There are numerous reasons as to why should one include wine tour itinerary while in Europe. For me, it is the best excuse to get drunk in broad daylight that too with strangers!
We visited the famous Chianti hills in Florence with Grape Tours. Since we were touring Italy in cold February, the only available tour was their ‘Winter Wine tour’, however, throughout the year they do conduct other fun tours which are customized upon request. They have a small office in Florence just alongside the beautiful River Arno, where everyone meets and tour begins. During the ride up the hills David and his wife shared the history of Florence and its wine culture. We learnt quite some important facts about the place and some tips on enjoying the stay in Florence.
First, we went to Corzano e Paterno which is a fine wine and olive farm halfway between Florence and Sienna. We tasted about 4-5 different reds, whites and rose produced at the farm and tried some delicious cheese pairings. The farmhouse has a dairy run maintained by owner’s wife and has excellent cheese collection. We bought few wines as a token of our visit.
Our next stop was in Querceto di Castellina winery in the hills of Chianti. The winery has a beautiful vineyard and produces around 4-5 different reds some named after the women of the family – Laura & Livia. The granny of the family (fondly called Nana) cooked sumptuous meal for us comprising of lasagna and cheesecake. We finished off in style with shots of homemade Limoncello and bought few bottles as well.
Chianti region is hilly and full of beautiful colours, producing some of the best wines and olive oil in the world. It is certainly a surprise that the vineyards have maintained the old production techniques, while the government is also doing its bit by making the appellations strong. There is a definite feel of old and new world merging and people seemed to simply enjoy their lives.
For people travelling to Florence, we would recommend going on one of these tours to delve in the history of Italian winemaking.
Do write to us for any itinerary planning or wine tour related advise. Below are the website of the tour operator and the wineries we visited.
Grape Tours http://www.tuscan-wine-tours.com/ (great folks!)
Corzano e Paterno http://www.corzanoepaterno.com/
Querceto di Castellina http://www.querceto.com/querceto_en.php
Wine tour is the best excuse to get drunk in the day. ~Wine & Whims