Of course Italy is synonomous with wine and the beauty of it is that in addition to enjoying incredible wines, you can also experience stunning landscapes, beautiful art, rich history and of course, delicious food. Welcome to our tour of some of the well known and lesser known wine regions of Italy and the wonderful places to visit when you need a break from tasting wine (what?!?). (please note that we are not wine experts, just wine lovers. To me, that is enough)
These subregions of Tuscany have a unique microclimate due to its proximity to the sea lending a very high mineral content to the soil. Though not as commonly known as the big wines of Chianti, they produce impressive and prestigious wines such as Ornellaia and Sassicaia. If you have never tried these, I urge you to splurge and enjoy. You can visit the Ornellaia estate for a guided wine tour or a very exclusive wine and art tour (only 10 of these tours are given per year). Another gorgeous vineyard in the area is Petra - the cantina was designed by Mario Botta, the architect of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His modern structure rises up from the vineyards in a stunning fashion. You can tour and taste here as well and then continue on to the lovely town of Suvereto. For an exceptional hotel experience, stay at L’Andana a country manor that makes you feel like you are dashing away from Florence to your country estate. Space out your wine tastings with trips to beach on the Tuscan Coast (Cala Violina is particularly beautiful) a day trip to to the island of Elba and visits to Etrucsan ruins in Tarquinia. You will leave asking yourself why you did not come to this part of Tuscany before.
This area in the region of Lombardy and province of Brescia remains unspoiled by tourism and big business. It was largely occupied by religious orders for centuries but even before that, wine was produced in the territory thanks to a mild winter, hot summer and regular winds blowing off the nearby Lake Iseo. In Franciacorta they produce sparkling wine in the champenoise method and was the first Italian sparkling wine to receive the DOCG classification. Franciacorta is a wonderful stop if you are exploring northern Italy. Stay a night or two at L’Alberta, the sister hotel of L’Andana. You may be able to arrange a tour or tasting at their vineyard, Bellavista. In addition to the many producers in the area, don’t miss Lake Iseo, the town of Brescia, orignally a Roman city and also the start of the annual Mille Miglia classic car rally. We can also connect you with a company that rents classic cars for the day - there is no better way to explore.
While the big wines of Piedmont (Barolo, Barberesco) are no secret to the world, Piedmont is a largely undiscovered place for many. Certainly the Olympics in Torino provided some exposure but for anyone who is looking for an over the top, authentic food and wine experience, Piedmont is the place to go. Fabulous cities like Alba, Asti, Bra and Cuneo are interesting in their own right but when you add their devotion to the culinary arts, it is easy to fall in love. I recommend staying at some of the agriturismi in the area - they are unique and full of charm and serve incredible farm to table meals. Hike the Barolo trail, enjoy grappa tastings, explore the museums and architecture of Turin. This is a trip you will not soon forget.
For information on these and other wine regions of Italy, contact me.