The country of Italy brings many things to mind: mopeds, the Renaissance, tantalizing food and wine. Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and is responsible for about one-fifth of world wine production.
There are twenty wine regions in Italy, that correspond to the twenty administrative regions. Today we’ll be exploring four of our faves.
When most people think of scenic vineyards in Italy, they picture Tuscany. They see rows upon rows of grapes, nestled safely between rolling hills of fantastically green grass. If that is what you’re searching for, these two vineyards will be perfect for you.
Castello Banfi lives up to its luxurious name – despite the fact that the place is barely twenty-years-old! With 2,400 acres of vines, about 13 individual vineyards and an 11th century castle on the grounds, a trip to this vineyard is sure to highlight your visit to Italy. There’s housing, two restaurants and a variety of tours to go on whether you plan on spending a day or a weekend on site.
The Castello Banfi rests beneath the shadow of Monte Amiata (the second highest mountain in Italy) and is a close drive to either Florence or Siena. Between the wines, the scenery and the Italian hospitality – this is a perfect spot to visit on your tour of Italy.
The Greppo Estate is owned by the Biondi Santi family and is located in Montalcino. This vineyard gives a variety of tours and offers on-line booking so that you’ll be set and ready to go once you arrive. A tour can include anything from a quick thirty minute visit to the wine cellar to a two-hour expedition.
One of the best times to visit may be mid September when the grapes are being harvested – by hand! The wines on this vineyard vary from the Riserva (made only in exceptionally good years from vines older than 25 years) to the younger Red Stripe and the fruity White Label.
Located in southern Tuscany, the Greppo Estate will leave you with the ability to take a day trip to Siena to explore the medieval architecture and perhaps, if you’re around at the right time, catch the city’s historic palio .
Located in the northwestern corner of Italy, this picturesque, fog-shrouded, often overlooked region is responsible for 12 DOCG wines. Great reds like Barolo, Barbera, Barbaresco and sparkling whites like Moscata d’Asti and Spumante are a perfect complement to the truffles the area is famous for.
If you’re in Alba, stop at Pio Cesare , the oldest and largest remaining producer in this area. The winery was created in 1881 and still remains five generations later. Pop by for a visit to the ancient cellars, whose walls date back to the Roman Empire, and sprawling 130 acres of vines and taste the wines that are made using a combination of modern and traditional techniques.
A smaller option is Cascina Minella. Located in Dogliani, it’s a relatively new winery, started in 2002 and consists of only about 12 acres of Dolcetto and Barbera grape vines. They prefer traditional methods, but mainly age their wines in steel tanks, with the exception of one which is aged in wood barrels. The owners welcome guests for wine tastings, but prefer that you book in advance.
The region of Lazio is best known for housing Rome, yet what many overlook are the breath-taking mountains, the luscious beaches and the divine taste of their wines. Predominantly known for its whites, Lazio is the perfect place to see and taste some of the best grapes Italy has to offer. A few white wines that hail from the area include Marino, Est! Est!! Est!!!, Colli Albani and Frascati. They all come almost exclusively from Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes, or a combination of the two.
Principe Pallavincia, a large vineyard in Colonna, is divided into three main sections: Colonna, Pasolina and Marmorelle. Colonna holds the main cellars, the bottling line and the restaurant L’Osteria della Colonna where you can end the day with a glass of their finest wine.
Close by, the Pasolina vineyards are spread across the lush landscape. The grapes surround a medieval tower, which offers brilliant views of Rome. This is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for some classic Italian scenery. This vineyard specializes in red wines, while the last (Marmorelle) produces more aromatic varieties such as Chardonnay.
A visit to Colonna will place you perfectly close to Rome, giving you a chance to explore the fantastic history of the city, as well as the perfect opportunity to see the countryside.
In Cerveteri, Principe Pallavincia has another vineyard – though this one is tucked away in the country and a good distance from Rome. Instead, when you venture here you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful sunlight, refreshing sea breezes and miles upon miles of greenery. Not to mention, you’ll be in a prime location to pick up a bottle of Sangiovese, Merlot or Syrah – the three wines in which this vineyard specializes. The warm and dry climate, mingled with limestone soils, creates a unique and intense flavor in this vineyard’s wines. Plus, the best part of this trip is that after a relaxing morning of strolling through grapes and sipping wine, you can take a short drive over to the beach and take a dip into the Mediterranean!
With it’s warm temperatures, rich soil and sea breezes Sicily has the ideal conditions for growing grapes and producing wine. In fact, some statistics show that Sicily produces more wine per-year than Australia, New Zealand and Hungary combined.
Located in Marsala, a charming seaport city, the historic winery Donnafugata, is open for tours, tastings and dining. This is a family owned business begun in the 1980′s that grew from nothing into one of Italy’s finest wineries. It is also one of the most extensive, covering a wide variety of wines from the exquisite Ben Rye to the velvety Mille e una Notte. As usual, this vineyard is perfect for a quick day trip as you’re passing through or a lovely weekend away. It’s a short trip from the well-known city of Palermo, giving you plenty of options to fill your days with!
Tasca D’Almerita is a fantastic winery that consistently receives praise for its wine and exports to over sixty countries across the globe. Set in the pristine countryside, visitors are welcomed into the Regaleali Estate, where you can have a wine tasting or even do a tasting lunch! This vineyard uses both indigenous and international grapes, giving their wines unique and full flavors. This is the place to go for those looking to get far from the cities and the coast, for those who long for nothing but the beauty of the Sicilian countryside.
Thirsty yet? Tell us about your favorite Italian wines or any vineyards you’ve visited and your experiences there!
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