You often hear about the rolling hills of Tuscany but rarely do you hear any big tourist buzz (at least I don’t) about Bolgheri. This small spot is on the Tuscan coast—an exquisite little wine region south of Livorno that just happens to be making some of the world’s best wines.
We recently returned from Bolgheri and will definitely go back! Though the area has been producing wine for years, hundreds of years, Bolgheri is a relatively new appellation.
Turns out the sandy clay soils in Bolgheri are loaded with small rock fragments and can produce wines with subtle, soft tannins and beautiful bouquets…voluptuous reds!
Bolgheri is known on the world stage for its Super Tuscan and Bordeaux styled wines. Varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot do very well here.
Our first stop while exploring Bolgheri was at Castello di Bolgheri – a 16th century castle with wine cellars that date back to the 1700’s.
Stephanie, our guide at the castle, was phenomenal…great fun and a wealth of information not only about the wines but about the colorful history of the region. I love hearing about the drama that surrounds Italian history…the Nobles, the warring families, the regional pride…it’s a fascinating country.
There’s more to the castle than the historic walls and lengthy family tree. The Castello de Bolgheri wine was quite nice…a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The resulting wine is big on dark cherries and currants with a bit of cocoa and vanilla…nicely balanced, very smooth. There’s a hint of eucalyptus on the nose…something I noticed in many of the wines in the region.
After touring Castello di Bolgheri, we headed to the nearby Tenuto San Guido estate, producers of the famed Sassicaia– their flagship wine that literally put Bolgheri on the world stage as an outstanding wine producing region.
For many years the estate’s owner, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta (one of the Nobles of Italy) produced the wine for his family and friends. The wine’s popularity grew and so did the demand. Sassicaia is now recognized as one of the world’s top wines, renowned for its complex bouquet of chocolate, herbs, plums and smoke and its silky finesse.
We had a delightful tasting and visit with the winemaker and carefully transported a bottle back to the states to be savored on a special occasion.
Again, many thanks to my trusty iPhone and At&t for helping us navigate our way through Tuscany!
Castella de Bolgheri and the beautiful Sassicaia were a great start of our exploration of the region. Next, one of the true giants—Ornellaia.