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Tuscany Wine Tour

A Luxury Tour for Lovers of Tuscan Food and Wine

April 20th – 24th, 2015

Hosted by James Cluer MW

$3,950 CAD

In collaboration with my friend Filippo, we have put together the ALL STAR trip to the greatest wineries in Tuscany. You'll visit the best wineries in a dynamic region that has extremely traditional producers making wine next to modernists.

On this tour, you will experience:

  • Super Tuscan Heaven with visits to Ornellaia, Guado al Tasso, lunch at Castello del Terriccio, and a dinner to remember at Tua Rita;
  • Magnificence in Montalcino with a visit to the idyllic hill-top town of Montalcino and the beautiful Brunellos of Sesti and Argiano;
  • Classic Chianti with a tasting hosted by the Chianti Classico Academy as well as visits to Castello di Ama and Castello di Monsanto, and dinner at Castell'in Villa;
  • First class treatment at our hotels Poggio ai Santi and Relais Borgo San Felice, a Michelin-starred lunch at La Pineta, and a 3-course Tignanello tasting at lunch at Osteria di Passignano, another Michelin starred restaurant amongst the vines

This is a luxury trip with outstanding food, wine and hotels. It will be very educational, as well as a lot of fun. Along with the amazing wines and vintages, you will also learn about olive oil, have an option to go to cooking school, and kick back in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. If you haven't been, you should.

Your Guides
I will be your guide to some of my favourite Tuscan estates. For your amusement, the arm waving Filippo will be there to take care of you, our local partner.

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 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...

We will only be taking a limited number of people as these wineries are not open to the public.

Price: CDN $3,950 (including tax)
The cost is per person is 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 and travel arrangements to/from Florence are not included.

If you are travelling by yourself there will be a single supplement of CDN $750.

The payment schedule is:

  • $500 upon registration
  • $2000 at 120 days
  • $1450 (plus single supplement if applicable) at 90 days

To Join the Tour: Email Dave, your personal travel concierge, and ask all your questions and book directly with him. Or see the full itinerary below and click the Book Now icon at the top of the page. If you have any questions please contact us at

The Program
All of the visits are already confirmed. Here is the program.

Day 1: Monday, April 20th – The Road to the Tuscan Coast

9.30 am
Meet with Filippo and I at the Bar of the Baglioni Hotel in Florence. 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.

Meet at:
Grand Hotel Baglioni
Piazza Unità Italiana 6, Firenze, Italia

10.00 am departure by luxury bus to the coast
Board the luxury bus and we're off to the land of the Super-Tuscans.

Visit and Lunch at Castello del Terriccio
Dating back to the 14th century, Castello del Terriccio has been owned by counts, princes, and nobility for hundreds of years. More than 4,000 acres of prime land are devoted to cultivating olives, cereals, and of course, grapes. A tour, a tasting, a visit to the olive press, and then lunch. Our visit will be a great start to the Tuscan life of great wines, long lunches, and gently rolling hills.

Check in at the Hotel Poggio ai Santi
The Hotel Poggio ai Santi is the ultimate in 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.

We'll have a few hours to relax, maybe a dip in the pool, a few glasses of wine and a siesta.

5:00 pm – Depart Hotel for Suvereto
We will stop by 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! While we sip on bubbly and have some small bites, we have a surprise in store for you.

6:45 pm - Visit and Dinner at Tua Rita
With dusk slowly setting in, we will next make our way over to Tua Rita. Tua Rita is a Super Tuscan cult wine that was the first ever in Tuscany to get a 100 point Parker rating. After visiting the vineyard and the cellar 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.

Day 2: Tuesday, April 21st – Super Tuscan Heaven

9:45 am Depart hotel
Following espresso and breakfast, we will drive through the idyllic Tuscan countryside of medieval villages dating back more than 1,000 years.

10:00 am - Visit and Tasting at Guado al Tasso
The Antinori-owned Guado al Tasso estate is located near Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast. The 300 hectares of prime vineyards are planted in the coveted "Bolgheri amphitheatre": rolling hillsides. Guado al Tasso, the flagship wine of the estate, expresses all of the force and suppleness of this corner of the upper Maremma. In my opinion, Antinori is the best major wine company in Italy. It is a powerhouse, run by a family that is fixated on quality.

After our visit to Guad al Tasso, we will spend about an hour of free time wandering the beautiful streets of Bolgheri before our seafood lunch to end all seafood lunches at La Pineta.

Lunch at La Pineta
This Michelin 1-star rated restaurant is one of Italy's top seafood restaurants. With its location right on the beach, you know that the fish is the freshest you could possibly find. Our lunch will be paired with a wide variety of Italian white wines, including some varietals you may never have heard of. If your feel the need to walk off this decadent lunch, the beach is right there.

Visit and Tasting at Ornellaia
Established by the Marchese Lodovico Antinori, the Tenuta dell'Ornellaia is one of the most super of the Super Tuscans. Highly prized, it is a feature in any serious collector's cellar. The ultra-cult Masseto vineyard is here too, and so we'll see inside the pinnacle of super Tuscan cult wines that sell for thousands of dollars and score very high points.

