The Chianti region is the hilly area between Florence and Siena, between Arezzo and the Pisan Hills that has always been considered the ‘heart of Tuscany’; it is a succession of splendid landscapes marked by dense vineyards, chestnut, oak woods, suggestive medieval villages, romantic castles and charming farmhouses.
It is also the land where one of the most famous red wines in the world is produced: Chianti.
The Chianti region is the ideal place for trips between medieval villages, romantic vineyards and characteristic hilly landscapes. In each small village it is possible to come across cellars, castles and farms and taste the fine wine in one of the numerous wine bars.
For those coming from Florence, the natural access road to the land of wines is Impruneta, rich in monuments, including the 13th century bell tower, the Basilica of Santa Maria.
There are two international events: the grape festival with the parade of allegorical floats, and the San Luca fair, both of which take place in autumn.
Towards Siena, an obligatory stop is the old medieval village of Greve in Chianti, with its ancient and particular triangular square, bordered by palaces, arcades and loggias, all converging towards the Church of Santa Croce. The square hosts the most important Chianti wine exhibition in September. The castle of Montefioralle, an ancient fortified village, dominates the city from above. We then meet Volpaia, a picturesque medieval village built around a castle, as well as an ancient wine production center.
Also worth visiting is the parish church of San Giusto in Salcio in Radda with its characteristic Romanesque façade. Just outside Radda, another mandatory stop is the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium with the Chianti Historical Studies Center. Continuing the journey towards the pass of the Chianti mountains, one encounters first Gaiole, one of the best-known landscapes in Italy, and then countless farms and castles, such as San Leonino and Fonterutoli.
Beyond the Sienese city, the thirteenth-century Monteriggioni, built on the top of a hill and with a massive wall, and Castellina, a Sienese outpost of Etruscan origin with a beautiful central square crossed by the medieval Via delle Volte, are of particular historical value.
Finally, a stop in the splendid Poggibonsi where in October an event takes place in which the ancient technique of pressing grapes from the hilly areas is re-proposed, and in Montespertoli for the annual Chianti exhibition.
All Chianti is DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin), but the Chiantis are different, each with its own characteristics linked to its territory and production methods. The blend is always the same but the percentages vary: Sangiovese (75-90%), Canaiolo (5-10%), and Malvasia del Chianti (5-10%), the perfect composition discovered in the nineteenth century by Baron Ricasoli, to which Trebbiano Toscano was later added. The tradition is so deeply rooted that Tuscan producers plant the vines of the different grapes together, already in the right proportion that will be used to make the wine. The cultivation, with a Tuscan arch, owes a lot to the soil made up of marl which, porous and permeable, does not allow water to stagnate near the roots.
In autumn, after the harvest, it may happen that you still see some bunches on the plants: it is the sign of the practice of “government”, which has survived the centuries, which consists in adding fresh must of raisin grapes to the fermented wine, which restores the fermentation, so that the sugars are completely transformed into alcohol. This operation has the aim of obtaining a dry and stable wine. After fermentation, the wine ages until March in steel or concrete tanks and, once bottled, it is ready for the market. Chianti wine, if subjected to aging for several years, of which at least three months of refinement in the bottle, may be entitled to the Riserva qualification provided that, when released for consumption, it has a minimum total alcoholic strength by volume of 12%, against the 11.5° of the classic Chianti.
The color is lively ruby red, the aroma is intense with evidence of violet, iris and vanilla, while the flavor is harmonious and dry with hints of vanilla and almond; with age it becomes soft and velvety. Annual production: about 63 million bottles. Young Chianti and all simple DOCG wines are perfect wines for any meal; the aged and the Reserves are to be preferred with red meats, game and spicy cheeses. The bottles are stored horizontally and should be served at room temperature. Among the characteristic dishes of Tuscan cuisine: ribollita, whose main ingredients are cooked vegetables left over from the previous days, boiled all together, with the addition of stale bread and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil. Another ‘classic’ of the area are appetisers such as chicken liver croutons, bruschetta with tomato and Sienese capocollo, more commonly known as fennel.
Here are two extra-special experiences for you: a half-day wine tour an a dinner in a vineyard you will never forget. To make all this even sweeter, here’s 5% off from us!