Some of the best Tuscany Vineyards can be found in the Chianti region, an area acclaimed for its dry red wine
Just hearing the word “Tuscany” is enough to invoke visions of the glorious countryside, old world charm, expansive olive groves, and, of course, bottles of the world’s finest wines. Here are some of the best wineries in Tuscany to find a great Chianti.
Wine is not just something you drink in Tuscany — it is a way of life. The vineyards and wineries are labors of love, many passed down through the generations to continue a time-honored family tradition.
Whether you consider yourself to be a true wine aficionado or just a casual sipper, you cannot visit the best wineries in Tuscany without sampling a glass or two (or three) of a world class vino that calls Tuscany home: Chianti.
What Makes Chianti a Unique Wine Experience
Just as only true Champagne is made in the Champagne wine region of France, true Chianti is only made in Tuscany’s Chianti region. Chianti’s wine zone then has seven subregions, and all of them are considered to be “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garanitit” (DOCG) — the highest classification for Italian wines to guarantee quality and production methods.
You may see different versions of Chianti, depending on which subregion they are made in. The most well-respected type of Chianti, however, is known as Chianti Classico. Chianti Classico must be made from at least 80 percent Sangiovese grapes (though most are 100 percent) and aged for 10 months. This type of Chianti is generally a more refined and rich version because it is made from the finest grapes in the very best Chianti vineyards.
Where are the Best Wineries in Tuscany to Find a Great Chianti?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad winery or Chianti while you’re in Tuscany, but like most things life, there are a few wineries that simply stand above the rest.
Barone Ricasoli Winery
If you are going to have one Chianti while in Tuscany, some may insist you drop by the Barone Ricasoli Winery — it is, after all, where Baron Bettino Ricasoli invented Chianti in 1872. Ricasoli is the oldest winery in Italy, being linked to wine-making since the year 1141.
The large estate offers a variety of tours, including the “Classic” tour which the family says is the best way to get to know the interesting history and, of course, the wine. The guided tour will show you the castle gardens, private chapel, and museum, and finally, the ultra-modern wine-making facilities followed by a fantastic wine tasting in a private room.
Azienda Agricola Montefioralle is a hidden gem among Chianti wineries. The winery is well-known for its high quality Chianti Classico vino, but this small family-run operation only releases about 10,000 bottles every year.
The Sieni family is incredibly detail-oriented when it comes to their wines, always paying attention to the sustainability of production processes and forgoing the use of chemical herbicides and synthetic pesticide treatments. Tastings and tours are by appointment only, so be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
This certified organic wine estate has been run by the Manetti family since 1968. The Manettis, however, have deep roots in the Chianti region as they were long-associated with producing the area’s classic “terrecotte” tiles for centuries.
The winery’s modern cellar, where the Chianti ages in wood barrels, is built on descending levels to allow gravity to help in exalting “the character and elegance of the wines.” Stop by this winery during your time in Tuscany — the breathtaking views are not to be missed.
Antinori Winery is an amazing example of family tradition in Italian wine-making; for 26 generations — since 1385 — the Antinori family has had direct control over their winery. Currently, the business is run by Marchese Piero Antinori and his three daughters, Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia.
Though the legacy of wine-making is centuries old, the Antinori Chianti Classico Winery facility is brand new. Inaugurated in October 2012, the state-of-the-art facility took seven years to complete and is now open to the public for a truly unique Tuscan experience. There are tours dedicated to art, architecture, the wine, and the vineyards — or visitors can peruse the extensive library, watch a 15-minute video about the cellar’s construction, or visit the winery’s rooftop restaurant, Rinuccio 1180. You are welcome to simply stop by the wine shop to pick up a few bottles of Chianti Classico, but we highly recommend making Antinori Winery a full-day experience.
Poggio Antico does not have the centuries-old family history that some of the other best wineries in Tuscany have, but the family that owns it now has worked tirelessly over the past three decades to make it a real force in the wine-making world. Located approximately 1,476 feet above sea level, Poggio Antico is one of the highest altitude wine producers, creating nearly optimal growing conditions (and beautiful views).
This winery warmly welcomes visitors for tours and tastings and while dropping by is permitted, they do politely ask that you make an appointment if possible. Don’t miss Poggio Antico’s onsite restaurant, Ristorante di Poggio Antico, where you can dine on the open-air terrace taking in the panoramic view.
Relax with a Chianti Under the Tuscan Sun
The best wineries in Tuscany are also near some of the best Tuscan villas. After a day of tours and tastings, there’s nothing quite like returning to your private villa, popping open a new bottle of Chianti Classico, and relaxing with your loved ones.
Your next trip to Tuscany awaits you. A Tuscan villa vacation offers you the option to choose your surroundings, close to the historic hill towns, within walking distance to quaint villages, close to world class museums, restaurants and shops, or overlooking the vineyards. Let us help you choose the best villa in Tuscany.
In your travels, what is the best winery you have ever visited — in Tuscany, or beyond? Leave a comment below and share your opinion.
Related: From fresh fish to ripe tomatoes and fragrant herbs, Provence cuisine has a distinctly Mediterranean flair: Provence Cuisine: Plan the Perfect Day to Sample the Flavors of the Region