Tuscany is famous around the world for its wines. At times it feels like every corner of the region produces its amazing cru which makes it very difficult to pick and choose. In order to buy the wine that suits your taste buds or your meal perfectly, the first step should always be to try different options.
If you are short on time, why not combine wine tasting with wine shopping? Many places offer you the option to do both.
First Things First: Find Out What You Like
Tuscany is mostly known for its reds, though it has some pretty nice whites too! The biggest varieties of red wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile are all connected to a geographical region and grape variety ratio.
Producers have to follow very rigid guidelines to produce a wine that can be called by that name. Still between one Chianti and the next, there can be a world of difference. Non-connoisseurs might enjoy being introduced to the typical wines of Tuscany by an expert sommelier or wine maker. Wines are not just about flavour and a fascinating process, but about the land and the stories of the passionate people who make them.
Where To Try and Buy Wine in Tuscany
There are at least four different places where you can taste and buy wines: wine shops, directly at the producers, enotecas and wine festivals. These give you the opportunity to be guided in your choice by an expert and also sample crus you might have otherwise ignored on a supermarket shelf.
Every Italian city has at least one wine shop, while others, like Montepulciano or Montalcino which are the capitals of their little wine empires, have one on every street corner. Get expert help to find the right wine for you within your price range.
Many wine shops will also offer wine samples that enable visitors to discover new producers and varieties.
At the Producer’s
If you are coming all the way to Italy, why not treat yourself to a wine tasting tour? Come in direct contact with the caretakers of the beautiful Tuscan countryside that have made wine into a lifestyle and livelihood. Who better to explain how wine is made then wine makers themselves?
Drinking wine becomes a communal and magical experience that connects people and cultures. Buying wine that you’ve tasted and enjoyed is always a safe bet and a great way to share your amazing adventure with friends or family back home.
Enotecas are shops with a special focus on wines. They usually have an extensive selection of wines and staff that is very well versed in food-wine pairings.
Some wines will only be available by the bottle but you should get more interesting options by the glass than you would in a traditional restaurant.
Let yourself be guided by the expert hand of your enotecario (owner of the enoteca) and should you be pleasantly surprised by his or her selection, you could buy a bottle of the same cru to take home with you.
The wine epicenters of Tuscany all organize annual wine festivals to showcase their productions. One of the most important ones for Chianti is the Greve in Chianti wine festival. These events are the perfect way to sample from different producers, find out which wine suits you best and buy a bottle or a case to take home. Since these festivals usually only showcase only one variety of wine, it would be useful to know which one you prefer to select the right period of the year to visit.