Tuscany Wine Tour
The Best of Tuscany
MAY 5th – 9th 2014
|Castiglion del Bosco
||Castello di Ama
|Castello di Monsanto
||Castello del Terriccio
||5* hotel in Chianti
In collaboration with my friend Filippo, we have put together the ALL STAR trip to the greatest wineries in Tuscany. Go to a Michelin starred restaurant for a vertical of Tignanello, have lunches and dinners at iconic estates with older vintages, stay at beautiful hotels, learn about olive oil, go to cooking school, and kick back in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. If you haven't been, you should.
The line-up includes super star cult wine Tua Rita, the icons of Tignanello, Ornellaia and Gaja, lunch at Ferragamo's Brunello estate, and old vintages from classic Chianti producers like Monsanto and the remarkable Castello di Ama. You'll visit the best wineries in a dynamic region that has extremely traditional producers making wine next to modernists.
This is a luxury trip with outstanding food, wine and hotels. It will be very educational, as well as a lot of fun. You will be hosted by Ian d'Agata, a Canadian by birth, but now living in Rome. He is the key Italian wine writer for both Decanter magazine and Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar and is therefore considered to be THE leading expert on Tuscany. For your amusement, the arm waving Filippo will be there to take care of you, our local partner.
We will only be taking a limited number of people as these wineries are not open to the public.
Price: The cost per person is US$3,750 (including tax) based on double occupancy at the hotels. This price includes all accommodation, visits and tastings at wineries, all meals, all wine at meals, and local transport. Flights are not included.
If you are travelling by yourself there will be a single supplement of US$750.
To join the tour:
Simply email David@FineVintageLtd.com to reserve a spot and ask for a copy of the booking form. This tour is already 50% sold out with people waiting for this itinerary so don't delay!
Why take a tour of Tuscany from Fine Vintage?
These estates are not typically open to visitors. The only reason that we are able to visit these wineries is because of Ian D'Agata status as the top wine writer, my connections through purchasing wine and Filippo's friendships with producers. You'll experience parts of Tuscany that most will never see. The wineries are very welcoming to us. You'll taste wines they don't allow others to try, and everything is done for you...
All of the visits are already confirmed. Here is the program.
Monday – 5th May
Please make your own flight arrangements to Florence.
At 9.30 am
Meet with Ian and Filippo in front of The Baglioni Hotel in Florence. Board the luxury bus and we're off to the land of the Super-Tuscans. This hotel is 200 meters from the train station and very central in Florence. If you are looking for the very best place to stay the night before then we recommend The Four Seasons Hotel. Another option is the Hotel Roma Florence, about 200 meters away, which is less expensive.
Grand Hotel Baglioni
Piazza Unità Italiana 6, Firenze, Italia
Visit, tasting and lunch at Castello del Terriccio
In the 14th century the Bishop of Pisa conceded land rights of the Castle and its 4,200 acres of land to the Count Gaetani of Pisa. So we are going to a Tuscan farm estate, where they make olive oil, farm livestock, and make wine. The beautiful Castello has been owned by Counts and Princes and all kinds of noble families for hundreds of years. We have a visit, a tasting or these lovely wines, and a lunch Toscana style. http://www.terriccio.it
After lunch we drive to our hotel on the coast. This is the ultimate in a family owned luxury Tuscan estate. It has views of the ocean in the background, cypress trees all around, and olive groves. Many of the rooms are little cottages nestled in the gardens with a rustic yet luxurious style. Last year many people thought this was the most characterful and fun place we stayed on the trip, although the hotel in Chianti, where we will move to after 2 nights, is considered to be the very best hotel in the region. www.poggioaisanti.com
We'll have a few hours to relax, maybe a dip in the pool, a few glasses of wine and a siesta.
In the early evening we head out to the coastline, and then go to a tiny little Tuscan village that dates back hundreds of years for an aperitif. This is where Filippo lives. He's going to be the next Mayor! We'll have some bubbly and small local bites.
We will then leave for a visit and dinner at Tua Rita winery. www.tuarita.it Tua Rita is a Super Tuscan cult wine that was the first ever in Tuscany to get a 100 point Parker rating. We will have several courses for dinner in their private dining room along with a large number of wines, including their top cuvees. It's a great first night.
