Tuscany - Grapes drying for Vin Santo
12 - 16 May 2014
A wonderful blend of respect for tradition and a determined attitude to increasing quality makes Italy one of the most exciting wine regions of the world, and nowhere more so than Tuscany. On this tour we’ll visit those estates who have been at the forefront of quality and whose fortunes we have been following for more than the past 20 years. And of course, all with the beautiful backdrop of the quintessential Tuscan countryside of rolling, cypress studded hills.
The Italian wine scene in Tuscany has undergone a dramatic change in the past twenty-five years in terms of quality. Long gone are the straw covered fiascos of Chianti and DOC wines of questionable standards. Italy in general has transformed their wine industry, concentrating on producing superb traditional regional wines, and Tuscany was at the forefront of the revolution of introducing world-class Vino di Tavola from international grape varieties. More recently with the rest of Italy following this trend, the Tuscans have turned the tide again and they are concentrating on exploring the superb qualities of their native grape varieties.
From our 4* hotel, a beautiful small palazzo in the centre of Radda in Chianti, we visit a hand-picked selection of the top wine estates to taste the traditional Chianti Classico, which at this level qualify for some of the most impressive wines of Italy. The main grape variety is Sangiovese, which appears in many guises and under a variety of names!
Our first evening’s dinner sets the tone for this wonderful wine holiday. We visit the charming hamlet of Fonterutoli owned by the Mazzei family. We enjoy a tasting in the cellars before dining at their Osteria with a further selection of their wines.
On the next day, in the Chianti Classico wine region, we will be visiting some of the leading estates of Tuscan. Firstly, Fontodi, who have vines in the golden shell near Panzano producing a great selection of powerful and intense wines including Flaccianello della Piave from Sangiovese and an excellent Pinot Noir. The Manetti family have owned the estate since 1969 and have lavished the vines with care and attention. We then are pleased to be welcomed for a private lunch and tasting at Felsina, one of the most consistently excellent estates in Italy. In Castelnuovo Berardenga, the warm South-East corner of the region, they produce Chianti Classico with a richness that is reminiscent of Montalcino. They produce one of the few well made Tuscan Chardonnay’s and their olive oil is one of the truly great Tuscan oils – a must for the list of presents to take home! We then have some free time in Siena and an optional guided walking tour. After exploring, you can either choose to stay on for the evening to dine in Siena, or return to Radda as suits you.
We also head south to the DOCG of Montalcino to taste the famous Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino. Our chosen visits are to two of the stellar estates – Tenuta Silvio Nardi and Tenuta Il Poggione where we lunch at the cellars. After lunch we call in on Montalcino, small charming town perched on a hilltop. It was here that the aristocrats of Siena took refuge after the fall of their city to the Medicis. The narrow medieval streets are ideal for a post-lunch wander.
As well as Chianti Classico, we visit Chianti Rufina just east of Florence, where the elegant wines historically have a greater ageing capacity. Here at Selvapiana we taste stunning wines including both their single vineyards – Bucerchiale, which is an outstanding example of Chianti – and Fornace, which includes an amount of Cabernet for a more intense mouthful. Lunchtime and the afternoon are free in Florence. We are honoured guests at the magnificent medieval hamlet of Castello di Volpaia whose refined wines, including their superb Vino di Tavola Coltassa made from Sangioveto and Mamelo grapes, we’ll taste over a feast of local specialities!
This is a wonderful tour with outstanding wine and very special invitations to dine with top producers, and you’ll also visit the classic Tuscan towns and cities. There is of course time in Radda, where we are based, there is an afternoon and evening in Siena, visits to Montalcino and lunchtime in Florence.
Why not stay on and enjoy Florence for a couple of nights?
Stay on for a few days after the tour to explore Florence in our favourite family run 4* hotel on the banks of the Arno.
£235 per person in standard rooms (or £300 per person in superior Arno view rooms) for two nights, twin share. We can offer the hotel for the same price pre-tour. The additional nights must be paid for in full at time of the main booking (non-refundable in the event of cancellation).