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!
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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.
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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 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.
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!
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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.