Wineries Near Florence Italy

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DavidFrankil
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Wineries Near Florence Italy

#1 Post by DavidFrankil » November 13th, 2017, 11:19 am

We're heading to Florence next week - already have two days of wine tasting in Montalcino and Chianti scheduled. But my wife and her (former) sister-in-law are looking to go outlet shopping one afternoon, and I'm skipping it. So looking for options close-in to Florence for a quick tasting trip.

Know I could just park myself at an enoteca, but the visits to the wineries are more enjoyable.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.
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Wineries Near Florence Italy

#2 Post by Robert.Fleming » November 15th, 2017, 9:17 am

The three that I know that are closest to Florence are:
  • Antinori (DOC Chianti Classico), about 20 km, just off the road to Siena
  • Capezzana (DOC Carmignano) 15-20 km, in the direction of Prato
  • Castello di Nipozzano (DOC Chianti Rufina) about 15 km east of Florence, a beautiful property with a 1000-year-old castle
I would be sure to make arrangements in advance for any of them.

Should you ultimately decide on an enoteca instead of a trip to the country, I highly recommend Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, across the piazza from the Pitti Palace. Email the owner, Zeno Floravanti (zeno@pittigolaecantina.com), tell him the Atlanta crowd sent you, and ask him to set up a tasting lunch for you.

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#3 Post by Jud Reis » November 16th, 2017, 12:17 am

+1on Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina. Just a fantastic take with great wines and great people.

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Wineries Near Florence Italy

#4 Post by Kevin Sidders » November 16th, 2017, 9:09 am

Antinori's new winery is a treasure of modern architecture, and they have a huge tasting room, tours, and a quite nice casual restaurant on the "roof" with both indoor and outdoor seating. It's just off the main motorway to Chianti, and you can easily show up without an appointment.

+! as well on Enoteca Pitti Gola -- my favorite wine spot in Florence. Also I heard that they recently opened an osteria just a few hundred meters away -- http://www.osteriadellenoteca.com/ -- but I haven't yet been...
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Wineries Near Florence Italy

#5 Post by DavidFrankil » November 16th, 2017, 3:58 pm

Thank you for the excellent suggestions!
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Wineries Near Florence Italy

#6 Post by Riccardo Campinoti » November 17th, 2017, 9:31 am

Kevin Sidders wrote:
+! as well on Enoteca Pitti Gola -- my favorite wine spot in Florence. Also I heard that they recently opened an osteria just a few hundred meters away -- http://www.osteriadellenoteca.com/ -- but I haven't yet been...
Been many times already. Imho the best place in Florence to eat great steak with a good wine list and wine service, meaning wines served at the right temperature
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#7 Post by G Kramer » November 17th, 2017, 12:02 pm

Riccardo Campinoti wrote:
Kevin Sidders wrote:
+! as well on Enoteca Pitti Gola -- my favorite wine spot in Florence. Also I heard that they recently opened an osteria just a few hundred meters away -- http://www.osteriadellenoteca.com/ -- but I haven't yet been...
Been many times already. Imho the best place in Florence to eat great steak with a good wine list and wine service, meaning wines served at the right temperature
A recent visit to the Osteria supports Riccardo’s impressions. Lovely room, a fine steak by European standards, very good pasta and terrific sevice. Also appreciated that the waiter recommended the least expensive of their 3 premium steal options.
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A pleasure discussing our wine selection with the knowledgeable staff while looking into their fridge.
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Another interesting vinous experience in Florence is Todo Modo. A bookstore with a sizable enoteca in the back. We went late afternoon and the crowd was a great mix of older men, young moms with kids and intellectuals drinking wine, tea and coffee. We didn’t eat but they have a nicely curated list of wines by the glass.
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Lastly, a strong recommendation for the Enoteca Coquinarius. Incredible wine list (though not so much by the glass) the best salumi e formaggi platter we had in Italy and excellent crostini. A pleasure talking wine with the owners over 2 visits and drank from their well priced Radikon horizontal both times.
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Wineries Near Florence Italy

#8 Post by geoffpm » November 18th, 2017, 5:40 am

I have had great experiences at Villa Pillo in Gambassi Terme about 45 min from Florence -http://www.villapillo.com/

Owned by the owner of Williams Seylem, the wines are all interesting including the Cab Franc and syrah. Their olive oil is spectacular and cheap. They also ship free to the US.
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#9 Post by DavidFrankil » November 18th, 2017, 3:23 pm

We leave tomorrow for Florence - have a driver for Tues and Wed, appointments at Valdicava and Ciacci Piccolomini in Montalcino, and Fontodi and La Massa in Chianti (along with other general sightseeing, lunches, etc.)

Email sent to Zeno at Enoteca Pitti, but no response yet - will follow up when we get there on Monday.

