Being from California and living in wine country (Sonoma), we are always interested in tasting new wines, especially from other terroirs. We had very little familiarity with Italian wines, however, and were looking forward to learning about them first hand.
We booked a tour with Tuscany in a Bottle, a wine shop that offers tours and was walking distance from our HomeAway. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine while waiting for the other eight guests. Then we set out in a small van for a picturesque drive through the Tuscan countryside.
Our first stop was at Montevechhio in Tavernelle Val di Pesa, about 25 km south of Florence. There we learned that Chianti is the region, not the name of the grape (as we had always thought)–Sangiovese is the grape from which Chianti is pressed and Chianti Classico is the premium version of that wine. After tasting three of their Chiantis (and buying one), we moved on to Fattoria de Casa Sola.
Casa Sola, situated in Barberino di Val d’Elsa, was the most beautiful property we visited, with expansive views and charming Tuscan landscaping and buildings. (I later learned that they offer agritourism as well, with lodging in several apartments in two renovated buildings on the property.) They featured Chiantis also.
From there our final stop was a food/wine tasting at nearby Casa Elsa, also in Barberino de Val d’Elsa. We were offered tastings of red, rose, and white wines, along with a selection of gourmet appetizers. (We loved the rose and bought a bottle of that.) A great ending to a very lovely day.
NEXT: Our last two days in Florence / On to Venice