A Day in Bolgheri
When we were planning our Tuscany trip I knew that I just had to visit Bolgheri. While I was confident that I would enjoy the museums of Florence and the Sangiovese of Chianti, I was enamored with the thought of going to the land of Super Tuscans. Super Tuscan is a name that describe red wines from Tuscany that are not made entirely from Italian grapes. The wines typically include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The term Super Tuscan started in the early 1980s (just like me!) and can range in style and flavor profile as they do not adhere to specific winemaking rules and regulations. Super Tuscans thrive in Bolgheri as the sunny, dry, and windswept nature of the region has soil that is perfectly suited for growing grapes of Bordeaux origin.
Bolgheri is located in the province of Livorno, Tuscany along what is known as the Etruscan Coast. It is about a two-hour drive from where we were staying in Florence, but I was determined to make this trip happen! With the distance and my unfamiliarity with the region I was motivated to find an expert to help us plan this journey and Bolgheri Wine Tours was the perfect solution. Margarethe was our guide and she coordinated our transportation, winery stops, and joined us to provide valuable context to the Bolgheri wine experience as well as the rich history of the region. Here are our three stops from that glorious day:
Tenuta Guado al Tasso: Our first stop in Bolgheri, Tenuta Guado al Tasso, is owned by the Antinori family and while I was afraid the winery would be too corporate or fussy, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We started out with a drive around the vineyard while we learned about the history and explored the vines. Then we were seated at an enormous table overlooking the beautiful vineyards. I felt like I had stepped inside a spectacular Italian movie! The attentive staff brought us a wondrous array of cured meats and cheeses as our guide walked us through a beautiful tasting of their wines. While their red wines blew me away – I just can’t stop thinking about their Vermentino. Their vineyards' proximity to the coast gives this wine such exhilarating mineral notes that made me feel that I was drinking from the sea…in the best way possible. (*Favorite Wine: 2021 Vermentino, Bolgheri DOC)
Osteria Enoteca San Guido: I have to be honest…the only reason why I planned lunch at Osteria Enoteca San Guido is because I wanted to taste the famous Sassicaia. Sassicaia is produced by Tenuta San Guido and is one of the original Super Tuscan wines. They do not provide tastings to the public so the best way to enjoy it is to book lunch here and select the menu with the wine tasting. I was not prepared that this would be one of the best meals of my life! It was a very unassuming spot and we sat outside among locals and people that all seemed to know each other. Each course was more delectable than the last and I savored every sip of wine. This lunch will live in my memory for years to come. (*Favorite Wine: 2020 Bolgheri Sassicaia)
Mulini di Segalari: Our last stop of the day was like stepping into a dream. We were met at the entrance by the owner and winemaker, Marina, and then she drove us in her own car up to the vineyards. First, we met her dog who I immediately fell in love with and then Marina walked us through her garden where we smelled and tasted herbs – some that we’ve never even heard of before. Then we meandered through the vines and learned that Mulini di Segalari is a biodynamic winery that uses the rhythms of nature to create wine that captures the true essence of the terroir of Bolgheri in every bottle. Naturally, there was more meat and cheese to enjoy as we tasted many delicious wines there. I didn’t want to leave at the end of the afternoon but was happy to order a few bottles to ship back to California. I highly recommend visiting a winery off the beaten path on your trip to Bolgheri. (*Favorite Wine: 2018 Ai Confini del Bosco, DOC Bolgheri Rosso – 44% Cabernet Sauvignon & Franc, 34% Merlot, 14% Petit Verdot, 8% Syrah)