Every autumn, the annual grape harvest, or vendemmia, sets Italy ablaze – a landscape alive with the burnished yellows and oranges of changing leaves, and the fiery activity of wine making. The country’s artisan vintners toil day and night to create full-bodied reds and delicate whites, sparkling creations and unforgettable specialties that balance the perfect combination of tradition and flavour.
We love Italian wine, and we love even more sharing it with our guests. Here are a few of our favourite wine routes through Italy:
Chianti Wine Region
Tuscany is one of the most famous (and scenic) wine areas in the world, making Chianti a famous region within a famous region. Its eponymous wine, Chianti Classico, is crafted from 80% Sangiovese red grapes and 20% other local reds, among them Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colorino and Canaiolo.
Chianti’s grapevine roots run deep. Vineyards dot the countryside, where you’ll spot wineries and farms, wine cellars and hilltop restaurants. On your wine tour through Chianti, don’t miss stops in Greve and Panzano, two of the best bases for further explorations of the region’s wineries. And speaking of, three of our must-visits: Castello di Ama, Castello di Volpaia, and Fontodi.
Montalcino Wine Region
One of Tuscany’s famed (and unbelievably beautiful) hill towns, Montalcino is also home to one of the region’s most beloved wines: the long-aged, robust Brunello di Montalcino. This favourite wine is one of the world’s most sought-after – dense and rich, with full body, thanks to the warm, dry growing conditions that yield an alcohol content of 14% or more.
Of course, a wine tour isn’t just about the wines: you’re here for the scenery, too. And as a part of Tuscany, Montalcino has some spectacular sights. Rural landscapes are the backdrop to area wine tours, which weave through picturesque villages that lie just beyond the Chianti region. While here, be sure to pair a glass with one of Tuscany’s hearty dishes, like thick ragù.
Valdarno Wine Region
Valdarno di Sopra (sometimes, “Val d'Arno di Sopra”), which sweeps from eastern Tuscany’s Arno Valley, through Pietraviva and Pratomagno, was first introduced as a region in 2011.
Here, gentle hills are covered in grapes of many varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Sangiovese and Syrah, expertly fermented into red, white and rosé wines, including sparkling wines and a sweet white variant on passito.
Bolgheri Wine Region
Cool sea breezes and rich, fertile soils nourish Tuscany’s most traditional grape – the famous sangiovese – as well as other beloved varietals, including cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, cabernet franc and merlot, which form the cornerstones of Bordeaux wines.
Today, the Bolgheri region spans some 2,650 acres and several dozen wineries. We can’t get enough, but when we visit the region we’re always sure to stop at: Michele Satta vini, Argentiera, and Grattamacco.
Hidden Wineries Region
Seasoned wine lovers are always looking for something new, and you simply cannot miss out on Italy’s lesser known wineries. We share our list of favourites with all our winery tour guests, but to whet your palate here’s three of our top picks: the Isole e Olena Estate, the Fattoria Monsanto Winery, and the I Balzini Winery.