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Italian Wine Regions
Apr 1 , 2011
If you're looking for the best wines in Italy, make your way to Tuscany and get your tasting tongue ready because these are the best of Italian wine regions.
When visiting Tuscany, it's to be expected that you take part in the rich wine culture. For over 3,000 years, wine has been central to Tuscan life and cuisine. From the early Etruscans to the Romans to the Christian Monks to the Renaissance farmers to modern winemakers, wine techniques have been passed down and improved over the years. The distinct tastes in these Italian wine regions near Florence are delicious and exploring the gorgeous Tuscan countryside is an experience you won't soon forget.
Within an hour's drive from Florence, you can visit some of the best Italian wine regions and sample a wide variety of red and white wines. You'll find Sangiovese, the dominant red wine grape, and Trebbiano, the dominant white wine grape at most wineries you visit in Tuscany. Red wines made from Sangiovese grapes tend to be the fruity when young and oaky when aged. Trebbiano grapes taste sweet when young but turn quite acidic when aged. It's no wonder; they are the predominant grape used for Balsamic vinegar.
If you only have time to visit one of the Italian wine regions, consider going to Chianti, the most-famous and largest wine area in Tuscany. Chianti extends between Florence and Siena and is famous for its green hills of olive trees and vineyards. You can easily visit Chianti as a day trip or a relaxing over-night trip from Florence.
The most famous wine of this region, Chianti Classico has a vibrant aroma and a bit of tangy cherry taste that softens with age. The traditional bottles of Chianti Classico make great gifts because they look like the classic Italian table wine. They come with in straw baskets around the base and have a gallo nego (black rooster) on the next of the bottle. The Gallo Nero has been a symbol of the Chianti region since the 14th century. Today, it lets people know immediately whether the wine is indeed a Chianti Classico and different from bottles from other Italian wine regions.
For a less acidic wine and easier trip from Florence, visit the Carmignano wine region which lies roughly 10 miles outside of the Florence. Since Roman times, wine has been produced in this region. In the early 18th century, Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany gave Carmignano special legal protections and barred other Italian wine regions from using the name Carmignano. You'll enjoy the of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which the wine makers of Carmignano did long before it became popular.
If you're tired of red wines or would prefer a more refreshing white wine, visit the wineries near San Gimignano who produce Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a full-bodied, dry white wine with earthy notes. Over a period of 7 centuries, the wine makers around San Gimignano have perfected this wine and set themselves apart from other Italian wine regions. You'll enjoy the unique character of this wine and exploring San Gimignano, the best-preserved medieval town in all of Italy. Though you can visit San Gimignano in a half-day, consider setting a full day aside to wander through the town and go to a few wineries.
Once you're done exploring the best Italian wine regions in Tuscany, see if you can taste the differences in wine made in each region. Since they have distinct climates, each wine region produces dramatically different tasting wines.
After you've honed your palate, out it to good use as one of the amazing restaurants in Florence.
Search for Florence hotels from which to launch your wine tasting adventure.