Since the glorious concoction of wine was discovered as early as the 9th century BC, people have been captivated by its fullness or body, to have with bubbles or without and simply, its bouquet. Scores of tracts of lands have been dedicated to the cultivation of the perfect grape and generations of families have thus been committed to tending those vines. The families who have taken custodianship of these vineyards throughout the renowned, Italian wine region of Tuscany are no exception to the legacy laid down behind them. Here’s our choice for 8 of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful vineyards to visit in Tuscany…
Castello di Ama
Ama takes its name from an agricultural hamlet, which five centuries ago was the hub of a farming and winemaking business overseen by a group of local families. Castello DI AMA was founded in the 1970s by a group of families who had fallen under the spell of this magical spot. They set themselves the task of reviving Ama’s past glories and of producing a Chianti Classico that would rank among the world’s most prestigious wines. Guided tours of the winery introduce visitors to the inner workings of this leading Chianti estate along with some of the surrounding history, including the ancient chapels in the village of Ama and the 18th-century Pianigiani and Ricucci villas. A visit to the vineyard will highlight that the essence of a wine is not just the making but also the surroundings.
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Poggio Antico is evidence that behind truly great winemaking is a combination of dedicated people, respect for nature and beautiful landscapes. The development of the estate began in the late 1970s and the construction of the extensive wine cellar began. The enchanting beauty of this particular area of Tuscany is the perfect setting for the creation of the sumptuous wines that come from this vineyard. With an ethos founded on high quality and a commitment to flavour, it is no wonder that the people behind Poggio Antico have created one of the most delicious wines to come out of the region.
Castiglion del Bosco
Nestled against the side of a hill, almost completely out of sight, the new wine cellar of the Castiglion del Bosco vineyard, coaxes the best from the grapes, while expert eyes, further select the finest fruit to go into their renowned bottles of wine. In order to experience all that Castiglion del Bosco has to offer, you can visit their vineyard for an extensive guided tour but if that seems a little too far away, you can always sign up to their wine club and join their global Wine Friend community.
Astonishingly the vines at Carmignano have been cultivated since the pre-Roman era since then the wine-making industry of the area went from strength to strength with famous names including; Medici, Biscotti and de Rothchild all having a hand in its success. With the Contini Bonacossi currently at the helm, it is no wonder that the vineyard produces some of the world’s best wines, steeped in history and heritage, it’s no wonder they taste so sweet.
Poggio al Casone
The Poggio al Casone vineyard has been the source of repeated renovations, firstly in the 1960s by Sarti- the inventor of the Vespa engine and then by the Castellani family, who turned the estate into one of the most famous ones on the Chianti coast. The estate has developed such a significant reputation that it also hosts the experimental vineyards of the University of Pisa which are dedicated to the research and preservation of local vine varieties. But the family are not keeping the secret of their success under wraps, visitors can indulge in cooking classes, wine harvesting, tasting sessions and most interestingly, yoga among the vines. Thus creating an experience for mind, body, and spirit!
Founded in 1978 by two American brothers, John and Henry Mariani who had a goal to create a state-of-the-art winery built around the most advanced science and the production of premium quality wines. The vineyard continues to innovate, moving with the times in terms of sustainability and eco-consumerism as well as developing a micro-winery to exalt the wealth of the grape selection. The Banfi estate is completely open to the public and guided tours are conducted every day to showcase their wares.
Using the old adage “terroir talks, we listen” as their philosophy, the people behind the Avignonesi vineyard are committed to producing top class wines that rival any in their area. They strive to create a natural link between the grapevine and its environment, this way the resulting yield draws force from the living soil giving it its unique fullness. But why take our word for it? Why not visit one of their three wine bars- Avini in Antwerp or Negozio Classico in London, before embarking on a guided tour of the vineyard in sunny Tuscany.
Today, Brolio Castle is the largest winery in the Chianti Classico area. This is the very place, surrounded by 1,200 hectares of woods, hills, and valleys, Baron Bettino Ricasoli invented the Chianti formula in 1872. Over 200 hectares of vineyards produce the grapes for the famous bottles of Chianti that we so regularly see across our dinner table. To experience the creation of the famous formula, you can visit the vineyard and take a guided tour through the extensive grounds, however, if you have a special interest, a tailor-made tour can be developed specially for you.
Where to stay in Tuscany
I stayed at the wonderful Laticastelli Country Relais. Nestled in the heart of the Tuscan hills, it’s a place that has been thought, designed and built to allow your dreams to become reality – a place to forget about stress and daily routine.
Its location is an enchanted medieval village perched on the heights of a hill where every morning you can wake up, open your windows in front of one of the most captivating and oil-painting esque scenes imaginable. At the top of the villa, you will find a large-flowered garden to relax and enjoy the views, tinting the eyes of the colors of the Tuscan sunset. Walking down the left side, a stop to pamper the palate is almost obligatory, in the La Taverna Toscana restaurant, where from the terrace you can enjoy equally sublime views, then end up at the pool, a viewpoint that leaves the guest breathless!
Relaxing corners and open-air spaces where you can socialize and communicate, entertain yourself and get acquainted with the many cultures that blend in this place – a true Tuscan gem!
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