Red, white, or pink?
A frosty pink glass of summer in a bottle is a definite #mood. And while the pink stuff has had more than its share of oenophile shade, those days might be over. One of the world’s oldest winemakers, has been reimagining rosé in serious wine country. And in this land of chic medieval castles, art deco buildings, and gorgeous terroir they’ve managed to make Alìe: a rosé that’s so drinkable, so perfectly millenial-pink that it’s worth building a wine tour around.
Every great wine tour has to start somewhere. And the journey to one of Tuscany’s most famous rosés starts in one of its most well-situated restaurants.
Restaurante Frescobaldi sits in Piazza della Signora, sandwiched between Gucci’s most exclusive store and some of Florence’s oldest and most beautiful statues. Rosé lovers sit on the balcony under the impossible blue of the Tuscan sky because there are no wines better to start drinking at noon.
But before you order your glass, head through the cozy medieval-esque interior to (make the excuse of) wash your hands in the sumptuous powder room and then head back up and into the back room where one of Italy’s largest trees is painted on the wall. It’s the Frescobaldi family tree: a six hundred-year-old lineage of one of Italy’s oldest and richest families. Near the top of the tree, the Frescobaldis rivaled the Medicis in supporting some of Italy’s most famous renaissance painters.
At the bottom of the tree, in more recent times, the Frescobaldis discovered that their ancestral lands were perfectly suited for making a particularly delicious variety of rosé: featuring sea air, rolling hills, and one of the region’s most gorgeously modern buildings to house one of its most gorgeously modern wines and the travelers who travel the world to see it.
The head vintner of Frescobaldi estate wears pink polo shirts with the collar popped. On his vineyard, they open sparkling wine with scimitars and make a mean seafood ravioli–which they’ll teach you to make too.
It’s a place not only for serious wine drinkers, but for those who like to have fun with what they drink. And this is a land that produces bright, whimsical whites and rosés as well as other deeper reds, all of which you can see and taste on a ride in the head vintner’s beat up ’80s truck or in its gorgeous tasting room. where you can try different vintages via a wine thief (a delicate-looking glass contraption designed to siphon a little maturing wine right from the barrell), talk terroir, and get as wine nerdy as you like.
Or, you can simply lounge in front of the big, bay windows, look over the lavender, and rosé all day, Tuscany’s way. Frescobaldi’s tours are designed to accommodate those who have come to wine country to try their world-famous rosé, those who want to talk grapes about it, and those interested in an entirely different experience.
Roughly an hour’s ride by private coach from Frescobaldi vineyard sits Castel Giocondo. The medieval castle recently turned chic residence offers sumptuously appointed rooms, central air conditioning, and showers with enough room to do jumping jacks in.
It’s one of wine country’s chicest hotel stays where another of Frescobaldi’s vintners waits to show wine lovers who have fallen in love with rosé, a more serious side of wine. Here they play with cabernet, merlot, and the richer inland wine varieties: deeper reds with more storied histories.
Arrange a dinner with the head vintner and you can taste each variety with delicacies like tomato aspic, pici, and other dishes made in the region designed to bring out the nuance of flavor in each drink.
And once you’re finished, it’s time to experience the real star of the estate: the vibrating hot tub. Housed in the on-property spa, it’s a deep, hot pool with panels that vibrate the water for a sonic massage that will shake your wine hang-ups loose and leave you ready for another glass of rosé.
Once your wine tour is over, you can walk the grounds, watch the locals hunt wild boar, or stay a few days and put the excellent kitchen through its paces as you eat and drink your way through this unique corner of Italy.
All Photos Courtesy Of Meg Butler