Italy provides wine connoisseurs with some of the best appellations in the world. What better way to spend some time this summer than by flying to magnificent Italy to explore some of the most exclusive and stunning wineries in the country?
Of course there are areas in Italy synonymous with wine production, but there are also other areas you wouldn’t normally think about when wishing to sample Italian wines. We will talk about some of those vineyards here such as those found on the Amalfi Coast.
Sun, Sea and Wine
Most elite travelers who spend time on the Amalfi Coast rarely think about wineries in the area, but the area turns out more than its infamous Limoncello. The best known grape varieties are Fiano, Falanghina and Greco whites and Aglianico and Piedirosso for reds. On the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento Peninsula, these popular grapes grow alongside local varieties not found anywhere else. These grapes have an extraordinary flavor due to the terrain, sea breezes and volcanic soil which in turn, create wines that do not taste like any other in the world.
Marisa Cuomo Winery
Cantine Marisa Cuomo is tucked away among the vines and rocks rising majestically over the sea of Furore. Grapes grown here cling to the rocks like they’re clinging for life. They bask in the sun and are grazed by the sea’s breezes. The charm of the vineyards is only rivaled by the charm of the wine cellar which is dug into the rock. This 10 hectares of unique land and the winery belong to Marisa Cuomo and Andrea Ferraioli. These winegrowers decided to put quality over quantity and it shows with tastes and bouquets as unique and amazing as the Amalfi Coast itself.
Cantine Marisa Cuomo produces about 50,000 bottles a year, 60% of which are made up of white wine. Two of the most important labels for the winery are both characterized by small yields per hectare and by late harvesting. Furore Rosso Riserva spends 12 months aging in new French oak barriques, which convey an unmistakably smooth and well-balanced flavor to the wine. Fiorduva, a white, is made of Fenile, Ginestra and Ripoli grapes, vinified with soft pressing and fermentation at 12°C for about three months.
A must-try: Fiorduva furore bianco. This vintage has garnered many awards for the label. It has a deep yellow color with inflections of gold. The bouquet is reminiscent of apricot and broom flowers with hints of exotic fruit. It is soft and dense on the palate with hints of dried apricot, raisins and candied fruit. It pairs well with seafood dishes and also with aged and blue cheeses.
Tenuta San Francesco Winery
Located in the hillside town of Tramonti – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – local wine growers Gaetano and Generoso Bove, Vincenzo D’Avino and Luigi Giordano founded Tenuta San Francesco Winery in 2004. The estate covers eight hectares of land planted with more than 100-year-old pre-phylloxera vines. Wine from old vines is a miracle, they contend.
The 100% Tintore red wine (made exclusively with pre-phylloxera vines) is named È Iss which means “This Is It” in the Neapolitan dialect. A reserve, this wine has been receiving great acclaim. The 2016 vintage of È Iss was presented with the prestigious Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso, one of Italy’s leading food and wine guides.
The winery’s white “Cru” vineyard is at a higher elevation and is home to vines of Falanghina, Pepella and Ginestra blended for the Per Eva reserve. Gaetano’s wife Eva – for whom the wine is named – can often be found preparing gnocchi for lunch or hosting cooking classes for winery guests.
A must try: È Iss Red. This unique wine has a strong personality with notes of tart raspberry, black cherry, smoke and leather. It has an intense ruby red color with inflections of violet. The sip is full, vibrant and has a velvety tannic texture with a long, persistent finish. It is the ideal wine for long aging. It pairs well with game meat and aged cheeses.
The Jewel of the Amalfi Coast
If you want to feel regal while on the Amalfi Coast, there is no better place to set down vacation roots than at Villa Lilly. This 10-bedroom estate – one of the most elite luxury Italian villas – has room for 18 guests, sits on a glorious cliffside overlooking the mighty sea and the views, to say the least, are breathtaking. The home is the largest private resort with beachside access in the entire region and it is nothing short of spectacular. Aristocratic prestige of the 19th century and dazzling Mediterranean panache meets their apex in its stately 10,000 square feet. Bathed in light, the residence has two guest homes, multi-level gardens, terraces, a heated outdoor pool and an outdoor hot tub.