TUESDAY MAY 6th
Super Tuscan Heaven
10.00 am Depart hotel
Espresso, breakfast, and then we'll drive 20 minutes through medieval villages, dating pre 990 towards Bolgheri. The Tuscan countryside is idyllic.
Visit and tasting at Ca'Marcanda- Angelo Gaja
To me, Gaja is the greatest name in Italian wine. He's the quintessential pioneer, always pushing the boundaries, never content, a perfectionist by nature, and whose Barbarescos are the benchmark. Ca' Marcanda, his winery in Tuscany, is exceptional quality. The architecture is fascinating too. www.gajadistribuzione.it
Lunch at La Pineta on the beach.
This is the top fish restaurant on the coast, sitting right on the beach, so you'll be able to wonder along the shore after lunch. It is a 1 star Michelin. With the seafood we'll sample a wide variety of Italy's white wines, from north to south, including things you've never heard of.
Visit and tasting at Ornellaia
After lunch we go to the revered estate of Ornellaia, the most famous Super Tuscan along with Sassicaia and perhaps a few others. It's a collector's wine, and highly prized. The ultra-cult Masseto vineyard is here too, home to Italy's most expensive Merlot based wine, which can sell in the thousands of dollars per bottle. We visit the Masseto vineyard, see the whole Ornellaia cellar, and taste the range. www.ornellaia.com
We head back to the hotel, a short distance away, for some time to relax. Later that evening we'll have a unique evening of food and wine in the casual setting of the terrace. Several local producers of Tuscan cheese, salami, ham, olive oil and more will come and share their delicacies with us, and join us for a few glasses of wine. The wines will include a tasting of older vintages of Top Super Tuscans such as Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Guado al Tasso, Paleo, and Grattamacco. Some serious wine... and only 10 steps to bed.
WEDNESDAY MAY 7th
Check out of the hotel and we're off to taste some of the best Brunellos in the world. These must be aged for 5 years before release and often come to the market much older. They are 100% pure Sangiovese, and there's a unique terroir influenced by altitude. It's a spectacular drive up into the hills. We'll visit 2 benchmark producers here.
We start the day at Argiano. You drive along a road and there perched on a hilltop is the most stunning Tuscan castle you could imagine. It's a famous name and an impressive estate in Brunello di Montalcino. The wines here have great depth, complexity and can age for decades. This will be our introduction to the great wines of Brunello, with an explanation of the terroir, the vinification and the ageing process. Of course, we'll have a nice tasting too. www.argiano.net
Lunch at Ferragamo
Castiglion del Bosco is the Brunello estate belonging to the fashion empire of Salvatore Ferragamo. As you might expect, it's really quite stunning. It's surreal in fact. When it comes to food, wine and hospitality they do a superb job. Get ready to have lunch in a beautiful setting and taste 5 vintages of their Brunello's going back to 1999. Afterwards we visit the estate, including the cellars and the private tasting room. You'll likely have a snooze on the bus after this... www.castigliondelbosco.com
We head off to our second and last hotel in Chianti Classico. This is a lovely hotel, 5 star, and very luxurious. Cypress trees up the driveway leading to a huge castello, gigantic pool, a great bar, an even better restaurant, terrace, Spa, what else? Oh, cooking school. The rack rate is Euros 1,000 per night in peak season. www.castellodelnero.com
Tonight is a free evening for you to explore the local village 5 minutes taxi or a short walk away, or have dinner at the excellent restaurant in the hotel.
THURSDAY MAY 8th
You've been working hard, eating, drinking and giggling your way around Tuscany. So it's time for some relaxation in the morning.
In the morning, you can do the optional cooking class, where the chef at the hotel will show you how to make 3 different types of pasta. This is a lot of fun, and the cooks in the group loved it last year. Let us know if you are keen and we'll ask for a price depending on the size of the group.
Alternatively, if you prefer to leave the cooking to others you can hang out at the pool, or go into the little town, explore and shop. There is also a Spa at the property.
12.30 Leave the hotel
We will go close to Radda to have lunch in a beautiful old convent that is home to my WSET wine school, run in collaboration with the government's Consorzio of Chianti Classico and Filippo. Here you will learn about Chianti Classico and taste a range of them over a casual lunch in the convent. Be good ;)
Afterwards we'll go a short distance to Radda which is in the heart of the Classico region, and you can wonder through this characterful old medieval village, have a coffee in one of the small cafes or do some shopping.