After a day like this, you may feel like a bit of relaxation. To get you ready for the evening, we will return to the hotel by around 6:00 pm for a brief pre-dinner swim and/or siesta.

7.30 pm – Dinner at Poggio ai Santi
We are joined for dinner by a host of local Tuscan food producers who are coming to explain how they make their delicious foods. Salami, hams, olive oil etc... it's like the local artisans brought you dinner. It's a casual Tuscan dinner. Although we say "casual", this was one of the best meals we had last year, accompanied by a tasting of different wines from Tuscany.

Day 3: Wednesday, April 23rd – Brunello di Montalcino

9:30 am – Check Out and Depart for Montalcino
After espresso and breakfast, we check out of the hotel and are off to taste some of the best Brunellos in the world. These 100% pure Sangiovese wines benefit from a unique terroir and must be aged for 5 years before release and often come to the market much older. It's a spectacular drive up into the hills where two benchmark producers await our visit.

Tour and Tasting at Argiano
Now this is the Tuscan castello, sitting on a hilltop, that you always imagined. It's amazing. The impressive estate at Argiano reflects its well-deserved reputation as a producer of top-quality 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!

All of 400m down the road is Sesti – our next appointment.

Visit and Lunch at Sesti
Despite its 102 hectares of property, only a scant 9 acres is planted with vineyards. But these vineyards are in the enviable position of being on the southern slopes of Montalcino, which is home to some of the most prestigious Brunellos. This means production is small, but the quality is among the best around.

After lunch, we will make our way to the iconic hilltop town of Montalcino where you will have 30 minutes to wander the quaint streets. This is Tuscan life at its best. Coffee time!

Check-in at Relais Borgo San Felice
Borgo San Felice is magic. This former Chianti village is a part of the luxurious Relais & Châ teaux group where guests can expect the warmest of welcomes and the highest levels of service.

Tonight is a free evening for you to explore the local village of Castelnuovo Berardenga, located about 10 kms from Borgo San Felice. A taxi can be arranged to transport you to town for dinner, or after three full days you may wish to dine at leisure at the excellent restaurant in the hotel.

Day 4: Thursday, April 23rd - The Classics of Chianti Classico

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 winery tour of the hotel's own estate, or have a spa treatment at the property, hang out at the pool, or go into town to explore and shop. We can organize a small group cooking school too upon request.

12:20 pm - Lunch at Borgo San Felice
Our light lunch at the hotel is a gourmet offer of traditional Tuscan specialties with a modern, innovative twist and a tasting of a few Chianti Classico wines to get you primed to visit the benchmark estates.

Depart Borgo San Felice
We will drive about half an hour to the village of Radda in Chianti, where we will spend about 45 minutes visiting this town in the heart of Chianti Classico.

Visit and Tasting at Chianti Classico Academy
Situated in the ancient Convent of Santa Maria a Prato, the Chianti Classico Academy is the official school of the Consortium Chianti Classico DOCG which manages all the projects that extend the knowledge of Chianti Classico DOCG denomination in the world. Here we will have a flight of wines with a lecture on the history and style of Chianti Classico.

Visit and Tasting at Castello di Ama
After the Chianti Classico Academy, we will go to visit one of the most incredible wineries I've ever seen. 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. This is one of the best winery visits you'll ever have.

Visit and Dinner at Castell'In Villa
I'm really hoping that the most delightful owner will be here to receive us again. She is a Princess by title, and a lovely lady. The estate is truly astonishing with art pieces, old cellars, new wings with modern equipment, a hamlet, it's something else. Just writing about this place makes me want to jump on a plane and go. Oh, and we have our final dinner here too, with a slew of amazing wines. I promise you that nobody else runs better tours than us.

Day 5: Friday, April 24th – Icons of Chianti

We check out of the hotel at 10.00 am for our grand finale. Today, we will visit the classic Chianti and ultra traditional estate of Monsanto and then have a decadent lunch at a 1 star Michelin restaurant, with a spectacular line up of wines to pair with the tasting menu. Think Tignanello!

11:00 am - Visit and Tasting at Castello di Monsanto
Probably everybody's favorite winery last year was Castello di Monsanto, where they will pull out an old vintage for sure. 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.

1.15 pm lunch at Osteria di Passignano
Our last meal is but a stone's throw from Tignanello, Antinori's famous estate in Chianti Classico, where our 3-course tasting menu will feature a spectacular line-up of wines including Tignanello. This is a final blow out lunch.

At 3.30 pm we'll head off to Florence. You'll be glad we are not eating or drinking for another day; five 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 2 local Tuscan guides (who are both a riot).

We will drop people off at the train station in Florence at around 5.00 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 30 minutes' taxi from the city centre.

This is a luxurious trip, hosted by local and international wine experts, visiting the great estates with a small group of about 20 like-minded fun-loving people. It's suited to all wine lovers.

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