To enjoy a wine tour on your own, bring along a lot of time and a little sense of adventure. In a world full of deadlines and schedules, enjoy the freedom of not having an itinerary. Now and then, take some small diversions from the main road to some minor ones. Just do what you feel like and let your curiosity guide you through the landscape to see how the Chianti countryside looks behind the next hill.
Don’t look on the map or in guide books, but be guided by your intuition and go with your flow. I’ll bet you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy the scenery; the hills, carved in the Tuscan soil, get more form thanks to the shadows cast by the morning sun. Adore the olive groves, vineyards, lumps of cypresses, sheep or cattle grazing in the fields. Sometimes stop for a wine-tasting and half an hour rest outside at one of the small agriturismos or local wineries. Here, you can hope that the day never ends.
Wine Tour through Etruscany
Let one of your wine trips lead you to Chianti, the area in which the precursor of the Chianti Classico wine has been produced for centuries. This part of Tuscany is bordered to the north by the suburbs of Florence, to the east by the Chianti mountains, to the south by the city of Siena and to the west by the valleys of the Pesa and Elsa rivers. The area is traversed by the Chiantigiana main road.
This is a land of ancient traditions, that was civilized long ago. First by the Etruscans, who left many traces of their activity in the wine sector, and then by the Romans. The first notarial document, in which the name Chianti appears with reference to the wine produced in the zone, dates back to 1398. In the 17th century, export to England became increasingly frequent and from the end of the 19th century, Chianti Classico wine has steadily increased in popularity among wine lovers and thereby assured the prosperity and well-being of the region.
The Black Rooster of Chianti
In the Chianti Classico region, the black rooster – Gallo Nero – is the symbol of the wine cultivation consortium that strives to enhance the quality of the Chianti Classico wine and can be seen all over the landscape and in advertisements, indicating that the vineyard and the wine is of Chianti Classico standard.
And the difference between a Chianti and a Chianti Classico, you might ask? Well, a regular Chianti has an alcohol percentage of 11.5 and yields a maximum output of 9.000 kilos of grapes per hectare. A Chianti Classico must attain an alcohol percentage of at least 12 while the maximum output of grapes per hectare is limited to just 7.500 kilos. For a wine to retain the name of Chianti, it must be produced with at least 80% Sangiovese grapes.
To enjoy a Chianti Classico wine in its natural habitat, we can recommend a trip to Poggio Casciano, a part of the Ruffino wineries. The estate is located a little south of Florence and offers wine tours to both individuals and groups. A tour with tasting includes an excursion to the vineyards around the estate, a visit to the vinification cellar and a tour to the antique ageing cellars with an introduction to vinification techniques. After exploring the private collection of antique prints of the wine god Bacchus, the tour ends with a tasting of 5 wines.
Wine capital of Chianti
To embark on a Wine Tour through Chianti, just follow the Chiantigiana (SR 222), a 60 km road connecting Siena to Florence and one of the most beautiful driving routes in Italy, passing through a varied landscape and lush vineyards producing the world-famous Chianti Classico.
A great opportunity to taste different Chianti wines, is to head for the wine capital of Chianti; Greve in Chianti and step down into the charming wine cellar Enoteca Falorni, where you can try (a lot of!) different wines, not only from the Chianti region but other Super Tuscans as well. Enjoy their mouth-watering taglieri, a cutting board full of charcuterie and cheese, together with your favourite wine and spend a wonderful afternoon in the presence of some of the best wines in the world.
- Chianti Classico Official website
- Chianti.com tourism website
- Download the Chianti App!
- Enoteca Falorni in Greve di Chianti
- International Drivers Association Driving Guide to Italy