As the U.S. is gearing up to celebrate Memorial Day, Italians in the comune of Montespertoli are getting ready for a very different kind of celebration: their annual Chianti Wine festival. Every year the event runs for 10 days from the last weekend in May to the first weekend in June. At its heart, the festival is a celebration of the local wine, but there are also parades, cooking competitions, music, and a market with stalls of food.
Many of our Tuscan cooking vacations, such as Cook in the Heart of Chianti, are also a wonderful way to get to know both the area and its wine. Like our vacations, the festival features a variety of wine tastings at a number of vineyards in addition to the occasional olive oil tasting, but reservations are often required as these tastings fill up fast.
After all, Chianti wine continues to be one of the most well-known red wines in the world. It’s popularity is due, in large part, to its fine taste, which is impacted by the amazing weather and soil conditions of the region. Plus, Italians in the area have been refining their wine-making process for centuries, ever since the time of the Etruscans.
Today, there are a variety of denominations of the wine based on where the grapes are grown. Chianti Classico wines are the best known and are produced between Siena and Florence, while Colli Senesi, for example, is made in the Siena hills.
Discover Chianti wine by visiting this festival next year, or even in September when the region holds another festival in Greve in Chianti. Additionally, you can visit a wine estate with Chef Laura, who hosts a cooking class and a wine cellar visit. Another way to try the wine and see where it’s produced is to try Living the Real Tuscan Dream, where your Tuscan guide will not only bring you to tastings but also teach you the secrets of Tuscan cuisine!
By Liz Hall
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Originally published May 24, 2013.