Dick Calabro

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Tuscany Wines

  • Tuscany Wines

    Tuscany, as regards wines, has no equal the world over, thanks to a most felicitous nature, and to a civilization of the grapevine and of wine that has been decanted and refined over the centuries.
    Zeffito Cuiffoletti - Historian

    Tuscany holds a rich history of viticulture. Its rolling hills and Mediterranean climate provide the perfect spot for the production of good quality wines and during the last decade it has become known as the nation’s most creative producer. Tuscany also holds world recognition for its red wines, the majority of which come from the Sangiovese grape vines. These wines are generally spicy, with good acid levels, smooth texture and medium body.

    The most exclusive Sangiovese wine is Brunello di Montalcino, a high quality selected wine from a fortress town south of Siena. It is one of Italy’s most expensive wines and is now issued under more than a hundred different labels. This wine is produced solely from the Sangiovese grapevine and takes at least 10 years to reach maturity. Other Sangiovese wines are of course the famous Chianti and Chianti Classico. Although Sangiovese is their major grape, unlike Brunello di Montalcino, these wines also contain a small amount (between 10 and 15%) of Carbernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grapes

    Chianti Classico comes from the famous land of vineyards that lie between Florence and Siena, with the towns of Greve, Radda and Castellina forming a triangle in the very heart of the Chianti area. Most of these wines belong to the Classico’s marketing consortium and bear the ‘Gallo Nero’ symbol that means ‘black rooster’. This gives the guarantee of a true bottle of Chianti Classico. Two kinds of Chianti Classico are available, these are known as ‘Standard’ and ‘Riserva’. Standard Chainti Classico is labelled with a Gallo Nero surrounded by a red border, whereas Riserva Chianti Classico is labelled with a Gallo Nero surrounded by a gold border. This is produced from some of the finest grapes and gives a minimum of 27 months aging to provide an additional full-bodied flavour.

    Many of the Chianti wines also hold the DOC/DOCG (Dominazione di Origine Controllato/ Dominazione di Origine Controllato e Guarantita) status. This is an Italian quality assurance label that was introduced in 1963 by the Italian government and amended in 1992 by the EU law for the Protected Designation of Origin. In order to meet the DOC/DOCG requirements wines must be produced within the specified region using defined methods and must also qualify a defined quality standard.
    Other important Sangiovese based red wines that hold the DOC/DOCG status include Tignanello and Sassicaia, whose prices and popularity are not too far behind those of Brunello di Montalcino. Others also include Montepulciano, Montalcino, Bolgheri, Carmignano and Maremma.

    Since the 1970’s a gradual emergence of more modern wines made from international grape varieties, together with the use of French ‘barriques’ or barrels, has led to what are now known as the ‘Super Tuscans’. Grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were introduced and mixed with the classic Sangiovese to produce other high quality wines but at a much lower cost due to the modern techniques used. Super Tuscan wines initially emerged following the abuse of ‘big names’ in Italian wine and the unsuccessful attempt at DOC/DOCG laws to restrict the damage that the abuse was causing to its reputation for high quality wines. These ‘avant garde’ methods however did not fit the new DOC/DOCG laws and the wines were forced to take the humble label of ‘Vini da Tavola’, known in England as basic ‘House Wine’. However, over time these wines have gained the reputation as being some of the finest ever made in Italy and their prices are well above those charged for the Vini da Tavola.

    Other than the popular reds, Tuscany also produces a small amount of white wines. The majority, however, have not enjoyed the prestige of the reds because until relevantly recently they were all produced from the workaday Trebbiano grape and tend to have quite a dull taste. An exception being Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which is produced from the Vernaccia grape, a well made crisp and dry white, one of the first whites to be awarded the DOC status. Nowadays however there are many other good whites produced in Tuscany, including the international variety of Chardonnays, Sauvignons, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio, together with more traditional whites such as Pomino and Vin Santo.

    And last.. but certainly not least comes the Grappa! Grappa or ‘grape stalk’ is a grape based pommice brandy (between 37.5% and 60% alcohol) made from pommace of the grape seeds, stalks and stems that are left over from winemaking after pressing. Often known as the by-product of Italian wine it can either be taken on its own or added as a ‘shot’ to an espresso coffee. It’s generally taken after meals to aid digestion so if feel the need for a ‘digestivo’ following that rich Tuscan meal you can always try a little Grappa!

  • Join the Vendemmia

    During the autumn period you can of course, also share the great Tuscan grape harvest with the locals. The Vendemmia is a great cultural event in which the winegrowers celebrate the hard work they have put into the crops by meeting, eating and most importantly tasting each other’s wines! The Vendemmia generally occurs in September, however the exact time changes year after year depending upon the climate and the related maturity of the grapes.
    If you want to personally experience the Vendemmia the best way is to join the grape pickers for a day. The harvest begins at sunrise! Hard work is however generally rewarded by a generous lunch of prosciutto ham, cheeses and of course, Tuscan wine.

    There are also many vineyards throughout Tuscany that offer guided tours and wine tasting. Click here for further information:
    www.to-tuscany.com/local-tuscany/things-to-do/wine-tasting-in-tuscany/

Experience an official tuscany tour with

Renaissance Florence Walking Tour

See the great Renaissance treasures of Florence on this 2.5-hour walking tour. With an expert guide, visit the Piazza della Signoria to gaze at the Palazzo Vecchio and replica of Michelangelo’s 'David' sculpture, and admire the exteriors of the Duomo, Baptistry, Ponte Vecchio bridge and more. Stop on route for a culinary tasting and discover the crafts neighbourhood of Oltrarno, all as your guide tells fascinating stories of the artists, rulers and life of the Renaissance-era city.



Numbers are limited to 25 people on this small-group tour for a more personalized experience.

from 28,01 US Dollar

Medieval Florence Evening Walking Tour

Discover the sights and stories of medieval Florence – a time of scandal and intrigue – and see the city’s showstopping attractions alongside lesser-known ‘palazzos’ on a 2-hour evening walking tour. Hear of the Medici family dynasty who ruled the city for centuries and learn of the fierce political rivalries and love stories that set medieval tongues wagging. Your tour includes sites like Palazzo di Bianca Cappello, as well as the Ponte Vecchio and Piazza Signoria, before finishing up at one of the city’s best gelaterias!

from 30,47 US Dollar

Dan Brown 'Inferno' Tour of Florence

Follow the trail of Dan Brown’s 2013 ‘Inferno’ novel on a half-day walking tour, led by an expert local guide! The international bestseller, based on Dante Alighieri’s ‘Divine Comedy,’ is set in Florence and several city attractions feature in the book’s mysterious plot. Hear stories of the main character, code-cracking Harvard professor Robert Langdon, and visit key sites like Palazzo Vecchio’s secret passageways and the Baptistry of Florence. If you are eager to see more, upgrade to a full-day tour and enjoy a skip-the-line tour of the Uffizi Gallery and Vasari Corridor, too.

Bonus ticket! Both tours also include a combination entrance ticket for independent access to several top Florence attractions after the tour: Opera del Duomo Museum, Crypt of Santa Reparata, Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s Bell Tower.

from 77,3 US Dollar

Handmade Italian Pasta Cooking Course in Florence

Follow ancient Italian traditions and learn the art of pasta making on this half day hands-on cooking workshop in Florence. After the hard work is done, toast your fellow budding chefs with local wine, while feasting on your pasta creations!

Enjoy personal attention from your expert chefs on this small-group, limited to 12 people.

from 59,38 US Dollar
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