it a lot but didn’t fall head over heels for it; I would have been happy enough drinking it with a meal but it wouldn’t make an evening wonderful all by itself.
The Fattoria Selvapiani Chianti Rufina Riserva 1980 was my absolute favourite. I bought a couple of bottles, and also asked for recommendations of other wines I’d like if I enjoyed that one, and then I bought those too. It had a strange yet pleasant duality to its character, which made it feel like I was drinking two wines at once: the initial taste and the aftertaste had distinct personalities, both of them very agreeable.
The aftertaste was quite acidic, but not to a distracting degree, and underlying both personalities was an intriguing smoky tone: definite tobacco on the nose, but the smokiness of the wine itself was almost peaty, like some of my favourite whiskies. I could imagine this one sitting in a leather armchair in a bookbound room, smoking a cigar. I have never tasted a wine quite like it.
I did not enjoy drinking the Castello di Uzzano Riserva 1971 so much. It was almost medicinal, like it’d been mixed with Amaro (another drink I discovered on my Italy trip). It accompanied the vegetables rather well, probably because it tasted quite herby, but I wouldn’t want to down a glass on its own.
So, there you have it: the Chianti flight at the Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina is well worth doing, and I’m sure their other wines are excellent too.