Wine Tasting in Chianti Country
Grazie mille to our California and Italy wine tour sommelier, Carlos Mascherin, for these tips for wine tasting in Chianti Country. We love the local and unexpected rosè connection! Cin cin and buon giro...
Of all the amazing places to enjoy local wine in Italy, my favorite is without a doubt Chianti Classico. Chianti Classico is the original Chianti region which stretches from Florence in the North to Siena in the south and encompasses its four founding communes: Greve-in-Chianti, Radda-in-Chianti, Castellina-in-Chianti and Gaiole-in-Chianti. Wines specifically called Chianti or Chianti Classico are red and based on the Sangiovese grape, however, the regulations for quality wine production in Chianti Classico are much stricter than in the larger, surrounding Chianti region. That said, Super Tuscans and non-classified white wines are also found in abundance throughout the Chianti Classico region of Italy.
A few of my favorite vineyards to visit in Chianti Classico are Fattoria di Rignana in Greve-in-Chianti and Castello di Ama in Gaiole-in-Chianti. Just south of Florence, nestled in the hills of Greve-in-Chianti, overlooking beautiful Val di Pesa is Fattoria di Rignana. Owner Cosimo Gericke is dedicated to upholding the traditions of Chianti Classico while respecting Mother Earth via biological farming and production methods. Rignana’s wines are made exclusively with grapes grown on their property: Sangiovese being predominant, followed by Canaiolo Nero, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Rignana also produces a fabulous rosè, which was mastermined by my good winemaker friend Diego Ciurletti from Trento in the northern Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige where rosè wines are beyond heritage.
In the southern reaches of Chianti Classico thrives the internationally acclaimed and breathtakingly beautiful Castello di Ama of Gaiole-in-Chianti. Castello di Ama rose to glory and international stardom in 1982 when their 100% Merlot Super Tuscan, L’Apparita, beat France’s legendary Châteaux Petrus (also 100% Merlot and among the most expensive wines in the world) in the international blind tasting Challenge of Zurich. Their tour consists not only of their remarkable facility, vineyards and cantina, but also of their amazing art collection which consists of installations by international artists throughout the property.
A visit to either is a welcome and rich culinary experience for all, from wine connoisseur to those who are exploring Italian wine varietals for the first time.
Sommelier Carlos Mascherin first fell in love with wine while living abroad in Bologna, Italy. He has worked in Santa Barbara's wine industry--both in hospitality and winemaking--for over ten years. In 2010, he planted 110 vines of Sangiovese in Santa Barbara from which he makes a small amount of wine for gatherings with family and friends. In 2012 he founded Santa Barbara's first guild for wine professionals, Sommeliers of the American Riviera, a community of over thirty members. Carlos returns to Italy every year to guide visitors on private wine tours of his favorite producers. Arte al Sole families have a unique opportunity for a wine tour with Carlos for mom and dad while the kids are having fun exploring the art of Italy in Florence or Umbria.