One of the goals that I had for myself during my time in Europe was to learn more about wine throughout the different regions. I’ve been more than happy to do the research too! It really has been interesting to learn more about what makes a bottle of Chianti Classico a ‘Classico’ and which combination of grapes make up each of the different wines. Another thing that seems to be popular here in this region of Italy is olive oil and many of the wineries here also grow their own olives for production so when you visit a winery you also get to do a tasting of olive oil as well.
Earlier this month I teamed up with Florencetown for their Tuscan Wine and Olive Oil Tour and had the chance to learn more about wine and ancient olive oil production. We met up with our guide and sommelier, Matteo, and then hit the road for our first stop on the tour. We arrived at Villa Medicea di Lilliano, a gorgeous Tuscan villa that dates back to the 11th century. Around 1646 the villa was purchased by the famous Medici family and then in 1830 the Malenchini family purchased the property. The villa now has been in the Malenchini family for over 100 years!
After a tour of the property and their cellars we were treated to a tasting in their gorgeous tasting room that featured one of the biggest fireplaces that I have ever seen. We were able to taste a selection of their fine Chianti wine that comes straight from the hills of their organic estate. They also produce olive oil as over 50 hectares of their property is devoted to olive groves.
Our second stop was at an ancient olive oil mill to learn more about the production of olive oil. One of the things that I have learned is that the fresher the oil, the better it will taste. If you are just using the oil to cook then it really doesn’t matter as much but if you’re using the olive oil for salad or for bread dipping then you’re going to want a high quality oil that is fresh and full of peppery flavors. My advice is to always go with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) because it is made from the first pressing of the olives and it is the most pure.
Our final stop was at a boutique winery where more tasting was done over a fabulous Tuscan lunch. This winery featured wines made from modern techniques and blending of flavors to create flavorful Bianco and Rosso wines with beautiful labels. We were able to taste these wines and their fresh olive oil over a beautiful charcuterie board and pasta made with wild boar ragù.
The tour itself was a really great way to see both ancient and modern production of wine and olive oil. If you want a relaxing and educational experience I definitely suggest the Tuscany Wine and Olive Oil tour from Florencetown. They also offer a variety of other tours that include cooking classes, museum and historical tours around Florence and day trips to Pisa, Cinque Terre and more.
Special thanks for Florencetown for providing this tour! I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.