Tuscany Wine Tour
THE BEST OF TUSCANY
A luxury food and wine tour of Tuscany
September 29th – October 3rd 2014
Hosted by Ian d’Agata – the leading wine writer on Italy
Tenuta Argentiera: Lunch with Super Tuscan wines, in a Super Tuscan setting.
Tua Rita: The first Tuscan wine to be rated 100 points Parker
Guado al Tasso: An Antinori flagship
Ornellaia: One of the great wines of Italy and the world, plus Masseto vineyard visit
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO
Argiano: A historic castle perched on a hill with a vertical tasting
Sesti: An undiscovered treasure. Tour, tasting and lunch
Visit of the hilltop town of Montalcino
Castello di Ama: Among the most incredible wineries you’ll ever see
Castell’in Villa: Fine wine, art, and a private tour and tasting with the Princess
Castello di Monsanto: Top producer of Chianti Classico and Vin Santo
Tenuta Gardini: stunning accommodations by the Tuscan coast
Borgo San Felice: 5* hotel in Chianti surrounded by vines
1* Michelin restaurant
Optional cooking school
In collaboration with my friend Filippo, we have put together the ALL STAR trip to some of the greatest wineries in Tuscany. Go to a Michelin starred restaurant on the beach, 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 Guado al Tasso and Ornellaia, old vintages from classic Chianti producers like Monsanto and the remarkable Castello di Ama. And then there’s the long lunch at Sesti in Montalcino, after a vertical of Argiano. 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 Decanter magazine and 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 20 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 except on the free night, all wine at meals, and local transport. Flights are not included. Optional cooking class on October 2nd is extra and upon request.
If you are travelling by yourself there will be a single supplement of US$750.
To join the tour:
Simply visit our website www.finevintageltd.com/wine-tours/tuscany and click on the Book Now icon. Should you have any questions about this tour, please email David@FineVintageLtd.com.
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…
To read the full tour itinerary please go to www.FineVintageLtd.com
James Cluer MW
All of the visits are already confirmed. Here is the program.
Monday – 29th September
Please make your own flight arrangements to Florence.
At 9.30 am
Meet with Ian and Filippo in the lobby bar 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.
Meet at: Grand Hotel Baglioni
Piazza Unità Italiana 6, Firenze, Italia
Visit, tasting and lunch at Tenuta Argentiera
Along the beautiful coast of the Alta Maremma, in the small and prestigious DOC Bolgheri area, lies Tenuta Argentiera. It’s a gorgeous estate perched on a hill producing excellent wines from Cabernet Sauvignon et al. We’re now in Super Tuscan territory, an area that produces some of Italy’s finest wines, albeit controversial. We will have a tour, tasting and a lovely lunch. Welcome to Tuscany…www.argentiera.eu
Check in to the hotel
After lunch we drive to our hotel on the coast. The Relais Sant’Elena is an ancient family farm that dates back to 1600. It has been fully renovated into a classic Tuscan hideaway hotel, with exposed brick, sumptuous furnishings, and a classic rugged beauty. Lounge by the pool, sit on the patio, sip on espresso, or maybe another glass of rosso. It’s very comfortable. In this place you make decisions about your life. http://www.tenutagardini.it
In the early evening we head out to the coastline, and 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 and have a brief visit to a Tuscan hilltop town steeped in history.
And then it’s time for another winery visit. We’ll have a tour and tasting, followed by a fantastic dinner in the private dining room of the super-star cult Tua Rita, the first Tuscan winery to be awarded 100 points. This place has quite a story, and they are so warm and welcoming to us. The owner, Rita, sometimes eats with us, but she often also cooks a stunning meal for us in the kitchen herself. It’s unusual. Their great team are on hand to pour 6+ wines, including their very expensive icon wine. http://www.tuarita.it.
Tuesday September 30th - 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 Guado al Tasso - Antinori
If you look at a wine list in a top Italian restaurant you’ll see Guado al Tasso, usually with some zeros in the price. It is one of the flagships of Antinori, unquestionably in the top echelon of the most respected wine producing companies anywhere in the world. And here they really make some stunning wines. Fasten your seatbelts. We are delighted to house our wine school at the Antinori Palazzo in Florence and we appreciate the warm welcome they give us at their estates. www.antinori.it
After the visit we have a few minutes’ drive to the hilltop town of Bolgheri where you’ll have some free time for a coffee and shopping. It’s not a bad place to buy wine…being the capital village of the region.
Lunch at La Pineta on the beach.
One of the highlights of the trip is this lunch. From the road this Michelin starred restaurant doesn’t look that flash, but go inside and suddenly you’re in a lovely dinning room overlooking the Med, with the beach at your feet. 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. http://www.ornellaia.com/. Ornellaia is owned by Frescobaldi.
