If you find yourself staring at the unpronounceable labels in the supermarket wine aisle with anxiety, confusion and just a hint of mistrust, fear not. We’ve created an Oliver’s Travels guide to the finest wines in Tuscany, helping you base your next decision on taste, heritage and quality – as opposed to ‘the one with the cute animal logo.’ Simply select your very favourite friends and head to one of our luxury villas in Tuscany for a private wine tasting weekend that’s certain to involve the three classic wines we’ve thoughtfully listed for you below:
Combining fine wine with those easily identifiable animal logos, you can pick out a ‘Chianti Classico’ by the black rooster seal on the neck of the bottle. Made with a carefully prescribed blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and a few other permitted grapes, these wines are ruby red, rich and ripe-tasting, with floral top notes. To really treat your palate, seek out a few bottles of Chianti Classico Riserva – an even more elite classification – and savour them on the terrace of the Villa Cresine while enjoying the panoramic views of this celebrated wine region.
Sangiovese and friends
The Sangiovese grape is used in several different wines, including the famed Chianti, but two lesser-known gems have to be Carmignano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, originating from vineyards just south and north of the Chianti region respectively. Montepulciano’s dry, slightly tannic taste is not dissimilar to Chianti, but will hold its own against slightly more robust foods such as beef and game. Carmignano offers a softer taste with an enticing aroma of almonds.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano
For anyone who prefers their whites to their reds, it will come as a relief that Tuscany’s ‘biancos’ are overshadowed rather than non-existent. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a particularly well-regarded varietal, with a characteristic bitter finish that makes it particularly refreshing on hot summer afternoons. The producing region is centred northwest of Siena, adjacent to the Chianti zone, so it’s easy to enjoy the best of both worlds by basing your party just a few kilometres from the town of San Gimignano in the picturesque Lorenzo Village.
And now that you’ve learned the tricks, there are another 19 wine regions to explore in Italy and about 350 Italian wine varieties to taste. To make your experience more authentic stay in one of our villas in Italy, get all the perks of splashing in your own private pool, make your own barbecue.(Photo credit: Lead image via Tuscanycious on Flickr)