Enjoy the best selection of Chianti
The number one product of Chianti is undoubtedly the wine, and the variety available is staggering. Sometimes it seems like everybody has their own label...and if that is the case – it is virtually impossible to taste test them all by going to each vineyard. This is why sometimes it is just so much easier to go to a wine shop “di fiucia” (that you can trust) and have more than one label for you to savour before making the decision as to what bottle to take home.
It certainly helps when you have the counsel of an experienced wine expert to help you navigate the vino “rosso”, Chianti classico, riservas, and even those special reds (and whites) which are a “modern” mix of San Giovesse with Merlot, or Cabernet or even a Syrah.
The list below is a description of the type of places which not only invite you to make you purchase with them but offer the possibility of tasting many of the different flavours and labels now on the market. Many will not only walk you through the highlights of the various cantinas but they can also help you arrange a visit to the vineyard if you want to deepen your knowledge of the production.
1. Vino Sfuso
Though it had always been possible to buy wine in large quantities, the availability of “vino sfuso” has increased immensely over the last 5 years. This means that the store owners will buy from the small local producers and then resell it in unmarked bottles (or bags) thus giving you a better price and diversity of flavor. When you walk in they will have the large stainless steel vats, glass bottles and for those looking to stock up at the holiday villa or vacation apartment, they have bags for 3 or 5 liters. They will have wine in bottles (and with labels) however, the majority of their product consists in young wines: IGT (Identificazione Geografica Tipica and indicates a specific territory) or DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta a specific territory that is protected) denomination. As per the law they cannot sell "sfuso" older wines that have been aged.
Il Bacco Di Vino
Address: Strada Regionale 222 Chiantigiana, 236, Grassina, Florence (across from the main square)
Phone: +39 055 646 1217
HOURS: Monday-Saturday 10-7:30 CLOSED ON HOLIDAYS
These little shops/restaurants are a unique mix of extensive wine and food. They have wine lists from vineyards throughout the territory that can be combined with lots of tasty treats and full meals to exalt their flavours. Enotecas excel in pairing the wines from their cantina with fresh local flavors and recipes that mix the new and the old. There are so many to choose from and our research pulled up these two options. Close to the wine museum in Montespertoli you will find a wine shop dedicated to promoting the wines and olive oils of the nearby hillsides, and some would say the best ever. But we are not taking sides.
I Lecci Enoteca
Address: Via Lucardese, 74, 50025 Montespertoli, Florence
Phone: +39 0571 657131
With over 300 labels, this wine shop will overwhelm you with choices. From the classical and more famous names to the more obscure treasures of Chianti. The owners will be able to assist you in finding a favorite for sure.
Enoteca Bottega del Chianti Classico
Address: piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 18 Greve in Chianti
Phone: +39 055 8536317
HOURS: 9:30 a.m. - 7: 30 p.m.
The Italian Consorzio is a way for like minded organizations /producers to gather together and enhance their marketing power. And in our case, this is definitely in our favor. Bringing several labels together under one roof for tasting is a great way for you to explore the diversity of one specific area like that of Chianti Classico or Arezzo, which would be the very tail end of the Chianti area.
First stop is in Radda in Chianti, where in 2014 in the former Santa Maria al Prato Convent, a new educational center and enoteca were opened to celebrate the Chianti classico wines. Not only can you indulge in all the flavours of Chianti but you can also tour a small exhibition which talks about the various aspects of winemaking - for example the importance the soil composition has on the flavour.
Casa del Chianti Classico
Address: Via del Convento, 1, Radda in Chianti, Siena
Phone: +39 0575 294066
OPEN: Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
We are definitely at the tail end of the Chianti territory but by no means should Arezzo be forgotten. There is a group of local vineyards who have combined forces to promote their wines and traditions. Located in the city center of Arezzo, directly in front of the amazing cathedral you will find a Arezzo Strada del Vino gift shop where you can purchase a ticket and taste several of the wines from the local producers. Upon request you can arrange to set up an appointment to visit the vineyard and buy select wines and olive oils.
Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo
Address: Via Ricasoli, 38, 52100 Arezzo
Phone: +39 0577 738278
OPEN: 22 April - 1 November from 11a.m. to 10 p.m.
4. Direct from the Vineyard
There is nothing like pulling out a bottle of wine for friends and family and telling the story of how you "discovered" it on a wine tasting trip in Tuscany. This incredible region does not lack for vineyards where it is possible to do a wine tasting, visit the cellars, learn about the production procedure and ship some bottles home.