Tag Archives: Wine Tours

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

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4 things to do in Piedmont

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Piedmont is an very important Italian region for the food and wine world yet that has been undervalued by the travel world! In a way, this is a blessing for those wanting to escape the droves of tour buses and groups jam packed into Italy’s major destinations like Rome, Venice and Florence. Not only that, Piedmont is an ideal region to visit if you are a food and wine lover. The best cities to visit in Piedmont are Alba, Turin, Barolo and Bra. If you are planning a trip to Italy, consider Piedmont! Here is what we recommend for things to do in Piedmont:

1. Alba- tap into your inner hunter with a truffle hunt!

Sure, to the uninitiated truffle may just be a foul tuber, but to the gourmand, it represents the ultimate in gastronomic delights. Some would say it has the fragrance of the gods. Although found in France, northern Spain and other parts of Italy, the region around Alba is considered the quintessential truffle capital. It’s also the economic bellwether that determines the official price of truffles worldwide. Its method of discovery adds to the mystique.  A truffle hunt takes you through the the woods exploring with a truffle expert and their truffle hunting dog. Sniffing through the misty woods of Piedmont, the truffle-hunting dog will suddenly dig her paws into the crunchy soil to find a true gastronomic treasure: a large walnut-sized white truffle. At the end of a truffle hunt you’ll learn how to analyze truffles from a technical point of view, as true gourmand tasters do. You’ll learn more about the white truffle, how to use it, how to taste it, and how to preserve it. Totally a must do experience for active, nature loving Italian food lovers!

2. Love chocolate? Visit Turin’s historic chocolate producers!

If you are a chocolate lover, discover “chocolatropolis” Turin: a city of authentic Italian food culture. Visit some of the major points of interest during your trip to Turin and don’t miss captivating Baroque masterpieces like Piazza San Carlo, the Cupola del Guarini, the Royal Palace and Piazza Castello. Remember to stop and smell the flowers by taking a break in an historical caffè and experience Turin’s most traditional coffee: made just for chocolate lovers called “bicerin”, as well as some excellent confections, gelato and pastries. Turin will delight you with Baroque palaces, workshops, bakeries and confectioners.

3. Had enough food? Go on a Barolo wine tour and taste Italy’s finest wines!

Barolo wine is the undisputed king of Italian red wines. Both of the most celebrated Piedmont reds, Barolo and Barbaresco, are made from the Nebbiolo grape that yields deeply perfumed, mid-weight, wines with good aging potential. Among the other noteworthy Piedmont wines are the incisive, vibrant Barbera and the softer, lusher Dolcetto. The best wines of this area were made famous by Marc de Grazia’s “Selection of Fine Wines from The Great Crus Of Italy”, among many others Scavino, Cavallotto, Clerico, Altare and Molino. Whether you are a wine lover, collector or simply a wine drinker, a Barolo wine tour is a great activity to do when visiting Piedmont.

4. Cheese and Beer lover? Visit Bra!

Discover the best cheese in Italy when you visit Bra! The city is very small and very easy to reach by train from Turin. In the historical center part of town, there are plenty of gastronomic deli shops open to the public where you can explore all the different cheeses of the region and taste the ones that look curious to you! In addition to being a great destination for tasting artisan cheese in Piedmont, there is a huge craft beer movement happening in Piedmont and what better way to compliment your cheese tasting in Bra than with a visit to a very tasty brew pub!  (called “birreria” in Italian.) During September, there is the annual slow cheese festival organized by the Slow Food Movement which is a candyland of cheese, beer and wine tastings! In any case, Fall is the quite possibly the best time to visit Piedmont so why not plan it around a cheese festival!

Are these options not enough? Contact the expert travel staff at Le Baccanti to learn more about how you can have the Italian gourmet vacation of your dreams!

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Top 3 Beach Holidays in Italy

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Italy is one of the top destinations for beach holidays, for locals and tourists alike. Locals flee to the coast to escape the heat from the mainland and to work up that amazing Mediterranean glow while the rest of us are fleeing for a once in a lifetime vacation of blue sky, sea and fine sand with fabulous food and wine to match. There are so many beaches to choose from in Italy and any of these three regions are home to the world’s most gorgeous shores.

1. The Amalfi Coast

With a truly panoramic coast, windy hills, perfect warm sunny weather and plenty of free and private beaches- the Amalfi is a no-brainer when it comes to planning your beach holiday in Italy. The most noted city for luxury beach holidays on this end of the Italian coast is Positano. It is very easy to travel here and many options for private sunbathing as well as a slew of choices if you would like to indulge in the country’s best wine. If you are coming to Amalfi, we highly recommend on of our top requested wine tours of the Amalfi Coast. Just in case you need a break from all the sunbathing and beach for a day sipping wine and eating delicious southern Italian cuisine.

2. Tuscany

Tuscany is known for its lush green rolling hills and Chianti wine country, but did you know it has some of the country’s best beaches too? The Livorno coast aka the Tuscan Riviera is home to some very top pristine beaches with perfectly fined white sand, carved reefs and cliffs dotted with Etruscan castles. A great beach on the Southern coast of Tuscany is Castiglioncello. A perfect 5 day stay at Castiglioncello should include a wine tour in Bolgheri of Super Tuscan wines where you will tour the beautiful southern Tuscan wine region, meet the world’s most esteemed wine producers and enjoy a gourmet luxury lunch on a terrace overlooking the sea.

3. Sicily

With its rich history, Greek ruins and artifacts, gorgeous culinary arts and of course mind blowing wine, Sicily has a lot to offer also in terms of beach holidays. Spend a day near Taoromina to visit Lido Mazzaro and treat yourself to a wine tour of Etna to discover wines that have been transformed by rich volcanic soil that is unlike any other juice you will taste on the rest of the peninsula. If you are looking for something even more exclusive, we suggest the Aeolian Islands where you will be surprised to find exotic black sand beaches.

Le Baccanti Tours is a luxury travel company located in Tuscany, Italy. We have been specializing in gourmet food, wine and cultural tours of Italy for over 10 years.Please see our website www.lebaccanti.com for more information on how to book your next trip to Italy with us!

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