A Winter Visit To Tuscan Wine Country.

As you may know from reading my previous posts, I visited Italy, specifically Tuscany, Venice, and Milan, over Thanksgiving last year.  In planning my trip, I went back and forth in trying to decide whether to do a wine tour in Tuscany.  On the one hand, we really love wine and we have never done a proper Italian wine tour.  On the other hand, the vineyards would be bare and the wine production would really be at a standstill.  I finally decided not to stay in wine country, but I did go on a “Winter Wine Tour” with Grape Tours out of Florence.  Grape Tours was one of the only companies (if not the only company) offering wine tours in late November (and throughout the Winter) and I’m not sure why, as our tour certainly booked up!

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Tuscany wine country in the Fall.

Our tour started at 10:00 on the far side of the Arno River, in Oltrarno, about a 30 minute walk from the Duomo complex.  Upon arrival, we were offered coffee and boarded our van a few minutes after 10:00. Our tour consisted of about 15 or so people, mostly from the US.

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Looking back at tourist Florence from our walk over the Arno River to Grape Tours in the Oltrarno.

Our first stop on the Winter Wine Tour was at a local wine producer, Fattoria Corzano e Paterno. Our guide provided information on Florence and Tuscany for much of the 30 minute drive to Fattoria Corzano e Paterno.  While it was a tiny bit chilly in November, the sun was out and Tuscany was as beautiful as ever!

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Tuscany in November!

Fattoria Corzano e Paterno is located about half-way between Florence and Siena,  and it is a farm specializing in the production of wine, olive oil, and artisanal sheep’s cheeses!  It also acts as a agriturismo.  And, the grounds are spectactular!

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Fattoria Corzano e Paterno, and the  sweet winery dog!

I would really love to spend a long weekend at Fattoria Corzano e Paterno doing nothing but eating artisanal cheese and drinking wine!  Our stop at Fattoria Corzano e Paterno started with a tour of the wine making process, from grapes to barrel aging. I have seen a lot of these, so it was nothing new for me.  However, the guide took questions and did a nice job of explaining the wine making process.

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Touring the wine making process at Fattoria Corzano e Paterno

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Aging barrels of wine!

After our tour of the wine making process, it was time for the tasting, which took place in Fattoria Corzano e Paterno’s small tasting room/gift shop.  Upon arrival, two tables were each set with wine glasses and plates!  We were ready to taste!

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The farmhouse tasting room!

Our first tasting was a series of red wines, all of the Chianti variety (and not the supermarket kind in a straw bottle!).  The first set of wines were paired with the MOST delicious truffle honey (as if we did not have enough at the San Miniato White Truffle Festival!).  We definitely brought some home!

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Truffle honey – the truffle theme on this holiday continues.

Our next tasting was paired with Fattoria Corzano e Paterno’s own sheep cheese!  The wine consisted of more red wine, but I do not recall the exact type.  I guess that goes to show that the food stole the show!

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Fattoria Corzano e Paterno’s cheese selection (you can only take it back to the US if its vacuum-packed!

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Cheese sampling!

After our tasting finished, which included 2.5 – 3 glasses of wine (about six different tastings), we had a few minutes to purchase from Fattoria Corzano e Paterno’s small shop and explore the grounds.  We found this fun olive tree!

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Tuscan olive trees!

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Me and Dan in the vineyards!

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Really wanting that old jeep!

After our tasting at Fattoria Corzano e Paterno, we drove about 25 minutes to our next tasting location, Forconi Fabrizio Vignaiolo, in Montespertoli.  Spoiler alert, Fattoria Corzano e Paterno was definitely the appetizer and Forconi Fabrizio the main course.  This tasting, the last of the day, consisted of SO.MUCH.WINE. and tons of delicious food!  No one left hungry or thirsty.

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Tuscan trees upon arrival at Forconi Fabrizio.

Our tour at Forconi Fabrizio started with a lot of information about the vineyard and the wine from the most passionate wine tour guide I have ever met!  Like Fattoria Corzno e Paterno, Forconi Fabrizio also had a really cute vineyard dog!

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Our Forconi Fabrizio guide getting started!

After learning about the company and the vines, our tour moved inside to the tanks and the tasting began – right from the tanks!

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Tasting straight from the tanks!

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Myra and Pryor ready to taste more wine!

After tasting straight from the barrels, the tour moved into Forconi Fabrizio’s main dining room for the most delicious lunch!  The dining room is pretty grand and would be great for a party.  For lunch, we had a ridiculous amount of food!  I cannot even remember everything!  My favorite, however, was this amazing tomato sauce on crusty Tuscan bread!  I managed to get a few pictures of the food!

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Forconi Fabrizio’s main dining room.

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The freshest bread with olive oil.

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My favorite dish – tomato sauce!

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Faro salad

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Proscuitto

What the pictures do not show are the delicious pasta main course and the home made dessert!  We sampled various wines throughout our meal and eventually made our way to the bus to head back to Tuscany.  I think everyone had a nap on the bus!

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Betty and one of the winemakers at Forconi Fabrizio.

Looking back on our wine tour, we had a fabulous day and the wine tour was a great way to see a bit of Tuscany and taste Tuscan wines without the hassle of renting a car.  I would, however, love to go back and spend several days wine tasting in the Tuscan Countryside!

STEAL OUR TRIP

Grape Tours:  We did the Winter Wine Tour with Grape Tours.  The Winter Wine Tour cost €140 per person and included all food and wine tastings.  I highly recommend making reservations online before you leave.

Fattoria Corzano e Paterno: Via San Vito di Sopra, snc – 50020 San Casciano in Val di Pesa – Florence – Tuscany – Italy – tel. +39 055 8248 179 – fax +39 0558249066 –
mail – office@corzanoepaterno.itagriturismo@corzanoepaterno.it

Podere dell’Anselmo: Via Panfi Anselmo, 12, 50025 Montespertoli FI, Italy. T: + 39 348  339 2575. Also acts as a agriturismo.

ON A BUDGET

While definitely not shoestring budget worthy, at €140 a person whether this is a good deal comes down to what you like.  Yes, there was a lot of food and wine, and a bus ride through Tuscany, but you can probably get more food and wine in Florence.  I would certainly recommend this tour as a worthy splurge for those on a budget who enjoy food and wine.  However, for those who do not love food and wine, I think your money may be better spent elsewhere.   In addition, many hostels offer less expensive wine tastings and tours in and around Florence.

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