Chianti is an area in the centre of Tuscany that stretches between Florence, Arezzo and Siena, famous all over the world for the beauty of its landscape and the excellence of its wines. A tour through the hills of Chianti, visiting typical villages that have remained unchanged for centuries, and stopping to taste the local wines is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have during a holiday.
Historically, the heart of Chianti is called Chianti Classico and includes only 9 municipalities between Florence and Siena, among which Gaiole, Greve, Castellina and Radda all have the "in Chianti" designation, as well as Tavarnelle, Barberino and San Casciano Val di Pesa. The wines produced in this area can boast the symbol of the Black Rooster.
Chianti wine is available both as inexpensive table wines, and in more prized versions such as Chianti Classico Riserva or Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. That's why you'll find bottles of Chianti for sale for a few euros, and also expensive, more valuable bottles. In both wine bars and restaurants, you can taste excellent Tuscan wines of great variety. Although it's true that Sangiovese is the basis of the Chianti Classico, every Tuscan winery proposes its own recipe.
The best way to get to know and appreciate the Chianti region is to visit a winery and be told the story of both the producer and the wines. Often they are very fascinating stories that go hand in hand with passion, dedication and abundant wine expertise.
So, which wineries should you visit in Chianti? Out of the best wineries in the Chianti area we'll mention four, all within 30/40 km of our Camping Village and therefore reachable in less than an hour by car:
The Cantina (winery) of the Antinori Marquises in Bargino, in Chianti Classico, is very beautiful from an architectural point of view. Designed by a famous Italian architect, with a helical structure with a high visual impact, it offers the opportunity to experience various types of guided tours, of varying depth, combined with tastings of some of its famous wines.
Photo credits Antinori
Today, Antinori, with a history of over 6 centuries, is a winery that produces many varieties of wine in various areas of Tuscany (and beyond). At the end of the visit, you can also eat in the panoramic restaurant overlooking the vineyards.
Imagine being able to enter a 1256 castle, visit its ancient frescoed rooms, the old underground cellar and an ancient theatre from 1700, and at the end of the itinerary, taste some of the wines produced on the premises in Gaiole in Chianti, which extends for over 1000 hectares.
Photo credits Meleto Castle
You can't leave Chianti without visiting the Brolio Castle, owned by the Ricasoli family for 32 generations! It was Baron Bettino Ricasoli who "invented" the Chianti recipe in 1872.
Photo Credits Brolio Castle
Today, Brolio Castle offers various guided tours in several languages: a visit of the gardens plus tastings, a 2-hour classic tour to discover all about this important winery, or a tour of the vineyards with a tasting of Cru wines. In summer you can also choose the sunset tour with a dinner with accompanying wines.
Albola Castle is located in Radda in Chianti (a short distance from us, less than half an hour!).
A small village in the middle of the Chianti Classico hills, which since 1400 has been passed down among the noble Florentine and Tuscan families. Today, it produces excellent wines, good enough to win prizes and valued recognition. You can discover them with a tasting in the wine bar which is open every day (in multiple languages).
Photo Credits Albola Castle
Some of these companies have been included in the routes of the Strada dei Castelli del Chianti: 6 different itineraries that include the main wineries, historically represented by castles and medieval villages. You will find many others, some private, others open to the public for guided tours of the wineries and tastings. Our advice is also to follow the charm of the names or the emotion of the moment, wherever you go will be a very exciting experience!
Chianti is a full-bodied red wine, which goes well with Tuscan cuisine, especially with the meat that accompanies it, such as Florentine steak, wild boar, pork...
In particular, the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is suitable for game, mature cheeses, stews and braised meats. While a good vintage Chianti will go well with white meats, soups and even ethnic food!
On the wine list in any typical trattoria, you'll find a list of the best Chianti wines, sorted by price range or vineyard. Some places are equipped to offer tastings by the glass, giving you the pleasure of tasting more types in combination with individual dishes.
The important thing is that the glass is a proper wine glass, a so-called tulip, and that the bottle has been opened for a bit before drinking to allow the wine to acquire fragrance as it oxygenates.
In addition to Chianti, Tuscany boasts other exceptional products in the world of wine. It's impossible not to mention:
Brunello di Montalcino, produced in the area around the town of the same name, it is among other things, very pleasant to visit. The village of Montalcino is in fact a must-see stop in Valdorcia, with its medieval atmosphere, the fortress, the monuments and the Jazz & Wine festival that takes place in the summer.
The Supertuscans, or those wines that do not fall under the DOC and DOCG designations, which use international vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Merlot, in addition to or as an alternative to those typical of the Tuscan territory. These are wines that can achieve very high prices and are known all over the world. Among the most famous, we mention Sassicaia, Tignanello, Masseto and Ornellaia.
Vernaccia, a white wine produced mainly in the area around San Gimignano, it was even mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy! Fresh and fragrant, it is ideal for warm summer evenings!
Stay with us at Norcenni Girasole Village in the heart of Tuscany, and book a Chianti winery tour!
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