Before Friday, I had never ridden a horse, with the exception of a typical petting zoo where an adult would pull me and my pony in a circular motion at a painfully slow pace.
After Friday, I don’t think I can or will ever ride one again, because nothing—and I repeat, nothing—will compare to my horseback riding wine tour experience in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy.
We eagerly signed up for a full day in Tuscany through Florencetown tours, which hosts a handful of excursions throughout Italy with an exceptional staff. Their connections with the Corsini family (and their 650-acre estate) allowed us to enjoy almost six hours in the vineyards, gardens, production and fermentation facilities, and restaurant. I want to take full advantage of the bed and breakfast on the property next time; although the family’s nine-story villa wouldn’t be too shabby either.
Our group was a small but impressive mix: three of us from Austin, a 25-year-old couple from Australia and an older married couple from Ecuador. Connecting with the others made our day even more fulfilling. And, funny enough, we ran into Craig and Laura, the Australian couple, at the San Lorenzo Market the following day.
After meeting in the Florence city center and driving to Tuscany, we were introduced to our horses for the morning. My dark brown beauty was named Violina. Being an amateur, I had that tiny fear in the back of my mind that Violina would run free from the group, leaving me with no experience to handle her. It turns out my and Hannah’s horses were so lazy that we spent a majority of the morning kicking our heels to keep them moving with the rest of the group. I got a workout, but I loved that I could capture the ride on my camera without fear of losing balance.
A few hours and hundreds of photos later, we arrived back at the horse stable to part with the horses and partake in a traditional Tuscan meal with wine pairings from the Corsini vineyard.
The two wines, both Chianto Classicos, went fantastically with the melon & prosciutto, Bolognese pasta, and vegetable couscous with Corsini Olive Oil. I enjoyed the Le Conti red, which was not as heavy or robust as the Don Tommaso; however, both were lighter than the typical cabernet we drink in America. I was impressed with the bold flavors and even more impressed by the fact that we were sitting in this restaurant above the wine fermentation facility of these exact bottles. I had just seen where the grapes had been picked a few seasons ago. What an incredible feeling.
Our meal ended, and the tour of the facilities began. I saw where each bottle of wine and olive oil was fermented, store, bottled and labeled. As I admired the oak barrels that the Corsini family had used for centuries, I made up my mind at that moment: becoming a wine connoisseur is definitely a future goal of mine.
The final visit to the Corsini gardens, which held the most astounding array of flowers and plants, butterflies and bumblebees, completed the day. We approached our final view of the green, fruitful vineyard landscape. I had never seen something so beautiful, so peaceful, and so rich in my entire life. I cannot wait to come back one day…sooner rather than later.