Wine Tasting in Tuscany

Apr 17th, 2004, 06:42 PM
  #1  
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Wine Tasting in Tuscany

I just read Lorac1127's thread concerning her trip to Italy, and she was asked about wine tasting. She mentioned that 2 wineries she visited cost her 16-20 Euro to taste 4 wines along with a tour, some cheese, and salami.

I visited Sonoma last May, and wine tasting ranged from free to a nominal fee.

When I visit Tuscany and go wine tasting, I certainly don't want to spend 16-20 Euros ($25) to taste 4 wines -- I might not like them.

Is this the norm for Tuscany? I don't want to tour the cellars as I already know how wine is made. I just want to taste, see if I like, and then buy a couple of bottles. Is this possible without shelling out $20-25?



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Apr 17th, 2004, 08:42 PM
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rex
 
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This is why I say I would rather spend three hours in a good enoteca, with a 2000 bottle selection, and leave there with a half dozen (or more) bottles of stuff that I know I really like.

And return to my hotel by taxi, not having to worry about any impairment of my driving ability.

I consider wine buying a city activity; it can be nice to picnic in the bucolic setting of the countryside, surrounded by vineyards. But I do not go there to shop for wines.

Best wishes,

Rex

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Apr 17th, 2004, 09:11 PM
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Budman: We love the Sonoma area and there's nothing like going from winery to winery tasting, picking up some French bread (or sourdough), some cheese, salami, olives and wine and having a picnic, even if it's in downtown Sonoma's civic center under the trees.

We're very lucky in California to have so many areas that offer this sort of thing. Sonoma and Napa have become very crowded with their growing popularity, but we have other areas we go to that are as yet undiscovered.

Unfortunately, year before last when we drove from Rome to Florence it was pouring rain. We had intended to do some tasting in Chianti but the weather prevented that. So I can't help you in regard to costs for tasting, but if you can do it go for it. Not being able to do it because of the rain was a big disappointment for us.

We buy wine in stores too, but nothing beats bellying up to a bar of one sort or another (sometimes a plank on top of two wine barrels) having a taste and savoring the atmosphere.
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Apr 18th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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Giovanna, we had a similar experience a few years ago. We drove through Tuscany on a Sunday--and everything was closed.

Budman, that's why this time, we decided to arrange for a tour not only to taste the wine, but to be able to walk the grounds and have a relaxing few hours away from sightseeing. Besides, we had to eat lunch somewhere...
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Apr 18th, 2004, 07:57 AM
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Lorac1127, we'll have 8 days in the area -- hopefully we will have 1 or 2 nice ones.

I don't have a problem eating lunch at the winery; in fact, I think that would be fun. What I object to is $20-25 just to taste 4 wines. We might not like them.

We're looking for places on the wine route (S222), Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano areas that you can just drive up, taste, and if you like, buy a bottle or two. We did this in Alsace and along the Mosel.

Are there such places in Tuscany?
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Apr 18th, 2004, 09:10 AM
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Don't go to tuscany wanting it to be Sonoma. For one thing it is a whole lot more. There is lots of things you won't see in California, Vin Santo grapes hanging by the yards, Stainless steel tanks rising up in a former 11th century church just for starters. Many wineries produce olive oil, you might find that interesting. Also when the charges are high you usually are tasting something that is very expensive. Been to Opus lately, not exactly a nominal fee.

