Amidst the golden haze of rolling hills, you will feel as though you have been transported into a classic Italian romance novel, which advantageously involves a lot of wine. Pinching yourself – no it’s not a dream, you are in Tuscany.
Where countryside meets culture, the picturesque Tuscan landscape is defined by world-class vineyards, silvery olive groves and glorious fields of sunflowers. The region is home to many historic hilltop towns and art cities; including Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Arezzo, to name just a few.
Many visitors travel here primarily to visit ancient landmarks in these cities and discover the fascinating cultural heritage. Whilst these attractions alone are enough reason to visit Tuscany, we offer our guests the experiences that may not necessarily come to mind straight away, but are often the most memorable. Think, taking to the open road in a classic car, horseback riding through vast countryside, panoramic views from a hot air balloon… and of course wine tasting! The region’s wine is world-renowned so we believe a trip to Tuscany can’t possibly be complete without an afternoon spent tasting some of the finest wines money can buy.
So why is Tuscany so famous for its wine?
The quality soil, perfect climate and long winemaking tradition have given Tuscan wine it’s well-deserved worldwide fame. The history of viticulture in Tuscany dates back to its settlements by the Etruscans in the 8th century BC. Amphora remnants originating in the region show that Tuscan wine was exported to southern Italy and Gaul as early as the 7th century BC.
More than 80% of the region’s production is in red wine. The Sangiovese grape is Tuscany’s most prominent grape and lifeblood of its wine production; arguably the secret to Tuscany’s unrivaled wine-making heritage. However, many different clonal varieties exist, as many towns have their own local version of Sangiovese.
The name ‘Sangiovese’ derives from Latin, Sanguis Jovis, “blood of Jupiter”. The Sangiovese grape has characteristics which set it apart from other grape varieties; ruby red in appearance, it has a unique set of aromas and firm tannins, and is high in acidity. The young grape exhibits aromas of cherry, violets, plums and blueberries. With age it acquires heartier notes, and can even develop sweet tobacco, coffee, and spices as a result of specific aging techniques and practices.
Some of the regions most well known wines include Chianti Classico (Annata, Riserva and Gran Selezione), so-called ‘Super-Tuscans’ like Tignanello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino, which are made purely from Sangiovese or in a blend where this grape variety dominates.
Italy creates wine with passion and the country’s historical roots in mind. However, the only way to truly understand the craftsmanship is to taste the wine itself.
Our Winery of Choice – Castiglion del Bosco
Set northwest of Montalcino in the Val d’Orcia, UNESCO World Heritage site, Castiglion del Bosco has stood in its current site for over 800 years and we believe it is the pinnacle of artisanal excellence. The estate has been home to noble Sienese families, who brought the illustrious art of Pietro Lorenzetti which can still be admired in the small church on the grounds. It is clear that farming was always the foundation of the estate, as seen in the stables, olive groves, farmland, and vineyards.
Named as one of Decanter’s top ten wineries to visit in Tuscany, Castiglion del Bosco became a founding member of the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium in 1967, and is one of the first Italian wineries to achieve DOC and DOCG status. These designations were created to differentiate the top Italian wines, they account for criteria such as the type of grape, where they are grown, harvest yield and the use of barrels.
Although winemaking has been an art for many centuries at Castiglion del Bosco, during the last decade, vineyards were cultivated solely for domestic use by the families living on the estate. Today, the estate is owned and run by Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo, who transformed it in 2003 with a complete renewal of both the architecture and the winemaking processes, including the construction of a new winery in 2004 – a modern and efficient facility where cellars can hold up to 3,000 litres of wine.
Whilst staying at a Buckingham & Lloyds villa in Tuscany, you will have access to a 24/7 concierge, who would be happy to arrange your full itinerary or book a few bespoke experiences such as wine tasting, as and when you want. We are now taking villa bookings for summer 2022. You can contact our team to reserve your dates with us now.