A holiday spent relaxing in one of the delightful Tuscan villas available to rent is about more than just luxury accommodation, beautiful countryside and local history – although that’s a major part. However, staying in one of the Tuscan villas will also give you the opportunity to explore the fabulous world renowned wines produced in this part of Italy.
The famous wines Chianti
Probably the best-known wine from this region is Chianti. Originally it was bottled in the charmingly named ‘fiasco’ flask in a straw basket, and you’ll still see that from time to time, but it’s rare these days. Chianti is one of those wines not everybody loves. It can, sometimes, be slightly ‘cloyish’ to the palate, but it’s important to remember that Chianti is produced over a large region and there are many different versions.
For example, it’s not widely known that vineyards such as Vernaccia di San Gimignano could, if they chose, also sell their wine as Chianti. That’s because many of the control area definitions overlap here, meaning individual vineyards have a degree of licence about what they call their product. What that means to the amateur wine taster is that it makes sense to try a variety of different wines from the Chianti region; you’ll certainly find several that are a million miles away from some of the rougher Chiantis you might have tried back home.
The best of the rest
One of the things that sometimes irks local wine producers is the assumption that all wines of the region are Chiantis – which is completely untrue. Consider, for example, Sassicaia – a really good, rich red wine whose taste is close to a Bordeaux.
The Frescobaldi family have been making wine since the early 14th century and even have archive contracts signed by Henry VIII of England, covering wine supplies. Their wines are based on grapes traditionally regarded as French, but their final products are deliciously different and very Tuscan in nature.
The wines of the region are not all dry, and a case in point is the famous Vin Santo dessert wine, which can be produced as a red or a rosé. It’s made from the Chianti Classico grapes and is loved all over Italy, though perhaps rather less well known outside.
For wine aficionados who come to this wonderful area to stay in one of the superb Tuscan villas, there are myriad places to sample a large selection of wines often not widely available outside of the region. Wherever your villa is located, you’ll never be too far from a vineyard and the opportunity to do some tasting.
A word to the wise
Do be sensible when sampling the wines of the region, however – particularly if you’re driving to and from the Tuscan villas. Don’t believe the myth that the police in Italy turn a blind-eye to foreigners caught drink driving. Italy actually has lower maximum blood alcohol limits than the UK and, if you’re caught, you face serious trouble.