Top Sangiovese Destinations

5 places not to miss on your next trip to Italy

 


If you’re going to enjoy Sangiovese, there is no better place to go than back to the Motherland. In fact, you can pretty much substitute in the word wine for Sangiovese in that last sentence and I’ll be able to find you some gorgeous place in Italy to kick back and enjoy a few glasses. Maybe not the most appropriate place, but certainly among the most beautiful.

Both we and Italy are very lucky. Not only is the country home to some of the world’s greatest wines, it is also a land of fine food, history, hospitality and beauty. While great wines might often refer to bottles like Barolo, the truth is that from Frascati to Valpolicella, there are endless delicious wines to discover in Italy. I might even argue that simply drinking wine in Italy makes it taste better! So let’s take a look at where your glass of Sangiovese might become transcendental!

Photo courtesy Yabbb via Flickr/CC

Montalcino

Why not begin in Montalcino? Home to one of the most famous and certainly most collected Sangiovese-based wines: Brunello di Montalcino.

This is a town built on wine, with both Brunello and the more affordable Rossos. It’s a sleepy little town for most of the year, but is very well equipped with all the trappings of a tourist area, from fine restaurants and bars to lovely hotels.
 

Photo courtesy tonyduckles via Flickr/CC

Caffè Fiaschetteria Italiana 1888

Caffè Fiaschetteria Italiana 1888 was founded by the architect of the wine we know as Brunello, Ferruccio Biondi Santi. Biondi Santi is a hallowed name in the wine world, and any visit to the region deserves to be enriched by a visit to this venerable institution.

You’ll find pastries and coffee here, along with fine wines by the glass and the bottle. The wines tend to be local but there is a fine selection of Sangiovese to choose from!
 

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is as unfamous as Montalcino is and that is really a shame. Not only are the wines of Montepulciano (Vino Nobile) delicious, they are generally inexpensive and the town is absolutely gorgeous to boot.

Yes, the wine may lack the refinement and elegance of the best Brunellos, but it is another example of Sangiovese that needs to be experienced. Chunky, sometimes rustic and a bit chewy, these marry wonderfully with rustic Tuscan cooking

Photo courtesy XLenCe1978

La Dolce Vita

Life in Italy is “la dolce vita” indeed. The food, the pace of life and the quality of life all come together to make time spent there absolutely magical. Montepulciano is a magical hilltop village. On cloudy days you can get the impression of sailing along on a sea of clouds from the edges of town!

La Dolce Vita wine bar adds a bit of that magic to every day. With a casual restaurant attached to the wine shop, it is the perfect place to while away a few hours getting to know all about Montepulciano. The wine list here obviously focuses on things local but is varied enough to ensure your palate will never get bored.

Siena

The great Sangiovese regions of Italy are conveniently located in Tuscany, so you don’t have to travel outside of the region’s cities to find great wines. Siena is a whimsical place, home to the Palio. Once you’ve walked that piazza, you’ll know that it’s also a crazy place. Every year a horse races through what seems to be a rather compact little place. Fortunately, it only happens once a year and the rest of the time the piazza is free to meander through. If you’re so inclined, you can even over-pay for a mediocre meal while sitting around the edges!

Photo courtesy littlestar19 via Flickr/CC
 

 

Zest Ristorante, Café & Wine Bar

If you’re looking to escape some but not all of the madness that can overcome a tourist town, head over to Zest. Designed to highlight the classic pairing of Tuscan food and wine with a typically convivial atmosphere, Zest makes enjoying an afternoon of dinner easy.

The menu is simple, with dishes that reach beyond the borders of Tuscany yet retain a certain simplicity that is the hallmark of fine home cooking. The wine list is also less provincial than one might expect, though you’ll have no trouble sampling a wide assortment of Italy’s finest Sangiovese.

Zest Ristorante, Café & Wine Bar
 

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Comments

  • Snooth User: il Sodo
    839811 0

    Nice, friendly wine estates to taste Sangiovese: Poggio Amorelli (Chianti Classico Area), Sant'Appiano (Chianti Area, San Gimignano), Bindella (Montepulciano Area).

    Mar 12, 2012 at 4:06 PM


  • One of my favorite wineries in the Chianti region is Manucci-Droandi. The owners are involved in the slow food movement, and they have a vineyard section devoted to ancient varietals. The wine is very good quality and a very fair price. They also produce a wonderful olive oil. The winery is in Caposelvi near Montevarchi.

    Mar 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM


  • Snooth User: tsalley55
    156744 24

    In Montalcino, visit Enoteca La Fortezza. They offer digustazioni of interesting local wines and of course Brunello. My wife and I visited several locations for tasting and this was our favorite, no enomatics and no preoccupations about buying (I was frankly relieved by the lack of pressure, and we ended up buying six bottles, all brunello). The associate who helped us with our tasting was very knowledgeable about the region, producers, their vineyards, etc. He also spoke English well.

    We bought six bottles, and the shop discounted our tasting as well as the shipping fee, which was a gracious gesture. The shipping was UPS (climate controlled in the EU). The wine landed in the US in New Jersey and ended up in my hands the next day (NC). A very satisfying experience. Unless you are seeking out a specific bottle, I wouldn't bother with the other enotecas in town.

    Mar 12, 2012 at 6:01 PM


  • La Pergola in Radicondoli is THE find ---and I've been to Tuscany at least 10 times.
    Great food, great wine, great service.... all complemented by the most spectacular sunset I've ever witnessed.....I cannot imaging going back to Toscana and NOT going back there.

    Runners up?--Sosta di Pio VII near Poggibonsi.....also Il Pozzo inside the walls at Monteriggione----(BUT it is really tough to have a lousy experience almost anywhere in Tuscany!)

    Mar 12, 2012 at 6:45 PM


  • Went to Castello Banfi and did the wine lunch and tour. They just kept pouring the '06 Brunello. Food and service were great and the hospitality were top notch. I know it's more touristy, but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile.

    Mar 12, 2012 at 7:56 PM


  • Snooth User: SteveArch
    197523 0

    Actually, the Palio occurs twice in any given year....

    Mar 12, 2012 at 9:24 PM


  • Ristorante "Oltre Il Giardino" in Panzano, Tuscany. Lovely lunch spot, beautiful outside dining area, overlooks the famed "Conca d'Oro" section of the Chianti Classico DOCG.

    Mar 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM


  • I dont know about the tourist scene or the friendlier vineyards, and I have never been to Tuscany.

    But if I had to visit a place based on the taste of its red wine I would choose Maremma, on the basis of Mongrana 2009.

    There seems to be a nice holiday as well around Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Ortonovo beginning to form in my mind, based on talks with locals and expat Italians

    Mar 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM


  • if you want a view you can best drive to cortona. If you like peace and quit go to pienza.
    for winetasting i went to poliziano and Tenute Silvio Nardo.
    If you want a nice place to stay go to agriturismo La Solvana.

    Apr 01, 2012 at 8:58 AM


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