Thank you for all the suggestions, we're really looking forward to the trip!
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#10 Post by Kevin Sidders » December 13th, 2017, 1:05 pm

Any feedback from your trip?
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Wineries Near Florence Italy

#11 Post by DavidFrankil » December 24th, 2017, 12:27 pm

Sorry to be so late posting these, work got crazy busy when I got back.

We established our base camp in Florence, and did day trips from there. Our hotel was the centrally-located Hotel L’Orologio (Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 24, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy -
http://www.hotelorologioflorence.com/#home), with a great shoulder season rate booking directly on the website. Rooms were well-appointed, and included an extensive breakfast on the top floor, with a view of all Florence.

The bar on the first floor had an amazing happy hour spread of small bites, complimentary with a glass of wine – it could easily have been dinner.

Wine Highlights –

We did two days of tasting visits, one in Chianti and one in Montalcino. The downside of staying in Florence was that each required a decent drive, with our guide Giovanni.

Day one, stop #1 was Antinori, which was on the way to our first scheduled appointment. The architecture was the most interesting part of the visit, which was otherwise a sterile ‘belly up to the tasting bar’ and was relatively expensive. Best was the Solaia – disappointing that they didn’t have any Tignanello to taste. And the start of a continuing trend, the wine is less expensive in New Jersey than in Italy.

Stop #2 was Fontodi, and the experience is best described as perfunctory. Granted, it is off-season, but they seemed surprised to see us (despite an appointment), and one of the office staff led us through a quick tasting.

The tasting room was beautiful, and the Flaccionello was superb, but we were in and out within about 30 minutes.

Stop #3 was hands-down one of the highlights of the trip – La Massa. Giorgio Primo is one of our favorite wines, and we were delighted to be able to schedule the visit. A bit off the beaten path, Giovanni had to backtrack a few times to find the right way. It is a beautiful property, nestled on the side of a hill and into a valley. We spent nearly two hours there, walking part of the property, getting details on everything from geology and soil types to the different grapes used in the blends.

The owner has two children – Giorgio and Carla, hence the names of two of their blends. He is also a Ferrari fan, as we learned from the design of part of the cellar. Two rows of stainless steel tanks are meant to mimic the pistons in a sports car, the black-and-white tiles on the floor a checkered flag, and the other colors part of the plan as well (http://www.lamassa.com/gallery/index.html). Very cool.

We caught the sun setting from the top of the hill, and Giovanni rushed us to the car because he was concerned about wild boars crossing the backroads at darkness. Apparently, they don’t see well, and his brother had an accident with a boar a few years ago.

The second day was in Montalcino, and we started with a bang – Valdicava, another of our favorite wines, literally in the shadow of Montalcino itself. The land has both wines, the cellars, and an extensive horse farm, where they train horses for endurance events. We were taken on the tour by the great-grandson of the founder, who had trained as an engineer and then returned to work at the family business. Despite describing himself as the intern, he was both knowledgeable and exceptionally proud of his legacy. As we walked the vineyards, he pointed out the house that his great-grandfather was born in, and the differences between the old vines and the new ones, and how they plan to use the horses for some of the vineyard work when they retire from competition.

The tasting itself was from giant casks, and we were able to taste through the entire lineup, including the Madonna del Piano. The wine was amazing, the Madonna even more so – it was our first time trying it.

We ended the tour watching a group of workers applying the Madonna del Piano labels – they were very proud of the precision required in getting the labels straight by hand, and rightfully so.

The next stop was at Ciacci Piccolomini, which was more commercial and sales-y – the rep seemed like she was just moving through the line-up quickly and looking to see whether we were buyers or not. We tasted the entire line-up – good but not great, and have to say they and the experience suffered greatly by comparison to our just having visited and tasted Valdicava. The wines were less expensive in New Jersey, but we did ship back some olive oil.

Other highlights –

Taking the advice of a few WB posters, we scheduled the tasting lunch at Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina (http://pittigolaecantina.com/) in Florence, and it was a true highlight of the trip. The food was superb – two best for me were my chicken liver terrine on toast and tagliatelle with veal ragu – the others in our party were equally impressed with their choices. All accompanied by a great selection of wines curated by the sommelier, from a beginner of prosecco to Chianti, Brunello and Barolo. Our group included my wife’s niece and nephew, plus their mother – we hadn’t had a chance to really visit in nearly a year, the nearly three hours we spent together were priceless.

Officina Profumo - Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – http://www.smnovella.it/?lang=en - the world’s oldest pharmacy and perfume shop, and just around the corner from our hotel. In doing research, I found out that they have an outstanding men’s shaving soap, and when we got there were amazed at the building itself – literally a museum. And the shaving soap is awesome, and half the price at the Farmaceutica.