We'll then go to visit one of the most incredible wineries I've ever seen - Castello di Ama. First, they make some of the very best olive oil in Tuscany and we'll learn all about that and taste the oils. Then we'll have a tasting of some staggering single vineyard wines. And finally we'll wonder through the tiny hamlet that is owned by the estate, full of modern art and ancient relics. It's the real Tuscany. www.castellodiama.com.
Visit and dinner at Castello di Monsanto
Probably everybody's favorite winery last year was Castello di Monsanto, where they pulled out old vintages going back to the 1970's. These wines were phenomenal. I had the 77 one night and it was a memory I'll never forget.
Castello di Monsanto is one of the most respected estates in Tuscany and one of the top producers of traditional Chianti Classico Riserva. They have long tunnels of underground cellars stacked with bottles dating back decades. It's spectacular. After a tour of the winery, including their Vin Santo cellar, the special sweet wine made in the most unique way, we are going to have a beautiful dinner inside the winery, with lots of vintages, and a special surprise afterwards. It's the full-on night. www.castellodimonsanto.it
FRIDAY MAY 9th
Today, as a grand finale, we'll visit the icon Tignanello and then have a decadent lunch at a 1 star Michelin restaurant, with a spectacular line up of Tig vintages to pair with the tasting menu.
We'll leave the hotel at 10.15 am and arrive at Tignanello just a few minutes away. This belongs to Antinori. In 1971, Antinori launched one of the most famous labels in Italy. Tignanello, or Tig to its admirers, was originally made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which meant that it was ineligible for the Chianti Classico appellation. It now has a high percentage of Sangiovese in the blend, but retains its Super Tuscan status rather than becoming a Chianti Classico.
It was Tignanello that really shook up the Italian wine industry, leading to far-reaching changes in rules and attitudes. In 1978 Antinori launched Solaia, another classic wine, from the neighboring vineyard. It has been rated "best wine in the world" by Wine Spectator. Solaia is made at the Tignanello estate. So we're basically learning about and tasting some of the top wines of Italy here, again...
We'll have our last lunch a stone's throw from Tignanello, at Antinori's Estate in Chianti Classico, with a 5 course tasting menu and a spectacular line-up of Tignanello. This is always a great lunch in a fantastic setting! www.osteriadipassignano.com
At 3.30 pm we'll head off to Florence. You'll be glad we are not eating or drinking for another day. 5 days is plenty. It's a perfect amount of time to see the best wineries, learn an enormous amount, eat excellent food, and learn from a top expert on Italian wine, and a local Tuscan guide (who is a riot). These are fun guys.
We will drop people off at the train station in Florence at 4.30 pm, and then all others at The Baglioni Hotel just 200 meters away. The tour is then finished. We have left time here for delays, but please don't cut it too close for flights and trains etc… The airport is about a 30 minute taxi from the city centre.
This is a luxurious trip, hosted by two top experts, visiting the great estates with a small group of like-minded fun-loving people. It's suited to all wine lovers. $3,750 per person including tax. To get a booking form and see the payment schedule please contact david@FineVintageLtd.com
For other tours please visit www.finevintageltd.com We offer tours to Bordeaux, Spain and Champagne-Burgundy-Rhone.
Featured wine tasting holiday to Tuscany, Italy:
Fine Vintage Ltd is delighted to offer a unique collection of guided wine tours for travel in 2014. Our luxury wine tour holidays have been carefully tailored to suit your tastes and needs. You will stay in fine hotels and luxury inns; enjoy wine tastings in the region's top wineries; dine in the most exclusive restaurants, and enjoy the company of others who share a passion for wine.
Ian D'Agata is your host on this unforgettable wine tour through some of the most charming wineries in Tuscany, Italy. Each wine tour holiday has been designed by James Cluer MW, whose passion for wine, invaluable expertise and knowledge, as well as, personal insight, will give you a brilliant perspective into Tuscany wine. James' relationships with the winemakers and owners will provide you unique access that goes beyond other wine tours. See the beauty of Italy and learn the history of this amazing region that attracts visitors from all over the world. This is the ultimate wine connoisseur's tour of Tuscany, and offers the very best food and wine experience for anyone who loves wine.
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These luxurious guided wine tours to Tuscany, Italy have been arranged by James Cluer, MW. As a Master of Wine, James is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on wine. The MW is considered to be the pinnacle of qualifications in the wine industry. There are only 30 MW's in North America and 300 worldwide.
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