The best wine tastings in Tuscany: A visit Under the Tuscan Sun
While living in Milan, I spent many weekends exploring the small enotecas and private vineyards throughout Tuscany. On this visit back, I was interested in seeing a boutique winery, enjoying a few wine tastings in Tuscany and learning more about how Tuscany is embracing luxury wine travel and wine tourism.
If you’re looking for an authentic Tuscan wine tasting experience, I recommend the Baracchi winery and resort. The Baracchi family is very passionate about their wine business but also about ensuring that guests have the most luxurious experience at their resort. The drive up to the Baracchi estate reminded me a bit of the Road to Hana as we winded and twisted up the narrow roads to Cortona. The GPS was a constant barrage of “turn right”, “turn left”, “turn right”, as we made the hairpin turns. But the views of the Valdichiana Valley when we arrived at the top were all worth the nauseating drive. We were greeted by Benedetto Baracchi, the son of the winery’s founder, Riccardo Baracchi, and joined a small group tour. Baracchi is a small, boutique producer so the tour was brief but offered us a very personal glimpse into this family’s pride and passion. We first visited the sparkling wine room where the Baracchi Brut Trebbiano Metodo Classico is produced. A single worker was painstakingly turning each bottle ¼ turn, as he does daily for 45 days, to allow the sediment from the Trebbiano grapes to settle at the top of the bottle where it is ultimately frozen and forced out.
As a small producer, Baracchi takes great care and pride in this hand-processed production of one of the region’s only sparkling wines. Our tour ended with a tasting of the sparkling wine paired with pecorino cheese produced at the resort. I enjoyed the Brut Trebbiano Metodo Classico tremendously, perhaps because I could really respect the great care taken in its production.
But the real highlight was our visit to the luxury Il Falconiere resort located just beyond the vineyard where the resort’s traditional Etruscan spa is the spectacle. This resort truly felt like an escape, perched high on a hilltop, surrounded by lush vineyards. I wanted to plant myself at the pool adjacent to the spa and just waste the afternoon sipping wine and enjoying the view.
We were then treated to lunch at the resort’s outdoor café where the weather was perfect but the views of the surrounding vineyards and valley was even more perfect. Location, location, location. Being in Cortona, the Baracchis have capitalized on the success and recognition of “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes. Silvia Baracchi hosts cooking classes at the restaurant and at their cooking school, called Under the Tuscan Sun. The resort’s restaurant also boasts a selection of dishes inspired by “Under the Tuscan Sun.” We tasted the winery’s most popular wines with each course of our meal. We started with the Ardito, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, a great peppery wine to wake our tastebuds. Throughout the rest of the meal, we tasted the single grape Smeriglio wines include a Syrah, Merlot and Sangiovese. A beautifully prepared dessert plate was presented at the end of the meal but we opted for espresso instead of grappa, especially given the winding drive home.