Rich Hues, Undulating Hills and the Fruit of the Vine
Tuscany is home to some of Italy’s most well-known appellations including Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico. To get the full Tuscan winery experience, you will need some time to do some meditative exploring. Take the time to breathe in the ambiance of Tuscany. The region makes for a lovely driving tour. If you so choose, a private guide will accompany you on a drive through the rolling hills overflowing with vineyards, olive groves, old stone farmhouses and medieval hamlets. Snap some memorable shots in the heart of the Antinori vineyards, visit Greve and sit awhile in the picturesque 16th century square surrounded by quaint traditional shops. Tuscany is a veritable feast for the senses.
Castello di Ama
This legendary Chianti wine estate in Siena, is a marriage of history and modernism. Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti started Castello di Ama more than three decades ago and at the time, the hamlet and its vineyards and olive groves were in a state of abandonment. The 12th century castle has been lovingly restored and is home to one of the most important wine-related contemporary art installations in Italy, not to mention incredibly fine wines.
About 75 hectares are under the vine at the winery with five separate vineyards. Breaking them down, there are:
- Sangiovese: 7.74 hectares planted in 1998 with 5,500 vines per hectare;
- Merlot: 2.76 hectares planted between 1999 and 2002 with 5,500 vines per hectare;
- Cabernet Franc: 1.97 hectares planted in 2001 with 5,500 vines per hectare;
- Malvasia Nera: 1.84 hectares planted in 2002 with 5,500 vines per hectare.
The first appellation turned out by Castello di Ama was the Chianti Classico. "Chianti" has referred to the municipalities of Radda, Gaiole and Castellina since the mid-18th century. Over the centuries, the word "Chianti" was overused and abused to the point that a narrower and more distinctive denomination was needed, hence the winery’s "Chianti Classico." You could easily spend hours here touring and tasting. Owners say, “Our hope is that, tasting one of our wines, you will feel transported in front of the steep hills of Chianti, while you can perceive the rustle caused by the wind that creeps between the olive trees and the vines and take an ideal walk among the contemporary art, breathing in the history and love of the place.” Visits here are private and exclusive.
A must-try: Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2018. On the nose you will get a presence of ripe fruit, sour cherry, violets, rose petals, spices and hints of crushed stone. Dark fruits, black cherry, cassis and licorice provide a complexity and richness on the palate accompanied by firm tannins. It is intensely ruby red in color and pairs well with dark meat and hearty, wild dishes.
The Allure of the Val d’Orcia
If you decide to explore Tuscan wineries, you will want to stay in a place as rich as the terroir and that is Villa Gauggiole. This traditional Tuscan farmhouse replete with modern amenities is surrounded by vineyards, hiking trails and a private golf course mere minutes away. Oversized arched French doors invite the aromatic breeze into the sophisticated room, flaunting rustic natural wood exposed beam ceilings. Multiple fireplaces grace the free-flowing floor plan offering no shortage of entertaining spaces for guests. With four bedrooms, this residence can accommodate up to eight guests. It also has two heated, outdoor pools; a lovely terrace and patio ideal for al fresco dining.
Castiglion del Bosco Winery
One of two Tuscan wineries owned by Massimo Ferragamo, Castiglion del Bosco can only be described as slick, fashionable and indulgent. The ancient hamlet of Montalcino is a designated Unesco World Heritage Site known for its awe-inspiring landscape. Ferragamo bought the estate in 2003 complete with a 13th century church. A wine tour here takes you out to the vineyards to see the Camp del Drago plot – one of the most picturesque in the country. You will also see the barrel cellar and sample vintages in a very avante-garde tasting room. You might also want to have a bite to eat in the elite restaurant. There are only Sangiovese grapes in Castiglion del Bosco’s vineyards, so the whole range is inspired by the two main denominations and the territory, from Rosso di Montalcino to three different interpretations of Brunello.
A must-try: Brunello di Montalcino 2015. This vintage has an intense ruby red color with garnet inflections and wonderful aromas of flowers, plums, terracotta and white pepper. Intense, yet ever so subtle. Medium to full bodied, firm and silky tannins and a long and intense finish. Best from 2023 to 2039. Pairs well with pork; rich, red and spicy sauces; aged cheeses; and cured meats.
LVH can take the stress out of all the planning for your summer vacation in Italy. LVH guests know they can rely on us to give them first-class, full service luxury accommodations with full services and support as well as amazing experiences tailor-made to their unique desires such as planning ultimate wine tours. We invite you to reach out to one of our client relations professionals who will begin planning your wonderful vacation to Italy to experience incredible wineries or any other destination where sampling wines is a must!