Tag Archives: Tuscany

Ultimate Tuscany: Top 10 Wineries

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AntinoriWinery3

Filippo Bartolotta give us his insight into his top 10 Tuscan Wineries.

Tuscany is in the heart of Italy and is the epitome of perfect wine country.
The gentle rolling hills are planted with hectars of vineyards, as you drive through the region you pass medieval castles, wild forests, pilgrim trails and ruins of ancient churches. On the coast streets lined with 400 year old cyprus trees lead you to medieval hamlets.

In Tuscany wine making is an age-old tradition and the wineries are mainly family run with passion for their history and tradition blending in with a new generation of innovation and ingenuity.

First on Filippo’s list of top 10 Tuscan Wineries to visit is Antinori Chianti Classico.

Just 20 kilometers from Florence is the newest addition to the Antinori Brand.  Opened in 2012 after 7 years of construction, built out of all locally sourced material, the winery is state of the art.  It is a working winery which also hosts a wine museum, book shop, art collection and wine bar with tasting rooms.

Next on his list is Castello di Ama the hamlet and it’s vineyards and olive groves and 12th century castle have been lovingly restored and renovated by Lorenza Sebasi and Marco Pallanti.  The owners of Castello di Ama ‘the castle of love’ who are passionate not only about wine and extra virgin olive oil, but also contemprary art. Since 1990 they have been commissioning artists to create personal artworks for Castello di Ama, with permanent contemporary art installations by Anish Kapoor, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Kendell Geers, Daniel Buren and many  more.

Next up is Castello di Nipozzano, the most celebrated and historic property of the Frescobaldi family.  The wine estate dates back to 1855 when the cultivation of varieties previously unknown to Tuscany such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlo and Cabernet Franc were planted.  Nipozzano is the real thing: a true working farm, and a big one at that with more than 600ha, including olive trees and an on-site olive press. Chianina and Angus cows can be seen roaming free in the fields.

Cappezzana is next on Filippo’s list – just a few miles from Florence towards Prato.  Capezzana is one of the oldest wine estates in Tuscany producing wine in Carmignano since 804 A.D. Since 1920 the estate has been run by the Contini Bonacossi family.  The newest addition being the wine bar ‘La Vinsantaia’ where guests can enjoy informal wine tasting as well as food.  In summer you can see Florence’s Duomo from the tasting terrace!

In 2011 Salcheto became the first self sufficient winery in Europe.  Most of it’s energy comes from renewable sources and recycled winery materials.  Salcheto is also a certified organic winery. Their motto is Salcheto is… Sangiovese, Quality and Sustainability.  Overlooking the own of Montepulciano it is one of Tuscany’s most beautiful wineries.

Tours include an insight into the incredible technology in place and a tasting is likely to make you a firm believer in both high-tech and green principles.

Badia a Coltibuono is an old montestary from the 11th century in perfect condition.  The old crypt where the monks once had their cellar is now where the Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico is aged in big oak casks.  With guided tours of the abbey, which include the Italian style garden, the frescoed hall, the ageing cellars, and wine tastings their organic wines a visit to Badia a Coltibuono is guaranteed to be a pleasurable one.

Sassicaia – Tenuta San Guido

Tenuta San Guido is located on the Tuscan coast in the area of Maremma.  It was here that Italy’s first vine cuttings of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon were planted by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta in 1944.  He originally intended to make wine only for his own personal use.  The first vintage to be commercialised was the 1968 vintage.  Sassicaia is the first Super Tuscan wine and has it’s own appellation, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC which started with the 1994 vintage.

Livernano and Casalvento

Bob and Gudrun Cuillo run the Livernano and Casalvento estates with passion and

In 1997 Bob Cuillo (a serial entrepreneur born in the Bronx, New York has a knack of turning everything he touches to gold) bought Casalvento a property in the heart of Chianti Classico and soon afterwards the neighbouring estate of Livernano which he and his wife Gudrun lovingly  restored  along with the Liverano village turning it into a country resort with restaurant.  Along with award winning wines they also produce olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Biondi Santi – Tenuta il Greppo

Tenuta Greppo, is nestled in the hillside of Montalcino in Val D’Orcia, the estate is more than a century old and being run by the fifth generation of the Biondi Santi family. The first Brunello di Montalcino was bottled here in 1888.  Visiting this estate is like taking a step into Brunello history, where a cellar tour will include seeing the barrel used to store the world’s first Brunello.

Castiglion del Bosco

The hamlet of Castiglione del Bosco was built in 1100 in the heart of the Orcia Valley, which in 1972 became a UNESCO World Heitage site. Castiglion del Bosco is one of the founding members of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino and organisation created as a voluntary association of producers who regulate and control the quality of Brunello production, it is also among the first Italian wines to be granted DOC and DOCG status. A new cellar was built in 2004 with a capacity of 3,000 hectolitres. Castiglion del Bosco also boasts a beautiful 18 hole golf course designed by the legendary winner of the British Open, Tom Weiskopf

top 10 tuscan wineries 2

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Spa Break and Wine Tasting in Tuscany

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What better way to relax than to combine a Spa break in the Tuscan countryside with a wine tour of local Tuscan wineries.

