Chianti Classico Collection 2009

The cities of Florence and Siena

The main cities in Tuscany are Florence
and Siena. Florence is, of course, one of the
world's most romantic cities. It is especially
famous for the Duomo, and other stunning
cathedrals and museums. At every turn there
are also numerous galleries that showcase some
of the world's greatest works of art.

The city is also famous for the chic fashion
boutiques that line the ancient cobblestone streets
leading to the Ponte Vecchio, where merchants
propose jewelry and leather goods, as they have for
centuries. So it's no surprise that Florence attracts visitors
from all over the world. It's a world heritage site and a city
you simply have to visit during a lifetime.

Siena lies to the south, about 1 hour's drive. It too has some impressive cathedrals, palazzos and characterful cobblestone streets that twist and turn before reaching the magnificent main square. This is the place to sit in a café, and admire the character of Italian life as it unfolds in front of you.

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The wine regions of Tuscany

There are several important wine regions in Tuscany but there are three that are more prominent that the others. These are Montalcino where you'll find the beautiful Brunellos, the coastal area which is famous for many of the Super-Tuscans, and Chianti Classico which is the original classic area.

About Chianti Classico

Traditionalists, which include myself, would argue that Chianti Classico produces many of the finest wines of Tuscany. The region was the first to be planted, over two thousand years ago, and interestingly the term Classico refers to the original areas that the Romans believed produced the very best wines. The coastal region was not the first to be planted.

There are several sub-regions to the classico district. These include the town of Radda where we have our wine school in Tuscany. The twisting roads climb quite steep hills and then descend into valleys where you'll find characterful old towns like Radda. You pass by tall cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see. There are hundreds of wineries here, many of them housed in gorgeous castellos. Sangiovese is king and must represent at least 80% of the final blend in any wine that is to carry the world-renown symbol of the Chianti Classico district - the black rooster.

About the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico

We are honored to be in partnership with the prestigious Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico at our wine school in Toscana.This is the organization that governs the production of wine, and also spearheads the international and domestic promotional campaigns. The Consorzio sets the production laws, and assists producers to achieve their quality objectives. The organization can often be found in countries around the world, arranging extravagant tastings and other events that showcase the stunning wine, food and olive oil from the region.To learn more about our partner the Consorzio Chianti Classico and about Tuscan wines please visit:

About Montalcino

The wines of Brunello di Montalcino are also amongst the finest in Italy, and can represent a benchmark in the world for an expression of pure 100% Sangiovese. They must be aged for 5 years before release, enabling them to develop complex nuances and stunning bouquets.

The region lies to the south of Siena and sits on a hilltop. Some of the producers are very small, making wine more out of a passionate desire to produce something spectacular rather than run a high profit business. It isn't easy to make money in wine production, even if these wines do sell for a premium. The long ageing periods don't make accountants happy.

About the coastal region

The coastal region in Tuscany is a more recent development compared to the historic estates of Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino. But the fame of the likes of Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Gaja, Tua Rita and others has catapulted this area into the spotlight. The wines here are characterized by the heavy use of international grape varieties such as Cabernets, Merlot and Syrah, which are sometimes blended with the indigenous Sangiovese. There is no doubt that the quality can be on a par with the greatest wines from Bordeaux and California, and many hail them as the best wines of Tuscany. But others prefer the more classic style of Chianti Classico, the original signature of Tuscan wine. This diversity is part of what makes Tuscany so intriguing as a wine region.

When you come to our wine school in Tuscany and take a course you'll learn about these regions, along with an emphasis on the wines of the world. It's very special to be sitting in an old convent, surrounded by vineyards, tasting wines, pairing them with food, learning, and being entertained. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

James Cluer MW

James Cluer, MW owns and operates Fine Vintage.

Since 1953 only 30 people have qualified to become Masters of Wine in North America.

James consults to airlines, luxury hotel groups, cruise lines and retailers.