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 Winery recommendations

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mbmaverick



Posts : 3
Join date : 2008-04-01

PostSubject: Winery recommendations   Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:12 pm

I will be staying in Siena for two days in June (Sunday/Monday June 8-9). We will have a rental car. I would like to do one day for San Gimignano and one or two wineries in the Chianti area (Greve?). The next day I would like to go to Montalcino and Montepulciano. Can you make a recommendation for an itinerary? It is difficult to determine how much one can see in a day (I don’t know travel times) without rushing. We do not need a tour at every winery, just tastings and maybe one tour. Are there wineries open on the Sunday that we can visit?

Thank you so much!
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Rebecca in Tuscany
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Location : Tuscany

PostSubject: Re: Winery recommendations   Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:51 pm

Your itinerary is definitely possible. Four wine regions in two days and it’s clever to do the Chianti Classico on the same day as the Vernaccia di San Gimignano region, and the other day the Brunello di Montalcino with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. You probably won’t have time to visit more than one winery in each region – especially if you plan to visit the towns or other attractions.

Here’s my suggested itinerary, but of course make sure that you do whatever fits your pace and interests – this is just more or less what I would do.

You mentioned one of your days is a Sunday. It is true that your choice of open wineries will be limited, but a wine tour is not impossible. On this day you could go into the Chianti region. Stick to the Southern Chianti Classico which is closer to Siena and offers spectacular vistas and vino!
Head towards Castellina in Chianti which is a mere 20 minute drive from Siena and make an appointment with Loredana at the winery Castellare di Castellina (email: eswaan@castellare.it). The winery is medium sized for the Chianti Classico standards and produces some superb wines. The location is beautiful and the cellars suggestive. The tour & tasting consists of 3 reds and costs 10 Euro per person. If you’re not interested in the tour, you can go to the winery and taste without appointment and at no cost, but at that point you would be expected to buy. This will save you time and you will have extra time to visit Castellina and maybe Radda in Chianti.
Are you into good food? If you are, for lunch you should book two spots for yourselves at the restaurant of the famous butcher Dario Cecchini in Panzano – a 15 minute ride from Castellina. You have to be there at 1 pm precisely because that’s when they start serving the food. You will not regret!! http://www.solociccia.it/index.htm Razz
After lunch head for San Gimignano. It will take you around 45 minutes to get there. Visit the town if you please and go to the “wine museum” by the fortress where you can have tasting of Vernaccia wines from the region. It’s not always open, so if it isn’t seek out a wine bar where you can do the same thing. You could also try and go to a winery, but a lot of them are closed on Sundays and by the time you get to San Gimignano it’s later in the day and you might be tired and want to just hang out. Don’t forget to try the delicious Vernaccia gelato in the world famous gelateria in Piazza della Cisterna.
The ride back to Siena is around 45 minutes.


The other day you head South towards Montalcino. Montalcino is likewise a 45 minute drive. It’s a good idea to plan ahead when visiting the Brunello wineries. Some you can just walk up to and are the big and more commercial wineries like Banfi and Barbi. They have tasting rooms and serve their wines all day long either free or for a fee – but of course this options is a little impersonal and doesn’t necessarily give you the best experience. Other wineries are prestigious and require appointments, like for example Biondi Santi, Poggio di Sotto, or Poggio Antico (if you go to the latter, make sure that you get a tour with Jenna – she’s great). And others again are small and family owned and so call ahead of time to make sure they know you are coming. In some places they don’t speak English so it’s a good idea to make sure they do before you arrive or you will have a conversation consisting of gestures only (can be quite charming, I suppose). You will find a list of wineries and phone numbers on the Consorzio web-site: http://www.consorziobrunellodimontalcino.it. In asking for appointments, remember to ask about the tasting fees, because they can vary widely and you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised. On the same web-site you can download a map with the winery locations.

For lunch I recommend the simple Osteria Porta Al Cassero in the town of Montalcino which offers hearty foods at the right price, or maybe at this time you could head towards Pienza for lunch which is on your way to Montepulciano. Again, if you are foodies, go out of your way a little and head towards the town of San Giovanni d’Asso where you have a tiny restaurant “Bottega delle Crete” that serves fresh truffles (antipasto, pasta and dessert) – it’s a wonderful gastronomic experience. It’s a 20 minute ride from Montalcino. If not, Pienza is 30 minute ride from Montalcino and is noted for it’s Pecorino cheese. Montepulciano is another 15 minute ride from Pienza.

Montepulciano is the bigger of the towns and offers pretty steep streets to walk up and down! Some of the wineries of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano have direct sales points within the town so you could choose to wine taste within the town. A couple of wineries have their underground cellars within the town that anyone can freely visit and they are impressive. The quality of these wineries’ wines aren’t the best (in my opinion Rolling Eyes ) but the visit is worth your while. You will find them on your left after you walk in from the main gate. A good place to taste some wines with a little bite of something yummy is at Manuel’s place called “A Gambe di Gatto” in Via dell’Opio nel Corso. If you want to treat yourselves and stay for dinner, fix a visit at the Avignonesi winery (20 minutes from Montepulciano) and end it with a dinner at their premises which is a very special experience (but an hour’s ride back to Siena after lots of wine).

So, I hope my insights will help you a little in your wine tour planning. I would love if you could find the time to post your feed-back on the forum when you come back as to help other wine travellers.
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mbmaverick



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PostSubject: Wow!   Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:13 pm

Rebecca-

I can't thank you enough for your amazing recommendations. I certainly didn't expect such a thorough response, with such great ideas! You have made my life SO much easier, I was struggling to determine our best itinerary on my own. I will absolutely provide feedback to you once we are back!

A couple follow-up questions:
- What is your opinion of Poderi Boscarelli, Casanova di Neri or Poliziano?
- For restaurants, are you familiar with Le Contrade (Chianti) or Osteria Il Papavero (Chianti)?
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Rebecca in Tuscany
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PostSubject: Re: Winery recommendations   Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:43 pm

Hi again,

No, I’m not particularly familiar or opinionated about the restaurants that you mention.

The wineries you listed are all among the “great” wineries – you can stop in for the direct sales, but all 3 require appointments if you intend to visit the cellars.

I look forward to reading how your trip went!
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mbmaverick



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PostSubject: Review   Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:20 pm

Rebecca-

Just got back Tuesday night, and I wanted to make sure I posted here to THANK YOU again for your amazing recommendations. Our 3 days in Tuscany were unbelievable...certainly the highlight of our trip. We basically followed your itinerary, and it was great - not too much. Went to Castellare and Solo Ciccia (wow, what a meal!!). Also visited Poggio Antico, Biondi Santi, and Casanova di Neri. Had the tour and dinner at Avignonesi...unforgettable. We dined there with a group of 4 from Tennessee, and apparently they saw this posting and decided to eat there!

I will absolutely recommend your services to anyone who asks. Grazie!
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