Chianti Wine Tasting – Suggested Self Guided Tour?

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    • #6527

      Hello there. I am going to be traveling to Tuscany in two weeks with my boyfriend and his parents. We are staying near Impruneta and looking for some guidance on wine tasting in the Chianti Classico region. I tried taking a look at your Experimental Chianti wine tour map, but it was not populating for me – perhaps because it was an older post. We will have a car. Also, can you advise as to whether we need to make reservations at these wineries and general costs, if any, to do tastings?

      Thank you!

    • #6530
      Michael Horne

      Ciao Laurync — your timing is perfect, as I’m getting many requests right now for recommendations on wineries to visit on a self-guided tour in Chianti.

      A couple of questions before I give you some recommendations:

      • How many days are you planning to do wine tasting in Chianti?  Do you have specific days in mind for your wine tasting? As a general rule, weekdays and sometimes Saturdays are best.  Sundays are tough and many wineries are closed.
      • How many wineries would you like to visit in a day?  I usually recommend no more than 3 with a nice lunch or dinner in the mix.  Italian winery visits can easily last 60-90 minutes, as the producers love to show you around the cantina and the grounds.
      • Do you prefer smaller, more family-run wineries, or larger, big name wineries?  As a general rule, the smaller wineries tend to be more informal, friendly, and no tasting fees and you usually meet the winemaker & family.  Big-name wineries have more formal tasting rooms, fancier facilities, sometimes have tasting fees, and you tend to visit with knowledgable staff.
      • Do you want to drive, or would you prefer to have someone drive you?  I see that you have a car, but there are car services available that can pick you up, drive you around, and drop you off at the end of the day — a wonderful way to enjoy the wines and lunch without worrying about driving.

      Post your answers here and I’ll follow-up with some recommendations.


      Michael Horne, CS
      Los Gatos, CA USA
      • #6596

        Hi Michael, thanks for your quick response. Here are my answers to your questions. Let me know if I don’t fully address anything:

        1. We will be in Chianti for 5 days. We would like to spend at least one day wine tasting in chianti… Unless you think we are doing ourselves a disservice by not doing more. We also plan to get down to Sienna and the surrounding areas to do wine tasting on another day. We do not have any agenda – so can be flexible to go during the week.
        2. I am with you, 3 is usually a good number for one day.
        3. I would prefer small family run wineries. We are originally from Northern California, so this isn’t our first rodeo. Haha. We have seen plenty of big wineries and are excited to feel a little more italian charm. Our biggest problem, however, is that none of us speak Italian. I don’t know if that is a problem with the smaller places. But again, we are flexible if you feel there are some bigger ones not to be missed.
        4. We are open to hiring a driver if the price is right. Please let me know if you have any recommendations.

        One last thing- depending on the wineries you suggest, I wonder if you have a recommendation for a great place to eat along the way? Maybe we could do one winery before lunch and two after…or something.

        Thanks again!

    • #6598
      Michael Horne

      Ciao Laurync:

      I think you have a reasonable outlook on what you can accomplish in a day.  2-3 wineries in a day is plenty, the visits tend to last much longer than winery visits at American wineries.

      Here’s a simple itinerary that will give you a good taste of the wines around Panzano in Chianti, as well as a great osteria you can visit during the lunch hour, all right in the heart of Chianti. You can start earlier than my proposed time of 11 AM, but you may want to start your morning slowly.  Tuscany has a way of making you want to take it easy in the mornings. 😉

      I’ve proposed some visit times below, but you’ll need to book a reservation at each of these 3 places.  The owners of all of these places speak English very well. For all the info you need to know about the winery (location, hours, how to make a reservation), just click on the name.  Give yourself about 60-90 minutes per winery, and a solid 2 hours for lunch.  In Italy, that is very normal.

      If you’d like me to help you book the reservations, just let me know which day/times you want.

      1. Le Cinciole winery (Panzano):  11 AM – 12:30 PM Appointment (90 minutes)Luca and Valeria Orsini lovingly tend the vines and produce truly outstanding natural wines at their Le Cinciole winery just outside the hill town of Panzano in Chianti. The vines & olives are tended naturally with a focus on sustainability, and has earned them extraordinary recognition and awards, year after year. They produce the traditional Chianti Classico in normale and riserva vintages, as well as a Supertuscan and a tiny production Rose you can only find in Chianti.
        Le Cinciole contact information
      2. Osteria Le Panzanelle restaurant (between Panzano & Radda):  1 PM – 3 PM lunch (2 hours)This is one of my favorite Osterie in all of Tuscany, known and frequented by the locals but very few tourists know about it. The dishes and wines at Osteria Le Panzanelle are truly Tuscan, with recipes from the immediately surrounding area. In the summer months, they serve wonderful dishes from local vegetables, and if you’re daring, you can order the Bistecca Fiorentina — a 3 to 5 pound T-bone of local Chianina beef. Of course, the wine list is outstanding with great variety and fair price.
        Osteria Le Panzanelle contact information
      3. Savignola Paolina winery (Panzano):  3:30 PM – 5 PM Appointment (60-90 minutes) Ludovia (“Ludo” among friends) Fabbri carries on the family tradition of Chianti Classico winemaking at Savignola Paolina started long ago by her rather gifted great-Aunt Paolina. Ludo produces wines that embody local traditions and are easy drinking with dishes from the countryside. She produces a normale and riserva Chianti and a Supertuscan that are balanced, aromatic and delicious. Ludo will provide a tour of her modest cantina and offer a panoramic view & tour of her vineyards.
        Savignola Paolina contact information

      If you’d like an additional winery to visit, you could do 2 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon — just let me know and I can suggest another.

      The best days to do Wine Tasting is during the week and sometimes on Saturday.  Sundays are tough, but some places will open up for you if you make a reservation.

      Best of luck, and have fun on your Self Guided Wine Tasting!


      Michael Horne, CS
      Los Gatos, CA USA
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