Where can I find a Hotel with Spa in Tuscany?

Castello del Nero

Just 35 minutes from Florence airport is Castello del Nero in the town of Tavernelle Val di Pesa, in the heart of the Chianti Wine region this 5 star luxury hotel is a 12th century castle converted into a Leading Hotel of the World Hotel with ESPA Spa and outdoor Vitality Pool.

Grotta Giusti 

Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort  is situated in Monsummano Terme, north west of Florence. The early nineteenth century villa, now a prestigious 4 star Hotel.

Grotta Giusti has its very own thermal Grotto and new open-air thermal swimming pool.

Villa La Borghetta

Set on a beautiful Tuscan hillside between Florence and Arezzo is four star Villa La Borghetta Resort. The villa dates back to the 14th century. It has a beautiful spa with views over the olive groves and outdoor pool and jacuzzi.

Palazzo Leopoldo

In the heart of Chianti is the picturesque town of Radda in Chianti is four Star Palazzo Leopoldo, which is a historic hotel within the Medieval City Walls.  It was the Manor House of the Minucci family in the 1800s. It has a wellness centre, sun terrace and indoor heated swimming pool.

CDH Hotel Radda

CDH Hotel Radda is a 4 star hotel which has modern Tuscan-style features with stone facades and terracotta floors.  Pure relaxation is the underlying theme of the hotel with a indoor Health Centre and outdoor pool with beautiful views over the Chianti hills.

Villa Campomaggio

4 star Villa Campomaggio is an 18th-century nobile villa stands amid the Chianti hills surrounded by vineyards and woods.  The spa was converted from the old cellars and the outdoor pool has a breathtaking outlook on Chianti vineyards.

Castello di Casole

5 star luxury Castello di Casole lies west of Siena, recently restored Castle that dates back to the year 998, in the heart of a vast and vibrant country estate has a mesmerizing spa and state of the art fitness centre, with outdoor heated infinity pool.

Adler Thermae

5 star Spa Hotel Adler Thermae, near Montalcino is one of Italy’s leading wellness hotels.

Discover thermal baths in Tuscany and reap the benefits that thermal spring water has to offer. With indoor and outdoor heated pools plus exclusive spa treatments with thermal water from the thermal springs of Bagno Vignoni.

Tuscan Wine Tour with Silvia

Enjoy a day of wine tasting on a Tuscan Wine Tour with Silvia, your English-speaking driver and wine expert.

Silvia is a Tuscan native who holds a degree in Italian History, a Diploma from the Italian Sommelier Guild and a license for private chauffeuring.

Silvia has a strong passion for Tuscany and Tuscan wine, which she will share with you on your Tuscan Wine Tour.  Start your day visiting a charming village in Chianti with time to shop for local specialties and handicrafts. You will then visit a fine winery, in a historic villa or castle where you  will taste the winery’s current releases and visit the ancient cellars where you will be introduced to the world of wine and wine-making.

By this time you’ll be ready for a tasty lunch at the winery overlooking the countryside, or in a very good local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you will visit another excellent family-run winery. Now you will begin to

understand the range of aromas and flavors that Tuscan wines have to offer and recognize the incredible subtleties and differences.

Return to your Spa Hotel with new knowledge of Tuscan wine, ready to relax at the hotel with a spa treatment or a glass of wine by the pool reflecting on your Tuscan wine tour experience.

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Chocolate and Truffles- what’s the difference?

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A lot of people think of chocolate when we mention a truffle hunting tour. What? Chocolate hunting? Well, some truffles are of chocolate nature but REAL truffles are actually a savory mushroom-like fungus that grows underground in the forest! Here are some quick facts about truffles:

*They spore near trees in the wild forests more notably in the regions of Tuscany, Piedmont and Abruzzo.

* Truffles range in cost from $250 to $600 a POUND. Truffles in some cases are bought and sold at auctions. May the highest bidder do the truffle shuffle.

* They are used widely in Meditteranean cuisine and are most commonly enjoyed in Italy on fresh pasta or in an egg frittata.

* Truffles, are in fact, a FUNGUS. Not a tuber but they resemble the texture of a tuber so hence why a lot of confusion is made in the culinary world.

* There are 2 most common varieties: Black and White. The Black varieties grown in the spring and summer and are the most affordable variety. Be careful when purchasing white truffle products- white truffles are scarce and very expensive- I doubt a food manufacturer can really produce a €10 jar of white truffle sauce without cutting corners and adding artificial flavorings.

How come chocolate is now confused at the mention of truffles in Italy? Well, chocolate truffles are round balls filled with a smooth center. Therefore, the name derives from the usual shape they take as the word ‘truffle’ derives from the Latin word tuber, meaning “swelling” or “lump”, which later became what we call today “truffle.” This could be another reason why truffle fungi are mistaken for tubers.

