Tuscany wine tasting tours
SmoothRed’s wine tours in Tuscany are a fantastic way to experience some of Italy’s most beautiful scenery, visit some of the most culturally significant cities and towns in Europe and, of course, sample some of the best wines to be found anywhere on the planet.
To read more about Tuscany use the links below
More About Tuscany
Tuscany has been attracting visitors since the ancient Etruscans came along and decided to stick around. Since then, Tuscany has passed through the hands of several civilisations, including the Romans, the Byzantines, the Medici and the Bonapartes, each leaving their mark on this remarkable region.
Visit Florence, Siena and Pisa…
Throughout its rich history, the region of Tuscany has always attracted people with an eye for the artistic. And to indulge yours, you need look no further than Florence, home to some of the finest masterpieces known to man.
Here you can visit a seemingly endless array of churches, museums and galleries such as the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti. These are crammed with works by artists such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, Da Vinci, Giotto and Brunelleschi to name but a few. And in between you’ll wander the streets agog at the incredible architecture and sculpture on show all around.
Elsewhere, the medieval city of Siena boasts countless beautiful urban vistas, surrounded by superb countryside on all sides. Not to mention the city’s great scallop-shaped Piazza del Campo, where you can climb the 399 steps of the imposing bell tower. Or just relax with a Chianti and watch the chic locals go by (we know which option we’d choose).
There’s also Pisa, home to the famous leaning tower, and several città di arte (cities of art) including Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano and Lucca.
And, of course, the famous Tuscan countryside could easily be called a work of art in itself. From some of the region’s smaller towns like Pontremoli, Fosdinovo, Garfagnana, Barga and Pieve di Brancoli, you can explore fascinating historical sights and look out across rolling hills and vines as far as the eye can see.
Tuscany Wine Guide
Surprisingly, Tuscan soil is actually fairly poor. Thankfully though, that doesn’t mean wine producers have just given up and packed off home. Rather, they’ve decided to concentrate on lower yields and higher quality. And oh, what results!
As well as the famed Chianti Clasico and Brunello de Montalcino, Tuscany also produces some lesser-known but no less enjoyable wines. Like Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Morellino di Scansano and Rosso di Montepulciano.
As for the cuisine, any self-respecting foodie will find themselves in hog’s heaven in Tuscany. The focus here is on simple cooking with excellent ingredients, whether it’s the local olive oil, cheeses like pecorino di pienza, or cold cuts such as salumi di cinta senese.
Throughout your trip you can indulge yourself in some of the finest bruschetta, antipasto and pasta known to man, all while soaking up the views and delights of this truly idyllic region.
With an impressive total of 11 Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), Tuscany is third in Italy, behind Piedmont and Veneto, in terms of the number of DOCG wines it produces.
There are some household names amongst those 11 wines, with Chianti and its sub-region Chianti Classico each getting the DOCG nod. Wine lovers will also be more than familiar with the likes of Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the former of which is one of the finest whites to be produced anywhere in Italy.
Tuscany also has 33 Denominazioni di Origine Controllata (DOC), including a few varieties of Vin Santo and others from provinces across this most fertile of wine regions. The Sangiovese grape – whose name derives from the Latin for “the blood of Jupiter” – is the backbone of many of the best wines from the region. With high acidity but a relatively light body, creating top quality wines with this grape is often a challenge, but when done well, the results can be sublime.
Whether you visit the region in search of the perfect “Super Tuscan” tipple or you are craving something a little more traditional such as the aforementioned Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or the famous dessert wine Vin Santo, your thirst will be quenched. Here we go into just a little more detail about some of the best-loved Tuscan wines.
As the not-overly-Italian sounding name suggests, Super Tuscans are not an official category of Tuscan wine. They came about in large part due to what was perceived to be the restrictive DOC practices which ordered that Chianti wines must be comprised of at most 70% Sangiovese as well as at least 10% of one of the local white wine grapes. Producers instead decided to bypass the rules in order to create what they – and later many others – considered to be superior wines.
A Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend known as Tignanello has been used to produce many of the best Super Tuscans over the years. This is an example of a so-called “Bordeaux blend” that utilises grapes more commonly found in the famous French wine region, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Still often served in many Tuscan eateries in a traditional fiasco, a round-bottomed bottle that is partially or wholly covered with a straw basket, Chianti wines are evocative of Tuscany. Based around the Sangiovese grape variety, Chianti wines are produced in several overlapping regions, which can be confusing when looking at labels. Add to that the separate DOCG classification of Chianti Classico, which comes from the largest of the Chianti sub-regions, and the waters are muddied still further.
The good news is that if you pick up a DOCG-designated Chianti from any of the sub-regions you are likely to be rewarded with a wine well worth drinking. Which specific option you prefer comes down to personal taste of course, but you can’t go far wrong with the medium bodied, cherry tones and bewitching aromas of the Chianti Classico wines.
There are a number of fine dessert wines to be found in Italy, but Vin Santo is considered by many to be the best of them. Usually produced from the Trebbiano and Malvasia grape varieties, occasionally the local classic Sangiovese is thrown into the mix to produce a rosé wine.
Once harvested, the grapes are dried on straw mats in warm rooms to allow the desiccation process to concentrate the sugars. Some Vin Santo wines can be very dry, but the sweeter options are the ones to have turned heads over the years. They can also be fortified with grape spirit to produce Vin Santo Liquoroso.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano
As the name suggests, this wine is produced from the Vernaccia grape in, or near to, the walled medieval hill town of San Gimignano. With one of the most archetypally Tuscan skyline views there is, the UNESCO World Heritage-recognised town is well worth a visit whether you are a fan of its top quality white wine or not. But oenophiles have even greater cause to pay a visit as this tipple is one of the best whites produced anywhere in Italy, as recognised in 1993 when it was upgraded to DOCG status.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Another DOCG wine, and another making very good use of the Sangiovese grape, with the addition of Canaiolo Nero, and some other local varieties. Aged for at least a year in oak barrels, plus at least one additional year, there are flavours galore to savour here and this is often great value for money too.
Grand Hotel Continental Siena
Located at the heart of Siena’s historical centre, the Grand Hotel Continental is a luxurious…
Villa Il Castagno
Set in a renovated stone farmhouse surrounded by the hills of Chianti, Villa Il Castagno…
Castello Di Velona
Perched on a hilltop overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val d’Orcia, Castello di…
Hotel Le Fontanelle
Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves and set against a backdrop of rolling Chianti hills,…
JK Place Florence
Description A luxury hotel in Florence located in the heart of historic centre, in the…
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