There is a lot to say about Tuscan wines. After all, Tuscany is where some of the world’s most renowned wines come from: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (all made by the king of grapes, the Sangiovese).
Depending on the region’s grapes, wines are divided into DOC, DOCG or Super Tuscan (outside the DOC and DOCG regulations), or even IGT (Identificazione Geografica Tipica), which are wines that do not meet the DOC and DOCG requirements.
The area of Maremma, a very extensive area in the south-west of Tuscany near the sea, is becoming very popular for wine-making. As recently as 1990, no wine producers would invest in Maremma because they thought that the influence of the sea and the high amount of sunlight would do no good to the vines. But now they believe the opposite, and many producers, like Antinori, Frescobaldi and the Mazzei, are making special wines in this area.
If you’re interested in wine tasting in Tuscany, here are some of my favourite wineries and vineyards in Maremma and beyond…
Monteregio is one of the three regions in Maremma where DOC wine is produced. The first winery I would like to suggest is the Conti di San Bonifacio wine resort, which is located 1 hour 20 minutes from Siena, not far from the beautiful Massa Marittima and only 20 minutes from the coast. The wine is some of the best of the region and the estate is stunning. The property promotes events such as live jazz music, special wine tastings and dinners in the open air.
Another winery in the Monteregio area is Tenuta Casteani, which is 1 hour 20 minutes from Siena. They have a restaurant which is open 3 days a week for a wine-tasting dinner. This is a bio winery, producing wine with no added sulphites.
Another one of my favourites is La Cura, located in the high part of the Maremma on the Tyrrhenian coast. They have excellent ‘Passito’ wine and also excellent red wines called Il Predicatore. It is a small winery, hard to find if you don’t know it’s there! They produce Maremma Toscana DOC and Monteregio or Massa Marittima wines.
Rocca di Frassinello was designed by Renzo Piano and opened in 2007, spread out across 500 hectares of land with 90 hectares of planted vineyards. Their wines are divided into 50 percent Italian and 50 percent French wines, as the winery is an Italian-French joint venture. They sometimes host classical music concerts in their cellar, which are fantastic.
Le Mortelle estate is located very close to the sea and it has belonged to the Antinori family since 1999. The family were convinced that the area had a very significant potential for the production of high-quality wines – and they were right! The cellar here has a cylindrical structure and is very unique. They produce wine as well as fruit, vegetables, organic jam and marmalade. They offer aperitif every Friday from 7pm to 9pm.
Azienda Monteverro is nestled below the medieval village of Capalbio. By appointment, you can visit the vineyard and the art cellar with wine tasting. It’s open between 10am and 1pm.
Morellino di Scansano
The Morellino di Scansano has become very popular in the last few years and I have to say that I prefer it to Chianti! Mantellassi is one of the largest Morellino wine producers. The owners, Aleardo and Giuseppe Mantellassi, have contributed to making the Morellino a DOC wine. They are located near Magliano in Toscana (1 hour 35 minutes from Siena) with breathtaking views of Monte Argentario and Giglio Island.
The owners of Col di Bacche bought 15 hectares of land in 1997 to create a winery in an area not yet discovered. The area is mainly used for the production of Morellino, which passed from DOC to DOCG after the 2007 grape harvest. The winery is near Magliano in Toscana.
Tenuta Ammiraglia is one of the latest additions of the Frescobaldi family. It is located in the heart of Maremma, close to Magliano near the Tyrrhenian coast, with splendid views across Porto Santo Stefano.
Montecucco (near Brunello di Montalcino)
Il Civettaio has received several prizes and excellent reviews. It is located near the Brunello di Montalcino area. The owner is Gregorio, a noble Austro-Hungarian – but the winery is anything but fancy, and in fact is rather rural, with the focus purely on the excellent wines (as it should be!). It is ideal for wine tasting and dinner, with organic products from the farm. Il Civettaio is 52 kilometres south of Siena, near Paganico on the dual carriageway to Grosseto.
Other Tuscan wineries to try
There are many other wineries in Tuscany that I could talk about, but today I’ll just focus on a few of my favourites (as you can tell, I love wine!)…
Fattoria Poggio Alloro offers the most amazing views of San Gimignano (five kilometres away). In the restaurant, they serve delicious food accompanied by Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine and great service.
Il Cellese – they have a fantastic wine cellar near Poggibonsi where you can have a private lunch or dinner.
Poggio Rubino in Montalcino has excellent wines and fantastic views.
Col d’Orcia in Montalcino boasts the best Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, aged for a full four years in oak barrels. The bottles are then kept in the cellar for at least a year before being sold.
Avignonesi has an excellent wine tour and also a restaurant that’s open for lunch. It’s located near Montepulciano.
Uccelliera – hand-picked grapes and great care from the owner make this a very special Brunello di Montalcino winery. The property itself is like a postcard!
Mastrojanni – the owner of Illy Caffe’ owns this historical estate which produces excellent Brunello di Montalcino wine.
I hope I’ve tempted you to try out some of Tuscany’s fantastic wineries, particularly in Maremma, which I think is a bit of an undiscovered gem.