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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Many thanks to Jen for this post!