Wine tours in Florence, Italy, begin in the heart of the beautiful Renaissance city itself with so many wine bars and other options to choose from. Wine tours in Florence take in everything ranging from charmingly rustic hole-in-the-wall establishments tucked away down the city’s narrow streets and serving cheap and cheerful Chianti, as well as basic but delicious local delicacies, to the most sophisticated Enoteca that offer a spectacular on-the-spot Tuscan and Italian wine tour.
Florence truly makes the most of its proximity to Chianti and the rest of Tuscany, which can be seen in the scintillating selection served on the first floor at the wine and food lover paradise of the Mercato Centrale Firenze. This delightful addition to Florence’s food and wine scene was opened in 2014, marking the 140th anniversary of the Giuseppe Mengoni-designed market that’s made out of iron and glass. Incidentally, Mengoni was also responsible for Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. The flavour frenzy that is the Mercato Central goes from 10am until midnight.
At Wine Paths, our team of local experts organize exciting and varied wine tours from Florence. Florence wine tours truly begin in close proximity to the city in Carmignano, just 20km northwest of the city, and Rufina which is located around 30km to the east. These wine tours from Florence, Italy, take wine lovers nicely off-the-beaten-track, making Florence wine tours cheap compared to some of the other vinous Tuscan destinations. Other wine tours near Florence include Chianti Classico, or Brunello di Montalcino with its own distinct clone of Sangiovese, or the Super Tuscan epicentre of Bolgheri on the coast.
Carmignano is a compact region occupying the eastern slopes of Monte Albano, close to the confluence of the Arno and Ombrone rivers. It was recognised as being one of Tuscany’s prime winemaking areas by Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who on September 24, 1716, legally classified some of Tuscany’s Chianti’s key winemaking hotspots. It has been a DOCG since 1990, with some 120 hectares afforded that status. The vines are typically located on east-facing sites at lower altitudes than Chianti Classico but while the resulting wine is ripe and round with robust tannins, the wine usually retains sufficiently vibrant acidity thanks to the more northern latitude.
Carmignano has a long history with Cabernet Sauvignon, which imparts a rich chocolaty note on the wine, and can provide up to 20% of the blend, as can Cabernet Franc. Sangiovese only has to contribute a minimum of 50%, allowing for a more varied blend than Sangiovese-dominated Chianti Classico, for example. Canaiolo can account for an upper limit of 20%, while up to 10% can come from any of Canaiolo Bianco, Malvasia, and Trebbiano.
Rufina, a sub-zone of Chianti DOCG with more of a continental climate and prized limestone and clay soils, is highly rated for its refined take on Sangiovese, which manifests itself in focused and aromatic, yet full wines with zesty acidity and cool, lively aromas. Chianti Rufina, which is a hilly area with vineyards planted at up to 500 metres above sea level, is to many the best of the seven sub-zones outside of Chianti Classico itself. Rufina is sometimes 100% Sangiovese and the grape must make up at least three-quarters of the wine. The rest can be made up of the resurgent local Canaiolo and Colorino grape varieties, and/or Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
While Carmignano and Rufina may make for the best wine tours in Florence, Italy, well-made reds with good drinkability that are often served as the house wine in Florentine restaurants, can also be found in Colli Fiorentini, which are the hills around Florence. Wine tours near Florence, Italy, include Chianti Classico, which is a short drive south down Superstrada 222, otherwise nicknamed the ‘Strada del Chianti’.
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