The oldest official wine region in Italy, which celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2016, is a verdant, undulating land from time immortal wedged between the historic and stunningly beautiful warring cities of Florence and Siena. It was Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who on September 24, 1716, legally classified some of Chianti’s key winemaking hotspots, delimiting the land around the village of Radda, Gaiole, Castellina and Greve. The rest is the stuff of legend.
Much has happened in the region ever since and our wine tours in Chianti will reveal the differences today between DOC and DOCG and even DOCG Classico, the latter whose wines are sealed with a black rooster (Gallo Nero in Italian). Sitting at the top of the Classico pyramid since 2014 is the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione category, which must be made exclusively from a winery’s own grapes and aged for a minimum of 30 months, compared to 24 months for the Classico Reserva.
The best Chianti wine tours take you directly to the pulsating heart of Chianti and to get there our guides will take you on walking tours through the vineyards that typically lie between 200 and 400 metres above sea level to discover the secrets and nuances of each place of growth. The Sangiovese grape with its lively acidity, red fruit, earthy and floral notes forms the backbone of the Chianti blend, and must account for at least 70% of Chianti DOCG and 80% of Classico DOCG, but Chianti is far from a one grape show. This historic region is drawing on the past to shape its future as the local grapes of Canaiolo and Colorino are making a comeback to add spice and weight to the Chianti blend, as are certain French grape varieties. The white wine grapes of Trebbiano and Malvasia Toscano also continue to be used by some winemakers to freshen up the final blend.
Our Chianti wine tour will also reveal that the region is not a place to dwell on its illustrious past and that it has embraced the modern world. Not only have international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah become part of the Chianti blend, local winemakers are experimenting with French oak, as an alternative to the classic Slavonian oak botti, in order to add more layers and fine tune the unique taste of Chianti.
Tour the seven sub regions of Chianti, which are sufficiently inland from the coast to be quite continental, taking in Classico, Colli Arentini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano and Ruffina to soak up the subtle differences. A trip to the cooler climes of Ruffina, situated northeast of Florence, where the wines are delightfully elegant and focussed, is a great way to round off a wine tour.
Chianti is an ancient land strewn with old villas and vineyards where the past meets the present and the food is almost as important as the wine itself. Our super Chianti wine tour will also put local cuisine under the spotlight as our guides show you how to match the best wine with delectable local dishes, such as the melt in your mouth Bistecca alla Fiorentina, made from the Chianna cattle, a local breed that’s white in colour and almost as old as those green hills. We will also help guide your palates and help you to appreciate the complexity of Chianti wine, which is a sum of a number of unique elements from grape varieties to the different vineyard sites.
Contact our local travel expert for more exciting tailor-made wine tours in the beautiful wine region of Chianti.