Tuscany Touring: Chianti vs Montalcino

Hello there fellow Beserkers, next year my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and I turn the big 4-0. We are planning on getting a villa in the Tuscan countryside with our parents and kids.

My biggest issue has been finding a centrally located place to get to Chianti and Montalcino. Bolgheri is too far and if we get to do that it will be a separate leg we do after the family part. I have been to Montalcino and Chianti for a day while in Florence many moons ago and get the basic gist of distances and terrain.

SO my fellow wine lover travelers…Montalcino or Chianti? We have found a few places that get us into Montalcino in 20 minutes and then lower Chianti in 40…but where do we spend more time?

I lean to Chianti as I have been liking wines from Montevertine, Fontodi, Ama, and Felsina for a long time and I think the wines are better more recently as well shedding some of the 90s/00s excess of new oak if they even had it to begin with.

Then there is my first Sangiovese love…Montalcino. I love my Poggione, Biondi-Santi, Poggio Antico, Fuligni, Pertimali, Stella, etc…as down as I get on some for being too fruit driven and oaky these days with higher degrees of abv, when these wines are on, they are irresistible.

Am I splitting hairs? Should I just choose one and cut down on the driving time?

Also, any great Villa reccs would be greatly appreciated…we are down to a few but would be happy to hear about anyone else’s great experiences there in a Villa! You can never have too much guidance or advice from those with good experiences!

Ciao!

The Manetti family, which owns Fontodi, rents villas and apartments on its property around Panzano. I have been the guest of friends who annually rented Villa Pecille and Villa La Rota and enjoyed our visits greatly Take a look:

http://www.tenutedipecille.com/Presentation.aspx?lang=en-US

Not sure how far the Chianti region is from Montepulciano, but my GF and I stayed there last year. It was about a 40 minute drive over to Montalcino. We stayed at an agriturismo a mile outside of town. If you’ve never been to Montepulciano I would recommend it. Great restaurants, good authentic shopping and the vino is pretty decent as well.

And +1 on your love for Brunello. Amazing wines with high QPR’s (usually)

Montepulciano is indeed a nice option to service both regions - and IMO arguably better value than either, though not especially soft / easy going wines. FWIW I often prefer their structure / leanness. Brunello very much my least favoured of the three regions, even ignoring the pricing.

We were last there 4 years ago. We stayed at an Agritourismo near the town of Chianciano Terme which is very close to Montepulciano. This was a family holiday with two young children so it was not centred around wine. We did day trips to Montalcino, Pienza, etc

Prior to that we had stayed in Montalcino itself when visiting with friends doing winery visits.

Chianciano Terme also has decent transport links by bus and rail, so might be a good choice if you fancy a day not driving. It also gives an option of something non-wine related / relaxing, especially useful if anyone in the party really isn’t into wine other than just drinking it.

My wife and I did “winery touring” trips to Tuscany in 2012 and 2015. We booked mostly BdM wineries but did also fit in a few Chianti wineries. We stayed at the Hotel Athena in Siena. Siena was convenient to both wine areas and the hotel was just down the street from Porta S. Marco so it was easy to drive in and out of town without dealing with the ZTL but in easy walking distance to the heart of the old town (Piazza del Campo) and lots of restaurants. Plus, the hotel includes breakfast and free parking. And when taking a break from tasting wine, it was an hour or less to drive to Florence, Volterra, or San Gimignano and an hour and a half or less to Assisi or Orvieto for cultural excursions.