Tasting wine in Italy is easy to do as wine pretty much runs from the taps but not all wine tastings are equal. Anyone can pour a couple glasses and tell you basic facts about what you are tasting which might be fine for some but not for most. And not for me.
While we did have our own rental car, I didn't want to have to worry about only taking small sips knowing that I'd have to drive through the hilly and windy countryside roads afterwards. That is why my husband and I chose to hire a private sommelier guide to take us on a private wine tasting tour while we were staying in Cortona and it was the highlight of our trip.
Our day consisted of visiting two different wineries, lunch at a local "off-the-beaten" path restaurant in a tiny tiny village as well as exploring hilltop towns as we went. Our wine expert guide, Davide, is from Cortona so not only is experienced with the best wineries to visit in the area but also which back roads to use to get there and where the scenic views are to stop at en route. We just sat back, relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Davide catered our day to what we wanted to see and do - and drink. We chose to focus on Montepulciano and we were not disappointed. We first visited a women-owned winery that uses more traditional methods in their wine making. We got a private tour of their facilities including their centuries old cellars (we also met the resident dog and cat who were adorable!) One of the owners led our tasting which was accompanied by local cheese and prosciutto.
After that tasting (and wine ordering) we drove into the town of Montepulciano. Davide took us to a terrace with a lovely view of the surrounding countryside. We also visited a wine cellar which was open to the public. It housed enormous wine barrels and had a medieval atmosphere.
By that time, we had worked up an appetite so we went to have lunch at a local family-owned trattoria. We shared a bottle of wine while we indulged on multiple courses and plates of regional dishes. I am a strict vegetarian and they had no problems catering to my diet. We shared most dishes which was the perfect way to taste a lot!
After lunch, we drove around some more until it was time to go to the second winery which was a big contrast to the first winery we visited. This time it was a very modern and sleek winery. They use innovative methods to their wine making instead of the traditional ways of the first winery. Floors, ceilings and columns were all marble in the cellar - you felt like you were in a palace. It was beautiful. We then headed up the spiral staircase to the bright tasting room. Again, we were impressed with the wines and bought several bottles to enjoy during the rest of our stay in Italy.
It was such a well planned day. We really enjoyed seeing the two sides of wine making - the "old" way versus the "new" way. Both methods produced amazing wines - I can't say that I have a favorite. I loved both!
Besides tasting in Montepulciano, Davide can take you to Montalcino, Cortona, Pienza and beyond. He customizes the day to your interests. Tours can also be kid-friendly and he can also take small groups.
For more information on this experience, contact me today. Besides wine tours like the above I can assist with all your travel details including accommodations, transportation, sightseeing and other activities. Ciao!