A Chianti wine tour will overwhelm you with its history, multiple examples of very good Chianti and beautiful landscapes, but not always in an area which is by now a guaranteed tourism success can you always find many examples of innovation. The Fattoria Torre a Cona won its Best of Wine Tourism award for exactly that.
The commanding but beautiful Italian villa provides a series of historically interesting buildings as a setting for a bed and breakfast and some Chianti wine tasting, that the company decided to turn its old granary store into a tasting room and wine shop. On entering the wine shop, the setting of a wine tasting along the length of the old building has a great impact. The restoration, designed by architect Miranda Ferrera, has preserved the alcoves of the original grain storage purpose, that now house the wine bottles and olive oil products of the farm.
A tour and wine tasting takes in the old cellars and the grounds of the estate, with a short walk around the Villa Torre a Cona gardens. Each wine tasting includes local dishes and bruschetta dressed with olive oil, while in terms of winemaking the Fattoria Torre a Cona has kept things simple but elegant, making three wines.
The Cantine di Leonardo wine cellars are located in Vinci, in Tuscany, in a part of the Chianti region not as famous as Chianti Classico or other areas, but with a beautiful countryside where you know you’re getting closer to the coast. For a “cantina sociale” (or cooperative wine cellars and producers), the Cantine di Leonardo produce some excellent quality wine with a touch of classic Chianti style while also experimenting with some more modern expressions, and is worth a stop on any Chianti wine tour.
Despite receiving a special jury mention in the Best of Wine Tourism awards from Florence recently in the category of architecture, parks and gardens, the Cantine di Leonardo and its wine shop “Enoteca dalle Vigne” is worth a stop just for the wine itself. While calling the cooperative wine producers the “cellars of Leonardo” might seem a cynical marketing gesture today, it’s an old name that was given in light of the fact that the town of Vinci is closely linked to the man the Italians call “the genius”.
The cooperative cellars were founded 50 years ago and now have about 500 hectares of vines cared for by various growers who have access to the advice of specialists through their participation in the society. The cellars have created an innovative system of payment to encourage the production of quality grapes, with five categories of grape quality each carrying a different price. If a grower reaches the first category, he is paid 130 percent of the value of the grapes. If his grapes reach only the fifth category, he is paid 50 percent of the value.
The Great Wine Capitals Florence branch announced the 2011 winners of the Best of Wine Tourism in Chianti last week, and DolceVita participated in the event and the subsequent tour of the winning locations. The awards were announced at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, with representatives from Chianti accommodation and wine producers accepting the awards.
Florence is just one of the Great Wine Capitals group which includes Bordeaux, Bilbao-Rioja, Christchurch-South Island, Cape Town, Mainz-Rheinhessen, Mendoza, Porto and San Francisco-Napa Valley. Florence offers one of the world’s greatest cities of art together with the significant wine producing region of Chianti. The Best of Wine Tourism initiative is for tourism establishments awarded for their services to wine tourism; with criteria such as the quality of the facilities, the originality of the tourism on offer and the level of client service analysed by a jury which selects the winners from a pool of participants.
In the Chianti region, it is impossible to separate the wine from Tuscany tourism and the awards showcased a mix of Tuscan villa and farm stays, with wedding operators, wine producers, museums and restaurants, too. It was a panorama of wine tourism in Tuscany at a quality level. The winners, and their corresponding categories, are after the jump, and we’ll bring you more this week from the winners, including the international winner Villa Vignamaggio and accommodation winner, Borgo Scopeto Relais.