We head back to the hotel, a short distance away, for some time to relax. Later that evening we’ll have a unique dinner 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. The wines will include a tasting of superb Tuscan wines that are hard to find…and its only 10 steps to bed. A casual night.
Wednesday October 1st – Brunello di Montalcino
9:30 am Check out of the hotel and we’re off to taste some of the best Brunellos. 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, a famous name and an impressive estate in Brunello di Montalcino. On the coast the winery architecture is more modern in general, but here at Argiano you could be no place other than Tuscany. The castello is perched on a hill, in the classic colors, flags flying, turrets protecting, and a labyrinth of damp humid underground cellars below. Fantastic!
The wines here have great depth, complexity, a certain elegance 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 vertical tasting of several vintages too www.argiano.net
Lunch at Sesti
You should look at the picture on their website and imagine yourself sitting in the castle trying a wide range of stunning wines with the owners as you eat a delicious lunch. http://www.sestiwine.com/
Because that is exactly what we’ll do here. It’s just a few hundred meters from Argiano, and is a small estate that has kindly opened their doors to welcome us.
After lunch, we will enjoy a brief visit to the hilltop town of Montalcino which is really something to see. Afterwards we’ll head off to the hotel Relais Borgo San Felice in Chianti Classico. This is a magical place. The whole little village is now a luxurious estate where the fortunate few can afford to stay. It has to be experienced once in a lifetime. www.borgosanfelice.it
We’ve been busy for a few days eating and drinking and so tonight is a free evening for you to explore the local village just 5 minutes away by taxi, or a short walk. Or have dinner at the excellent restaurant in the hotel. Relax….
Thursday October 2nd – Chianti Classico
It’s a slow start today so you can enjoy the hotel. In the morning, you can do the optional cooking class, where the chef at the hotel will show you how to make different types of pasta. This is a lot of fun. 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. We will then meet at the hotel for a nice lunch before heading off to visit more wineries.
We will go to the “quaint” town of Radda to explore for a short time, and then get back into the tasting starting with a visit to a beautiful old convent and HQ of the Consorzio of Chianti Classico. Here we will have a presentation of the Chianti Classico area so you can get prepared for the visits ahead, and enjoy a tasting of 4 different wines to showcase this region, the original viticultural area in Toscana.
Castello di Ama
This is 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 see the press and learn all about that, and taste the oils. Then we’ll have a tasting of some staggering wines. And finally we’ll wonder through the tiny hamlet that is owned by the estate, full of modern art and ancient relics. www.castellodiama.com
Dinner, tour and tasting at Castell’ in Villa
Castell’in Villa is a medieval hamlet dating back to the 1200’s. The medieval stone tower is the home of Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa, who will show us her estate. There is a gorgeous chapel, dozens of works of art in the cellars and the grounds, and stunning views over thr rolling hills of Tuscany. This is everything you imagined Tuscany to be, and it is made very special by the Princess giving us a private tour.
We have our final blow-out dinner tonight with the exceptional Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico and Riserva, the "Supertuscan" Santacroce and the typical Tuscan Vin Santo.
Friday October 3rd
We check out of the hotel and head off for the final day.
Castello di Monsanto
Probably everybody’s favorite winery last year was Castello di Monsanto, where they pulled out old vintages. These wines were phenomenal. I had the 77 one night and it was a memory I still think about all the time. I hope I am lucky enough to have it again one day soon.
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 have a guided vertical tasting of their wines. www.castellodimonsanto.it
Lunch at Osteria di Passignano – 1 Michelin-starred restaurant
We’ll have our last lunch a stone’s throw from Tignanello, Antinori’s famous 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. There are different olive oils to sample, the food is very fine and beautifully presented, and the noise level of our group tends to get pretty loud, it being the last lunch and all… 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 from 2 exceptional guides, eat excellent food, and stay at some beautiful hotels. It’s relaxed, fun and it appeals to both the newcomer to wine and the expert. We always have a mix in the group and so there is no need at all to be intimidated. We’re here to share our love of wine with you.
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. You should book flights that leave after 7 pm
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 book your place, simply click on the Book Now icon. Should you have any questions about this tour, please contact david@FineVintageLtd.com
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.
Tuscany wine tours, guided wine tour holidays to Tuscany, Italy by Fine Vintage Ltd including visits to the best wineries including Tua Rita, Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Gaja, Soldera, Castel Giocondo, Poggio di Sotto, Castello di Monsanto, Castello di Ama and Tignanello.
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.
Guided wine tour packages to Tuscany include hotel accommodation, all wine tastings, all meals, and wine at meals, winery visits, and local transport. Exclusive wine tasting vacations to Tuscany, Italy.