Harvest Season is here
This Italian region is home to some of the best and oldest wineries worldwide and since September is the month of harvesting, “vendemmia” in Italian, it seems like the best time to visit them.
The wine-making business is engraved in the Tuscan people’s culture and tradition, resulting in many amazing wines and wineries. Considered the Tuscan red wine par excellence, Chianti Classico is made in the area between Florence and Siena, where several wineries grow the Sangiovese grape variety, some of which have received world recognition. Antinori nel Chianti Classico, the famous Marchesi Antinori winery inaugurated in 2012, is the number one vineyard in the world (World Best Vineyard-50 Best 2022) and one of the most exclusive and luxurious experiences you could ever have, according to CNN Elite Escapes-Best 5 in the World. On the other hand, Ricasoli Winery was established at Brolio Castle, one of the oldest estates with 900 years and counting. In that same castle, in 1872, Baron Bettino Ricasoli invented the formula for the Chianti Classico still used today. Another worth mentioning is the Mazzei family winery, Castello di Fonterutoli, together with Antinori nel Chianti Classico are part of the Toscana Wine Architecture as sustainable wineries created by notorious architects.
Although renowned, Chianti is not the only Sangiovese-based wine. Between Siena and Grosseto, the notorious Brunello di Montalcino, together with Rosso di Montalcino, is made. Compared to Chianti, the Brunello is aged for at least three years; this process allows the wine to acquire a certain aftertaste such as black cherry, vanilla, and spices. Furthermore, the grapes for Brunello are grown in southern Tuscany, where the weather is a little warmer, and the soil has limestone, which affects its flavor.
The Colombini family has owned land in Montalcino since 1352, and the Fattoria dei Barbi since the end of the 18th century. In its historical cellar are preserved the oldest Montalcino bottles from the 1870s till the present day, being the most complete wine collection in Italy.
Talking about history, the Biondi-Santi family is the original creator of Brunello; in fact, at Tenuta Greppo, it was selected the Sangiovese grape clone from which it originated. Other honorable mentions are Castello Banfi in Poggio alle Mura and Castello Tricerchi in Val d’Orcia.
The Morellino di Scansano DOCG is another signature Tuscan red wine, just younger, as someone may say. It is made with 85% Sangiovese grape, plus other black grape varieties such as Alicante, Ciliegiolo, Malvasia Nera, Merlot, or Montepulciano, and produced in the Maremma, in the Province of Grosseto. It is a cool wine with black fruits, marasca cherry, and plum scent. The best Morellino di Scansano is produced by Fattoria dei Barbi and by Frescobaldi. The Frescobaldi family is a Tuscan wine dynasty that includes not only vintners but also explorers, literates, politicians, and bishops. There are many documents stating that, in the XV and XVI centuries, the Frescobaldi were the official wine dealers of the English monarchy and of the Pope. The Frescobaldi wineries are scattered around Tuscany and many of them offer comprehensive tours, tastings, and private events.
Tenuta San Guido is a staple in the production of Bolgheri Sassicaia. When Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, agriculture laureate and wine aficionado, married Clarice Della Gherardesca in the 1930s, one of the most ancient Tuscan families, he acquired some land in Bolgheri and started to experiment, planting different grape varieties. The first Sassicaia bottle was sold on the market in 1968 and immediately became a success. This particular wine is produced only by Tenuta San Guido; it is a red ruby wine mainly made with French grapes like Cabernet and Sauvignon with chocolate, tobacco, leather, and sweet spices scent. Although the Incisa della Rocchetta has exclusivity in the making of Sassicaia, the same cannot be said for Bolgheri DOC wine. Tenuta Guado al Tasso and Ornellaia, respectively owned by the Antinori and Frescobaldi, are some of the best wineries that produce it.
Of course, there are many other wineries, each with its own history and character, as well as more incredible wines, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or the Carmignano for example, that are not contained in this text only for cohesion purposes but that you are more than welcome to discover; after all, it’s harvesting season.