A Florence wine tasting tour could start with sipping a lighter style of Chianti DOCG wine made in the hills close to the city limits in charmingly rustic hole-in-the-wall establishments tucked away down the city’s narrow streets.
It could end with savouring the finest and most complex wine that Tuscany and Italy has to offer at the most sophisticated Enoteca. Of course, there are also plenty of exciting wines in store in between.
The best wine tasting in Florence takes in a range of the highlights of Tuscan wine, which is as varied as it is vast. A great way to kick off a Florence wine tasting is with the wines produced closest to city itself, in order to immerse yourself in the immediate terroir. These come from the Colli Fiorentini, which are the Florentine Hills that overlook this remarkable Renaissance city. Colli Fiorentini wines are typically light to medium bodied, fruity, easy drinking and flow freely down in the city, often as the house wine in Florentine restaurants or are quaffed in the local bars. The best wines are considered good enough to achieve Chianti DOCG status. The vineyards have clay soils with some limestone in places and are low lying and south-facing. Like in the rest of the Chianti DOCGs, the wine is based on Sangiovese, whose expressive but sometimes edgy character can be smoothened out and spiced up with the addition of local grapes, such as Canaiolo and Colorino, and/or beefed up by the inclusion of some of the Bordeaux varieties, especially Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
Wines from two other regions made in close proximity to Florence can also be considered Florentine. These are Carmignano, just 20km northwest of the city, and Rufina which is located around 30km to the city’s east. Both were recognised as being among 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, including the land around the villages of Greve, Radda, Gaiole and Castellina, to effectively create Chianti Classico – Italy’s and quite possibly the world’s first official wine region.
The vineyards of Chianti Classico, which are quite close to Florence and just a short drive down the ‘Strada del Chianti’, are nevertheless more readily associated with Siena, Florence’s rival city-state from back in the day. Despite this, the wines of Chianti Classico should feature prominently in wine tastings in Florence. The same is true of the predominantly Bordeaux-style Super Tuscan wines made out on the coast in Bolgheri. Indeed, there are a huge amount of options for wine tasting near Florence as some of the greatest wines and wine regions in Italy, and indeed the world, come into play.
A Florence wine tasting dinner is a great option for combining the areas excellent wine with local gastronomy. Florence 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. Many food halls around the globe are seeking to create what comes naturally here. 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.
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