Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events

Vino Con Vista | Traveler

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Love Italian Travel - Tuscany Wine Touring

A close-up view of sangiovese grapes to be mad...Image via WikipediaWho has not heard about Tuscany? Its capital Florence is a living work of art, whose relatively small historic center contains far too many sites to list here. Where else you can find world-class jewelry in shops lining a bridge as they have been for centuries on the Ponte Vecchio? You might be surprised that Bistecca all Fiorentina, the local beefsteak, is excellent. Enjoy it with a Chianti or other fine Tuscan wine. Tuscany is a lot more than Florence. You may want to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa and visit the partially walled city of Lucca, home to 99 churches. Or visit Florence's historic rival, Siena, which has retained its medieval flavor. Its Piazza del Campo is one of Italy's finest squares. Make sure to see the Palio, a historic horserace pitting the city's 17 neighborhoods against one another every July 2 and August 16. The Renaissance village of Montepulciano is best known for its Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOC. Go to Saturnia to see some Etruscan and pre-Etruscan tombs. There's a whole lot more to see, for example, the region of Chianti.

What about the wine? Virtually everywhere you turn in rural Tuscany somebody is making fine wine. Most of it is red, but there are some great whites as well. Tuscany is home to Super Tuscans, wines that defied traditional wine making practices and regulations. They aren't allowed to carry Italy's fine wine designations. Many of these wines sell for much more than $100 a bottle, so successful producers are laughing all the way to the bank.

Sangiovese is the most widely planted red grape in Tuscany. It's the heart of Chianti DOCG (with and without the Classico refering to the traditional Chianti region), Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, and many others. Don't be confused; many Super Tuscans contain Sangiovese and sometimes no other grapes. Other quite common Tuscan red varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The whites are simpler. The most common are Trebbiano, especially Trebbiano Toscano, and Vermentino. The famous Tuscan sweet wine Vino Santo is made from white grapes.

Companies that sell Tuscany wine tours include Prime Italy, Select Italy, and Alabaster and Clark Wine Tours Worldwide. Tuscany wineries that provide visits include Antinori in Firenze now in the agriturismo business, Avignonesi in Montepulciano, the organic winery Badia a Coltibuono in Gaiole in Chianti which offers a restaurant and lodgings, Barone Ricasoli in Gaiole in Chianti, and Ruffino in Pontassieve to name but a few. A few words of warning are in order. Be sure to check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English is spoken. Some of these places may charge admission; others may expect that you buy some of their products.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but he prefers drinking fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and people. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website which includes information on Italian wine and food.

Enhanced by Zemanta