Brindiamo alla vita! Let's toast to life!
It's National Chianti Day. I want to tell you about my favorite Chianti and the story of where it comes from. Some may say I'm "crazy" for this particular wine. There's a good reason why that's true, but you'll have to read on to find out why.
Castello Del Trebbio lies in Italy's Tuscany region, in the heart of Chianti Rufina. Kathy and I visited last year with some listeners. Their Chianti is a dry and medium bodied masterpiece. It comes from a place with a dark history, but it was resurrected by the love of the current owner's parents.
Let's begin with that very dark bit of history to get it out of the way. Did you see the 2001 film Hanibal? The story has serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter living in exile in Florence, Italy and under a false name. He is pursued by a detective named Rinaldo Pazzi. Recognize that name? "Pazzi" is Italian slang for "crazy." We're told that the fictional character Detective Pazzi is a direct descendant of the actual Pazzi family. The Pazzis were wealthy bankers in Renaissance Florence. In 1478, the family conspired to assassinate two members of the Medeci bankers who were the richest and most powerful family in Florence. That scheme, known as the Pazzi Conspiracy was hatched in a room you can still visit today in the castle at Castello Del Trebbio. The Pazzis and their co-conspirators believed by killing the Medeci, they would become the most powerful family in Florence. They were not successful, killing only one Medeci brother and wounding another. The Medeci revenge was swift and brutal. Do you remember how Detective Pazzi was killed by Dr. Lecter in the film? His ancestors suffered a similar gruesome fate. Their castle and land were taken from them by the now more powerful Medeci and their name became synonymous with "crazy" ideas or thoughts.
The castle and property were partially returned to the Pazzi family in the years to follow. They held it until 1671 when all surviving Pazzis had died off. Ownership passed through several other families until the 1950's when it was abandoned. This is where our love story begins and our incredible wine is born.
In 1968, Giovanni Enea, also known as Nino Baj Macario, was riding on a train. He noticed a beautiful young woman in his train car. Her name was Eugenia and she was from Austria. She was travelling Italy to learn the language and culture. It was, as they say, love at first sight. That chance encounter would lead to a marriage, a large family, and the resurrection of the Pazzi estate.
Nino and Eugenia bought the former Pazzi property and they managed to rebuild the villa-castle and farm from its state of total neglect. It was hard work and a labor of love. The years of abandonment had been hard on the property. From the soil to the roof of the castle and everything in between, it all needed attention. Very few modern renovations were added. The family maintained the natural beauty of the countryside while building on the original craftsmanship of the estate's creators. It is truly a unique experience to visit, dine, and stay at Castello Del Trebbio.
In 2018, the Baj Macario family celebrated 50 years of family ownership. The estate is now run by one of Nino and Eugenia's daughters, Anna Baj Macario and her husband Stefano Casadei. They are not only the owners of a respected winery. Castillo Del Trebbio is now a thriving location for agritourism. The buildings are preserved in their natural state. The land is farmed and conserved using techniques that deliver the best grapes and olives while maintaining strict practices of organic cultivation and sustainability.
Kathy and I plan to return to Castello Del Trebbio as soon as possible. We suggest you do the same. Today, we will sit on our tree lined deck and sip their Chianti. We enjoy sharing it with family and friends. When we close our eyes, we can feel the history, taste the love, and view all the beauty of this Tuscan paradise.
Read more about National Chianti Day on the National Day Calendar website.
(Photo: Jim Polito)