Interested in tasting the real thing? Le Baccanti Tours offers chocolate tasting tours in Florence, Turin and Bologna. Le Baccanti Tours also organizes truffle tasting activities throughout Italy, most notably in Truffle Hunt Tours in Tuscany, Alba and Piedmont. Contact us today to receive a quote for your next gourmet vacation in Italy.

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Top 5 Michelin starred restaurants in Tuscany Italy

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The Michelin guide is a series of annual guide travel books that have been in production for over 100 years, and the guide is followed more notably for high quality restaurants and are a trusted go-to for seekers of authentic fine dining. Stars are given to only a select few fine dining restaurants to what is termed “Michelin starred restaurants.” There are several factors which the panel for the Michelin guide abide by when assigning stars to restaurants. The chefs have to have an immaculate history in culinary technique and providing the best experience possible to diners of high profile. A gain or loss of a Michelin start can either dramatically improve or crush the success of any restaurant involved. When traveling to Italy, most travelers prefer the consistency and guarantee of dining at a Michelin starred restaurant but also seek the pampering luxury involved in the experience. When choosing a Michelin starred restaurant in Italy, you are guaranteed exquisite cuisine from the country’s finest chefs and a mind-boggling selection of the country’s greatest wines ever produced in their very prestigious and safe guarded wine cellars. If you are looking where the best restaurants are for unforgettable cuisine and truly special wines, here are the top 5 Michelin starred restaurants we have tried, sent our clients to and highly recommend in Tuscany Italy:

from google

TAVARNELLE VAL DI PESA

1. Osteria di Passignano (1 star)

A elegant mix of modern and traditional Tuscan cuisine. This Michellin starred restaurant has the luxury of an enchanting location that overlooks the Chianti countryside. Osteria di Passignano is ideal in Spring, Summer and early Fall so you can dine outside on their lovely terrace. Located beside a historical abbey and church to explore after your meal. On site there are late nineteenth-century cellars of the Marquises of Antinori- the most renowned wine producers of nobility in Tuscan history.

Address: Via Passignano, 33, 50028 Tavarnelle Val di Pesa (Florence) Phone:055 807 1278

FLORENCE

2. Enoteca Pinchiorri (3 stars)

One of Florence‘s temples of gourmet dining conveniently located in the historical center, this elegant Michelin starred restaurant is most renowned for its legendary wine list ideal for all Italian wine enthusiasts traveling to Florence. The chef specializes in modern Tuscan cuisine and the regional products serve as the inspiration for Enoteca Pinchiorri’s highly skillful, imaginative and innovative cuisine.

Address: Via Ghibellina 87 I – 50122 Florence, Italy Phone 055242777  E-mail: ristorante@enotecapinchiorri.com website: http://www.enotecapinchiorri.com

from google

3. Il Palagio (1 star)

Il Palagio is a classic Tuscan Michelin starred restaurant located at The Four Seasons hotel in Florence. Il Palagio is addorned with majestic chandeliers of this high-vaulted ceiling palace-like restaurant housed in the old Palazzo della Gherardesca. The venue prides itself in high-end, attentive service, as well as deliciously eclectic cuisine created by the talented chef Vito Mollica. This chef is also a dear professional friend of Le Baccanti and our wine expert Filippo Bartolotta, so we guarantee also their fine wine selection.

Address: Borgo Pinti 99 I – 50121 Florence, Italy Phone +300552626450 E-mail firenze@fourseasons.com Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/florence

4. Ora D’Aria (1 star)

Ora d’Aria offers a modern, creative spin on Tuscan cuisine with Michelin starred status. The young Tuscan chef at this restaurant expresses his expertise acquired in some of the Tuscany’s most famous restaurants. He makes full use of Tuscany‘s local and seasonal products, delighting diners with exceptional flavors of the land. The menu is well respected for its specialties in selection of fish and game dishes. The lunch menù and tasting menù are quite affordable for every level of traveler desiring a Michelin starred dining experience in Florence, Italy.

Address: Via de’ Georgofili 11/13 r I – 50122 Florence, Italy. Phone 0552001699 E-mail prenotazioni@oradariaristorante.com Website: http://www.oradariaristorante.com

LIVORNO

Chef Zazzeri with Le Baccanti on the road in America

5. La Pineta (1 star)

Also a Le Baccanti favorite as we have a very good rapport with the chef Luciano Zazzeri. We have travelled with Zazzeri to do Italy at Your Table events in the U.S. at very prestigious locations including The Metropolitan Museum in New York! La Pineta is located on the seafront and has an unprecedented fine reputation in seafood with a stunning view on the Livorno coast along with unforgettable wines. Perfect for those traveling to the Super Tuscan Wine region and to Livorno. If you are looking to take a Super Tuscan Wine Tour, contact us to book you in at La Pineta.

Address Via dei Cavalleggeri Nord 27 I – 57020 Marina di Bibbona Phone +390586600016 E-mail ristorantelapineta@hotmail.it NO WEBSITE

Traveling to Tuscany and looking for a unique vacation? Contact us– we can plan every detail for the highest quality Italian vacation imaginable.

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