5 Amazing Wineries to Visit in Tuscany

Monday, May 19, 2014

This summer we're headed to Tuscany for vacation so I've been thinking of which wineries to visit. As luck would have it I recently came to know Jennifer Gentile from VinoTravels - a Boston-based wine blog focused on Italian wines. I was quick to ask her advice on wineries to visit.


Coincidentally we're planning to stay at the same place where she got married (Iesolana if you're curious - I'm looking very forward to it). I hope you enjoy this list of Tuscan wineries...

If you have ever been to Italy you will understand how many wineries there are and places to taste wine and olive oil. It can be overwhelming which one to stop in at. I've always been one to stop in at the names that I don't recognize from the states. These are the vineyards that you can't easily access and where you will sometimes be surprised by the quality of the producer, but they may not export large amounts due to their production or it may be hard to find in your market. It is also pretty neat though to stop in at the well known wineries as well and to see the operations and meet the folks that work hard to produce the wines that we fortunately get to enjoy.

Today I'm going to cover 5 of the wineries that I have visited that I would recommend stopping in and tasting the wines in the region of Tuscany.

Montalcino


Fattoria dei Barbi

I visited the Fattoria dei Barbi estate in 2007 in the town of Montalcino. The Colombini family that owns and manages the estate started making the famous Brunello with Biondi Santi in the 1780's. I toured their facility where they produce 800,000 bottles a year with 200,000 of those being Brunello. Their average vines are about 15-30 years old. In exploring their cellar they had bottles dating back to the 1870's that were tucked away under dim red lights, but the Fattoria dei Barbi estate opened their doors in the 1950's. 
This estate has a long history and many firsts in the industry, including the first Super Tuscan. They are valued for their quality throughout the world. In fact, I'm still sitting on my bottle I brought back, 2000 Brunello di Montalcino. 

Poggio Antico

Poggio Antico started off in the late 1970's. I visited them back in 2004 before I developed my strong sense of love for italian wines, but you know quality when you taste it. Poggio Antico has about 80 acres of vineyards planted here with the great majority planted to sangiovese and the rest cabernet sauvignon. Their fermentation room had 26 vats full of brunello di montalcino, rosso di montalcino and their super tuscan, called madre, made of 50% sangiovese and 50% cabernet with the first vintage in 2001. They hand select their grapes and produce very low yields so that they can ensure the best quality is displayed through their wines. Poggio Antico produces about 95,000 bottles a year. 

Montepulciano


Poliziano

I visited Poliziano in 2007 in the town of Montepulciano not too far from Montalcino, about 30-40 minutes. Lots of drinking going on for my 2007 trip for sure. How can you not?
Poliziano was started off in the 1960's. Everything is done by hand on their 250 acres estate. The owner, living above the cellars, at that time of my visit was just arriving back from the US and I toured with the export manager. The newer vineyards at that time were solar powered.

Inside the winery they had two temperature controlled rooms in addition to the enormous vats where they produce about 600,000 bottles a year. 

There is a special parcel of land they have, called Asinone, where they only bottle the wine in years they feel produce high quality. They also produce Vin Santo, but not enough that they market out to the public. I picked up a bottle of their Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, but their newer plantings, a year old, of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet were also very good.

Chianti


Vignavecchia

On my recent visit last October I stopped in at Vignavecchia in Radda. The workers were outside eating lunch when I arrived. The Wine Director, Stefano, was so pleasant and I tasted everything from their rosato, chardonnay, chianti classico as well as their chianti classico riserva, super tuscan and finished with Vin Santo. They were all very enjoyable. 
My favorite really was the 2009 Vigneto Odoardo Beccari, which is their Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva that was a blend of 90% sangiovese and 10% canaiolo. It takes the workers two weeks with 10 people to harvest. In Stefano's opinion 2007 and 2008 were the best vintages. They produce about 80,000 bottles a year. The winemaker stopped in briefly, but since this was harvest season she was a busy lady. You can view further information on my blog about Vignavecchia.

Castellare di Castellina

Another winery I visited this past October in the Chianti Classico region, that is more well known, was Castellare di Castellina in the town of Castellina. This winery has received a number of awards for their wines. I entered a small tasting area to taste the wines. Here my favorite was the 2008 I Sodi di San Niccolo, which is their super tuscan, but I had tried all of their chianti classicos and chianti classico riservas.
After the tasting I was fortunate to watch the workers putting the newly picked clusters through the destemmer and the juice and grapes were being shot through a tube to the tanks. This winery has 30 workers during the harvest time and it takes them about 6-7 weeks to finish picking their grapes. They make about 200,000 bottles and 85% of their production comes from sangiovese grapes. You can view further information on my blog about Castellare di Castellina.


Of course there are many more wineries I could discuss, but I tried to mention some of the ones where I had an enjoyable experience. When I open some of my bottles that I still have from this list I will absolutely share them with you on my blog, Vino Travels. I would love to hear of your favorites from this region so drop me a note.

Question of the Day: If you've visited wineries in Tuscany, what are some of your favorites? If not, which wineries would you want to visit based on their reputation and your experience enjoying their wines?

Many thanks to Jen for this post!

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