Wine Tasting in Tuscany: The Best Tuscan Wine Regions & How to Get There

October 15, 2013

Want to enjoy a wine tasting in Tuscany? Good choice! Tuscany is one of the world’s best destinations for wine-lovers: from Sassicaia to Chianti, not only are the reds, whites and dessert wines top-notch, but with their rolling hills and verdant landscapes, the Tuscan vineyards alone are breathtaking, too.

Where are the best places to try Tuscan wines? Here are our favorite regions and vineyards for wine tasting in Tuscany (plus what to know about planning a wine tasting or tour)!

Our favorite wine regions in Tuscany

Wine in Tuscany Italy

Sassicaia, a classic wine from Tuscany. Photo by Megan Mallen

Tuscany produces so many top-notch wines, figuring out where to go for wine tastings can be a little overwhelming. Here are some of our favorite wine regions to help you get started!

Bolgheri: Super Tuscan lovers: Look no further than Bolgheri, right off the Tuscan coast. This area boasts mouthwatering, full-bodied wines made from sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah grapes. Bolgheri Sassicaia, one of the world’s most sought-after and expensive wines, is made with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.

For those who enjoy white wine, an acidic and fruity vermentino can also be found in many of the area’s wineries.

Chianti: As one of the most well-known Italian wines, and one of the first wines ever to be exported, Chianti is a must-try in Tuscany. Chianti vineyards are spread throughout Tuscany, but to we recommend visiting the wineries in the heart of the Chianti region.

In particular, head to Greve in Chianti, located less than an hour from Florence, for beautiful castles and miles of vineyards that change color along with the seasons. Here’s where to taste chianti classico, the famous medium-bodied red wine with undertones of cherry and nuts, made with 80 percent sangiovese grapes.

Montalcino: For the full sangiovese experience, head to the town of Montalcino. That’s where you can taste the world-famous Brunello di Montalcino—the only wine made entirely of the lightweight, acidic grape. Just remember that this full-bodied wine will cost you: It’s expensive (and delicious) not only because of its pure composition, but also because of its four-year aging process.

Other wines from the area include Rosso di Montalcino, and Moscadello, a sweet wine made from moscato grapes.

Montepulciano: The city center of Montepulciano is home to gorgeous renaissance churches and towers. For wine-lovers, though, Montepulciano’s real attraction is its Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a dry, full-bodied red.

Montepulciano, a beautiful Tuscan town known for its Vino Nobile

The hill town of Montepulciano… and, below, its famous wine

No one’s sure why Vino Nobile, or “noble wine,” got its name—but many believe that, for a long time, it was the only drink served to the nobles of the area. Here’s what we do know: The historic wine is made from dry prugnolo gentile grapes—a variation of Sangiovese—with red grapes added (up to 20 percent), and then aged in oak barrels. Oh, and it’s delicious.

For a lighter (and less expensive) wine, try the Rosso di Montepulciano.

San Gimignano: The vineyards outside of San Gimignano, one of Tuscany’s most-visited towns, are home to vernaccia. Thought to be Italy’s first white wine, vernaccia is known for its golden hue and floral notes. The area is also known for San Gimignano Rosso and Chianti Colli Senesi (both red), San Gimignano Rosato (rosé) and Vin Santo (a dessert wine, often paired with cantucci, or crumbly biscuits, as a classic Tuscan dessert).

How to get to a wine tasting  in Tuscany

Just one of the region's many gorgeous vineyards to explore

Just one of the region’s many gorgeous vineyards to explore

The wine regions above are located less than two hours from Florence or Siena, so they can be visited either as a day trip or overnight stay. But remember that buses and trains aren’t always well-connected to the countryside, where many wineries are located, so we recommend renting a car.

Don’t want to drive yourself (or deal with planning an itinerary)? Rely on our local expertise instead: We organize both half- and full-day excursions to our favorite authentic, top-notch small vineyards and farms in Tuscany, including experiences like our half-day drive through the Chianti countryside or full-day Tuscan drive to Montepulciano and Montalcino.

If you don’t have time to head to the countryside, don’t worry: You can still try Tuscany’s best wines right in the cities, including Florence and Siena. Local wines can be found in bars and restaurants, of course, but we recommend heading to an enoteca—an Italian wine bar, usually offering a few light dishes and a long list of wines—for a degustazione (tasting).

Wine tasting in Florence and Tuscany

Wine tasting on our food tour in Florence

In Florence, our food tour includes tastings of traditional dishes and a wine tasting at an authentic enoteca.

If you go it alone, remember that there are hundreds of wineries to choose from—including large, historical producers and small, family-owned farms—and reservations are almost always required.

Tours and tastings can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, with an average price of 10 euro to taste three wines and enjoy light snacks.

A final tip: If you love wine, try to visit Italy for a wine tasting in the autumn. During the vendemmia (grape harvest) in September and October, you even can get a sneak peak of how wine is made!

Don’t miss our easy guide to wine in Italy, including how to read wine labels, essential vocab, and what DOC really means!

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