If you’re heading to Chianti Classico, don’t miss Osteria di Brolio.

I’m actually heading out again tonight for Italy to meet a new client (more on that later). And I still haven’t finished blogging about my early September trip!

That’s the fiorentina at the Osteria di Brolio, Ricasoli’s wonderful tavern on the grounds of the estate just down the road from the castle’s entrance.

My friend and colleague Maurizio Gamberucci, deputy director for the Italy-America Chamber in Texas and a native Tuscan, met me there for dinner on the very day that Ricasoli started harvesting its Sangiovese.

Beyond the steak — and wow, what a steak that was! — the menu there has become more creative and playful since chef Franco Sangiacomo returned.

Many east-coasters will know him from his celebrity turn as a chef in Washington D.C. where he cooked for a who’s who of American power players.

He’s brought a delightful contemporary touch to the classics at the osteria. Our dinner was fantastic.

It was one of the best and most memorable meals of that trip. I can’t recommend it enough.

I slept that night at Ricasoli’s “Agriroom,” a spartan but perfectly anointed bed and breakfast in the main piazza of the small village where the Ricasoli offices are located.

It was perfect and very affordable and the wifi works great. Breakfast in the morning at the “Agribar” on the first floor of the building.

Early the next morning, I headed up toward the castle for a daybreak run. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night and Saturday morning in Chiantigiana.

If you’re heading to Chianti Classico this season, check it out. And the tour and museum — including a great survey of Chianti Classico soils — is so worth the price of admission. Francesco Ricasoli has done an excellent job of updating it and even the family’s private chapel in the castle is now open to the public. It’s stunning.

Next stop: Turin. Wish me luck and wish me speed!

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