If tasting and buying is what you want to do stop in Greve at Le Cantine and starting at 25 cents you can taste 100 differents for 25 euros and purchase any or all.
The Lunch at Castello Banfi for 5 wines and 5 courses is a bargain at 55 euros.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 04:34 AM
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Yes, some wineries do have a charge, but most do not. I have only paid twice for wine tatsing. Once at Castello Banfi and the other at an enoteca in Umbria. Usualy if you end up buying a few bottles the tasting fee is dropped. The more important difference bewteen the US & Italian vineyards/wineries is not if they charge, it's whether you can show up at a Italian winery unannounced. Most Italian wineries prefer a phone call to schedule time. It's not like CA where you can drive up to one, one after another. In Italy only the larger wineries seem to have their facilities staffed to be ready for drive ups.
As stated previously enotecas provide a wide variety of tatsing, especially if your tasting to buy and not looking for the overall experience. The enoteca owners are usually very knowledable & enthusiastic. You can have a lot of fun & find many a good bottle.
However there is nothing like visting wineries in Italy. There is another relm of experinces to be encountered at the vineyards. The sheer beauty of the landscape coupled with hundreds or thousand year old buildings. Fanatastic cellars in the bowels of fortesses or castles. The different types of grapes, terra and styles of the Italian way. And, the people you encounter at the wineries & vineyards.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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Thanks, Lorenzi. Now I'm getting psyched.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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Welcome or Prego. There is a very good book about Tuscan wine exploring, Touring In Wine Country - Tuscany, by Maureen Ashley. Details wineries/vineyards by each region of Tuscany, list 100s of wineries, loaction, address, phone numbers, type wine/grape, if resv. are needed, etc... Also describes the unique things about some of the wineries inlcuding type of landscape, architecture, art, ...
It also list food shops, enotecas, resturants, hotels, B&B.
It is very helpful book on Tuscan wine
exploration.
Knock down a few bottles for me on your trip. My turn comes again in October.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Lorenzi, thanks. I'm going to check out that book.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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I'm glad you posted this thread, budman. I was going to post a similar one. I would like to visit a few wineries, and I don't want to pay 16-20 Euros each visit. Also, I am interested in visiting an enoteca, as rex usually advises, but I find that I have trouble remembering the wine as well later, then when I actually tasted & visited the winery.

We purchased 6 bottles at La Dernière Goutte (wine shop) in Paris last year. I opened one of them last month, but couldn't remember what the salesperson had told me about it. (It was still very yummy, though!) Whereas, I still have a couple bottles from a 1999 visit to Australia's Hunter Valley, and I can remember the winery in detail and what was said about the wine.

I've never been to Napa or Sonoma, but I've heard that it gets very busy and people take advantage of the tastings. Maybe the same thing happened in Tuscany & they want to limit the tastings to serious buyers?

When are you going to Tuscany?
 
Apr 19th, 2004, 10:16 AM
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I didn't mean that I actually "tasted... the winery)! Oops...
 
Apr 19th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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Hi Budman: I was just reading up a little on this as I am going to Tuscany in October. Karen Brown's book has a lovely itineary looping around the small southern Tuscan towns and wineries (Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino etc.), with the Abbey Sant' Antimo also included en route. She gives the times to hear the Benedictine monks chant their prayers in Latin at 11:00am or 2:45pm.

She says that in this area, many of the wine tastings are free or nominal although she does not give specifics. I did read somewhere (I think Rick Steve's) that in Montalcino, there are plenty of places in the town where you can taste Brunello for I think it was E12 for 3 tastes. I thought if I have to pay for any tastes, I will pay for this (yum).

She mentions Castello d'Albola (although this one is near Radda in Chianti) as having a complimentary tasting Mon - Friday 10:30am to 6:30pm www.albola.it.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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awbaker, we're going in mid-September for 10 days, with a base in Montepulciano. I want visit some of the wineries around the Montalcino area for their Brunellos and up to Chianti for their Sangiovese and Super Tuscans. I made some of those varieties and really like them.

I'm going to check out the book that Lorenzi recommended, then check with my landlord when we get to Montepulciano to make some reservations, etc.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 11:34 AM
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Lorenzi: Hi, do you remember the names of any particular wineries that stand out as being extraordinary? Your wonderful description has really set me off. If you were to revisit, which ones would you go to. Thank you.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 11:45 AM
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Aine, thanks. I'm not into chanting monks, but maybe my wife would enjoy something like that while I am wine tasting (she's not a wine drinker -- she's a shopper -- I'm going to be in trouble?)

We did visit the Benedictine home in Fecamp, France, where they make the B&B. Now, that was interesting.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Budman - LOL, but maybe you will be by the time you get through all those tastings!

As for being in trouble that your wife is a shopper, hopefully you will be feeling no pain by that stage. When are you going? hope you will post your trip when you get back.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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budman -- we will be staying in Montalcino the end of August. I will try to remember to tell you which wineries we visit after we return.

My husband doesn't catch a break with me -- I love to shop AND I love wine, too. Luckily he loves wine too. And no matter where we are in the world, if I'm shopping, he manages to find a pub close-by. He's a "budman" as well!
 
Apr 19th, 2004, 03:01 PM
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This is a timely thread for me. I will be in Montalcino in early June. When I read Lorac's message, I built the 32 euro into my daily budget to do the same winery trip with lunch. I hadn't thought about the price of wine tours and the fact that many were free. Thanks! This changes the daily itinerary.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 04:13 PM
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awbaker & Jackie I'm looking forward to hearing your takes on Montalcino wineries. By September, I should be able to wander the area with a blindfold.

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