A Guide to Chianti for Wine Lovers

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Image source: antinori.it

Chianti Per Gli Amanti Del Vino:  A Guide to Chianti for Wine Lovers

Chianti is one of the most famous regions of Tuscany and is sure to be top of any wine fanatic’s list of destinations when visiting Italy. The borders of Chianti are not specifically defined but generally it lies between the regions of Florence and Siena and stretches as far as the Valdarno to the east and the Val d’Elsa to the west.  Every year thousands of tourists flock to Chianti - whether they are wine lovers or not - and with so much beauty and adventure packed into a small area, it won’t just be the wine that knocks you back. The history of wine making in Chianti can be traced back to before Roman times. Historians know that the Etruscans not only cultivated their own vines but created wines that were well received throughout the region. So whether you’re crazy about Chianti Classico or you like to rage about Rufina, how do you make sure that you don’t miss out on anything?

Plan your route
If you are going to get the most out your holiday, you will need to travel around. Using a Tuscan villa as your base is a great idea as you will be closer to most of the vine yards that provide the beautiful backdrop to this region. Hiring a car is a great way to cover as much ground as possible but if you are planning on really taking advantage of the delicious wines on offer then you may have to alternate the driving duties. Alternatively, you could let somebody else do the driving and take buses between the towns and villages. Do some research before you get out there though. Some of the wine tours may need to be booked in advance and it’s also best to check when certain vineyards will be open to the public.

So…where to start?
There are so many vineyards in Chianti that it is impossible to see them all. You will have the chance to experience a true taste of Tuscany through products from vineyards that are small, big, old and new so you will need to earmark a few before you set out. The town of Greve offers the perfect place to start as it is known as the gateway of Chianti. Here you will find various wineries that will allow you to sample their products as well as plenty of wine bars and shops that let you do the same. One highlight of these has to be Le Cantine which has hundreds of different wines to whet your whistle. On the outskirts of Greve are two other places that are definitely worth a look. The Castello di Vicchiomaggio is home to over 100 hectares of grape vines and offers custom made tours of the grounds. Similarly, the Castello di Verrazzano will give you the chance to experience a variety of different tasting tours of their cellars. If by now you have had your fill of Chianti Classico then why not head to the Val de Sieve for a sample of Chianti’s wonderful Rufina. This valley will even give you a helping hand on your journey of discovery by highlighting its many vineyards with signs that read ‘Strade Del Vino di Toscana’.

An overflowing glass
In truth, Chianti offers far too much for the wine lover to see and do in one trip alone. This region will leave you wanting more and there will always be something to bring you back. The examples above are just the tip of the grape vine and therefore to really appreciate this beautiful area you may have to make Chianti an annual retreat. So why not rebook your Tuscan villa for next year and refill your glass again and again?

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