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