Chelsea and I love wine. Like, really love wine. Like, every time we have a bad day we each drink a bottle of wine at night. But it’s always cheap. Like $3 cheap! God, it gives us the worst headaches.
So when we were in Florence and oh so close to Tuscany, I knew we had to figure out a way to get up there.
Dan, the guy whose apartment we were staying at, told us to check out a wine tour through Viator tours. His company, Bus2Alps, did not have any trips to Tuscany coming up so he said Viator would be a good second choice. We found that we could do a half day tour and wine tasting from Florence for only 45 Euro. Compared to everything else we found online, it seemed to be our cheapest option for what we wanted.
Our first night in Florence we had a little too much late night fun so we decided we should wait a few days to recover before we went on a half day drinking tour. So we planned to do the tour on Friday.
Well, of course, being as last minute as I am, I did not actually go to book the tour for the four of us until late Thursday afternoon. This is when I found out that this particular tour through Viator does not go on Fridays. Only their full day, more expensive tour goes on Fridays. Great, our cheap, 45 Euro half day tour was absolutely not an option for Friday and Caitlin and Meghan left Saturday so Friday was our only day to get up to Tuscany.
I did a little more research on Google and found another half day tour that DID run on Friday for 75 Euro a person through Under the Tuscan Sun tours. It was definitely more than we wanted to pay but we figured, when will we get back to Tuscany? Probably not ever or at least not for a very long time. So we booked the tour.
On Friday, we were picked up at 3 p.m. right outside of the apartment where we were staying. We were picked up by a driver, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me, in a Mercedes van. I was told over email beforehand that we were having lunch in the Chianti region of Tuscany, a wine tasting and a tour of the vineyard. When we got in the car, the driver started rattling off options of what we could do after the tour. We had no idea there was an option so we just told him to pick something.
The drive up to the Fattoria Montecchio in the Chianti region of Tuscany was absolutely beautiful. It took about an hour from Florence.
We made a quick pit stop at the Piazza del Michelangelo which has one of the best views of Florence. The rolling hills were exactly as I imagined them.
When we arrived at the vineyard, it was absolutely breathtaking. The building was beautiful and covered in ivy. The property was over 270 hectares which included grapes and olive trees for olive oil. They only produce red wine and rose and of course, olive oil!
I’ve never actually taken a wine tour before despite my love of wine. I don’t know much about it and I’m usually a strictly white wine drinker back in the States. But while in Florence, I’ve loved all the red wines I have tried. Maybe I’m turning Italiano! Either way, it was really fun to learn how the wine is made even though I don’t remember every last detail.
We toured through the wine cellars while our guide explained the process to us.
The vineyard we went to produces Chianti Classico and Chianti Riserva which are both classic Italian reds and are regulated by the government. The process is very long and strict in order to be able to be a licensed producer of these two types of wines. The vineyard also makes Super Tuscans which are more experimental wines that are not regulated by the government.
We tried the Classico and the Riserva as well as two Super Tuscans. To be honest, the Classico tasted like cheap wine. This is more of a house wine in Italy. Our guide said everyone grows up drinking it like water. I think I was a little turned off after hearing that. The Riserva wine was older and darker and more “woody” as it sits in the oak barrels longer. Of these two, I liked the Riserva better.
I hate Merlot in the states. It’s what my dad has pretty much always drank and I just think of it as a really dark, heavy wine. But we tried a Super Tuscan that was a merlot at the vineyard and it was by far my favorite of the four wines! It was a little fruitier than merlot in the states which our guide said was correct. She taught us how to smell and sip the wine in order to figure out the flavors in them but I was horrible at it. Caitlin was pretty good, guessing almost every time what she was smelling or tasting. I tried really hard but I was just horrible at it.
Either way, the merlot was definitely my favorite of the four wines. I wish I had bought some to bring back home to my family to try but we were the last tour of the day so I think they were trying to rush us out of there and didn’t offer the opportunity to purchase a bottle.
The second Super Tuscan we tried was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and something else but I can’t remember for the life of me what it was! This was also pretty good but since I’m not a huge red wine fan I didn’t absolutely love it.
Chelsea is sick again after getting zero sleep in Santorini the night before we traveled to Florence (and again, no sleep our first night in Florence!) so she couldn’t smell anything! She said she smelled alcohol with one nostril and absolutely nothing with the other. We were horrible wine tasters. Think we could still get jobs at a winery!?
We also had some bread dipped in the vineyard’s homemade olive oil which was to die for. I wanted to literally lick the plate clean it was so amazing.
We were a little disappointed because I was told that we were going to have a light lunch at the vineyard, therefore, we didn’t eat beforehand. All they gave us was the bread with olive oil so after about six glasses of wine, we were all a little bit wine drunk to be honest.
After our tasting, we climbed back in our van and our driver took us deeper into the Chianti region to a town called Greve. It was basically just a town square but again, the drive there was beautiful. We checked out a butcher shop that smelled absolutely amazing, grabbed a gelato and hopped back in the van headed for Florence.
While I wish we had gotten to check out a few more wineries, our trip was definitely worth it since we had such a short time in Florence. I think if we had spent an entire day in Tuscany, we wouldn’t have made the best use of our time. With the half day tour, we still had enough time to climb the Duomo in Florence in the morning and go out at night. While I wish we had paid 45 Euro instead of 75, we all really enjoyed the experience! I definitely want to plan another wine tour when I get back to the States.