Truffle day – my wife arranged the entire day, and it was also spectacular. We took the train from Florence to San Miniato, where we were met by our guide, Massimo. A tax accountant by day and truffle hunter in his spare time, Massimo took us to the forest to hunt for truffles. We met up with his friend Marco and faithful dog Pepe, an 11 y.o. mixed breed who we were told was his best truffle dog. I have to admit I was skeptical, figuring we’d be finding some ‘stunt truffles’ – but after about 20 minutes Pepe did his job, alerting on a truffle and digging furiously to unearth it. He found one white and one black truffle.

After we finished, Massimo took us back to his modest apartment, where his sister made us a truffle-themed lunch. First course was a chickpea soup with truffle shavings, second course was homemade ricotta cheese-stuffed ravioli with a bit of olive oil and truffles on top, third was egg whites baked in small crockpots, with egg yolks and truffles added at the end and covered to cook. Dessert was homemade white chocolate and truffle candy, with homemade limoncello.

It felt like we were guests in their house, it was a fantastic experience.

From there we headed to the small town of San Miniato itself, for the annual truffle festival. Imagine an entire town with purveyors devoted to all varieties of pecorino cheese, with everything from pears to truffle flavoring. Add to that every form of sausage, salami, prosciutto and ham possible, and then on top of that include the freshest olives you’ve ever tasted. Oh yes, and there was amazing bread and olive oil too. And fresh roasted chestnuts. And fresh pasta and pasta sauces. And truffles - upon truffles - upon truffles - in every form you can imagine.

There were probably a dozen pavilions with the food from local farmers, cooks, butchers and cheesemongers, showcasing their respective wares. For local color, there were marching bands and tastings from local wineries.

Just an amazing day.

Happy to share any more details if anyone wants them, we will be going back to Tuscany. 
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#12 Post by Kaitlyn K. » January 2nd, 2018, 5:06 pm

Thanks for such a nice write-up. I'll be heading there in March and was thinking about where to make an appointment while we are in the Chianti area.
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#13 Post by JeremyYoung » January 13th, 2018, 12:19 pm

Can you let me know the contact information for Valdicava as I could not find it on the web site!
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#14 Post by DavidFrankil » January 14th, 2018, 7:40 am

JeremyYoung wrote:Can you let me know the contact information for Valdicava as I could not find it on the web site!
That was one of the benefits of having a driver/guide - I just gave him a list of wineries, and he contacted them directly to book the visits. So unfortunately, I don't have contact information for any of them.
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Re: Wineries Near Florence Italy

#15 Post by Dav1d S@wyer » March 29th, 2019, 8:10 pm

DavidFrankil wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 7:40 am
JeremyYoung wrote:Can you let me know the contact information for Valdicava as I could not find it on the web site!
That was one of the benefits of having a driver/guide - I just gave him a list of wineries, and he contacted them directly to book the visits. So unfortunately, I don't have contact information for any of them.
Great write up. How did you find your driver? We're going at the end of May and I need one for a day or two. We're staying in Radda in Chianti but I plan to do a full day tasting in Montalcino. Driver will be necessary.

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Re: Wineries Near Florence Italy

#16 Post by Riccardo Campinoti » March 30th, 2019, 11:13 am

Dav1d S@wyer wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 8:10 pm
DavidFrankil wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 7:40 am
JeremyYoung wrote:Can you let me know the contact information for Valdicava as I could not find it on the web site!
That was one of the benefits of having a driver/guide - I just gave him a list of wineries, and he contacted them directly to book the visits. So unfortunately, I don't have contact information for any of them.
Great write up. How did you find your driver? We're going at the end of May and I need one for a day or two. We're staying in Radda in Chianti but I plan to do a full day tasting in Montalcino. Driver will be necessary.
If you need a driver in Montalcino contact Alessandro
http://www.montalcinotravel.com/?lg=en
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Re: Wineries Near Florence Italy

#17 Post by DavidFrankil » April 1st, 2019, 9:32 am

Dav1d S@wyer wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 8:10 pm
DavidFrankil wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 7:40 am
JeremyYoung wrote:Can you let me know the contact information for Valdicava as I could not find it on the web site!
That was one of the benefits of having a driver/guide - I just gave him a list of wineries, and he contacted them directly to book the visits. So unfortunately, I don't have contact information for any of them.
Great write up. How did you find your driver? We're going at the end of May and I need one for a day or two. We're staying in Radda in Chianti but I plan to do a full day tasting in Montalcino. Driver will be necessary.
My wife found him, think she used either Yelp or Tripadvisor - not sure.

His name is Giovanni Sirabella - nice guy and very dependable, good English. However - I'd say he was more of a driver versus a wine expert, i.e., no sommellier-type credentials. We just gave him a list of the wineries we wanted to visit, and he made all the arrangements.


Giovanni Sirabella - sunflower.tours@alice.it

website: www.sunflower-tours.com
website: www.giovannisirabella.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/giovanni.sirabella.14
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