The best vineyards in Tuscany, with deep fashion roots

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Vino is made in almost every corner of Italy, but Tuscany is a standout: Although it creates just 5 percent of the country’s volume, it accounts for 10 percent of the industry’s value.

Put simply, its vineyards specialize in top-flight, cellar-ready reds, not just table plonk. It’s no wonder the fash-pack loves them so.

The reigning god of Geek-chic, Alessandro Michele, was born in Rome, but as head of Florence-based Gucci, he’s embraced his adoptive Tuscan home with gusto.

Michele has begun anointing a select few locales around the world as Gucci Places, must-visit stops that capture his brand’s distinctive vibe; use an app to check into one of his spots and you’ll earn a unique Gucci badge.

The closest to HQ is the Chianti-making vineyard Castello Sonnino, 12 miles or so south of Florence. More than a quarter of the de Renzis Sonnino family’s estate is planted as vineyards, mostly traditional Chianti grapes like Sangiovese and Canaiolo; the best of the former is reserved for Cantinino, the family’s pride of production. Bonus: There are rooms available if you decide you’d rather drink a little deeper in the family’s cellars instead of shuttling back to Florence at day’s end.

A clock on a castle tower at Castello Sonnino.
The Chianti-focused Castello Sonnino, outside of Florence, is honored as an official Gucci Place.
Castello Sonnino
The patio area at Podernuovo.
The 50-acre Podernuovo sits near Siena and was snapped up by Giovanni Bulgari 17 years ago.
Podernuovo

That’s not the only fashionable vineyard in the area. Seventeen years ago, Giovanni Bulgari snapped up a 50-acre estate in southern Tuscany closer to Siena, named Podernuovo. In 2009, the vineyard’s first Bulgari-approved vintages debuted — and not long after, the family sold its controlling stake of their namesake firm to luxury conglomerate LVMH.

Now they’re focused on winemaking, though you’ll need to squint to spot the connection on any label, as the family deliberately keeps its involvement low-key. Smartly, the Bulgaris tapped Riccardo Cotarella, a winemaker nicknamed “Il Mago” (“The Wizard”) to supervise production here. The sleek, concrete winery, designed by Venice-based Alvisi Kirimoto, relies in part on geothermal energy as a power source — a nod to the region’s reputation for thermal springs.

Meanwhile, two branches of the Florence-based Ferragamo family own separate vineyards in the region. Il Borro, a 2,700-acre estate that was once owned by the Medici, is now a hotel, equestrian center and winemaking center, after Ferruccio Ferragamo bought it in 1993.

Aerial shot of Il Borro.
Il Boro — a combination winery, equestrian center and hotel — was purchased by Massimo’s brother Ferruccio Ferragamo nearly three decades ago.
Il Borro

The standout here isn’t a Chianti — this is the Valdarno valley between Florence and Arezzo, after all — but bottles of Alessandro Dal Borro, an all-syrah beauty that costs around $350 stateside and is named after one of Italy’s historic gourmands.

Ferruccio’s brother, Massimo, wasn’t to be outdone by those efforts: Ten years later, he snapped up an even larger patch of land, the 4,300-acre Castiglion del Bosco. Come here to sample one of its three superb Brunellos, learn to cook at its on-site school, or play a round of golf at the championship course designed by Tom Weiskopf.

The interior of Castiglion del Bosco.
Castiglion del Bosco in the Valdarno valley was snagged by Massimo Ferragamo in 2003.
Castiglion del Bosco

Finally, the Antinori family’s interests lie entirely in winemaking — they’ve been leading producers here since the 14th century, and played a fundamental part in the barnstorming emergence of coast-adjacent Super Tuscan wines in the 1970s, mostly via their best known wine, Tignanello, a Sangiovese-heavy blend.

But the chic family has deep connections to the fashion and jewelry world, too — Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Gioielleria line was presented at its Chianti classico winery last year in an exclusive private event. The jewelry wasn’t just showcased in vitrines, but also on custom-designed scarecrows studded with diamonds and half-hidden amid the vines.

— Mark Ellwood


Grapes that glitter: Pour a splash of couture with these fashion-forward bottles

Milan may be the heart of Italy’s famed style scene, but it’s the misty, undulating hills of Tuscany where Italian wine steals the show.

Tuscan vintners have had nearly 3,000 years to perfect their strut, having first planted vines in the eighth century B.C.

In the 1960s, the region was the site of another superior wine honor: Italy’s first DOC designations, for Chianti and Vernaccia.

So what happens when you combine the best of Italian crush pads with its couture crowd?

Pop these haute bottles to find out.

Carratelli Pianirossi Solus 2016 ($39)

A bottle of Solus wine.
Have a berry, merry Christmas with a glass of Pianirossi’s fruity Solus.
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Beautiful Maremma in southern Tuscany was long known as Italy’s Wild West, but it’s now home to some of the country’s best bottles.

Pianirossi’s roots here go back more than 30 years, when its owner (and former Tod’s CEO) Stefano Sincini gambled on grapes in what was then a lesser-known winemaking land.

The bet paid off. His 40-acre estate produces gorgeous wines like Solus: a blend of 60 percent Sangiovese and 40 percent Montepulciano, whose concentrated amaranthine hue hints at the ripe, fresh berry flavors in store.

Castiglion del Bosco Petruna Anfora Valdarno di Sopra DOC 2018 ($65)

A bottle of Petruna wine.
The age-old secret to this celebrated red is ambient yeasts in terracotta amphora.
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The Ferragamo family restored this 800-year-old Tuscan estate in 2003, turning crumbling buildings into luxury digs.

Shooting for a carbon-negative footprint, Salvatore Ferragamo has embraced a low-intervention methodology for his wines, like the Petruna Anfora.

This 100 percent Sangiovese is fermented on ambient yeasts in terracotta amphora (a nod to the ancient ways), teasing out an alert vibrancy from this classic red, rife with cherries, plum, orange zest and violet notes.

Podernuovo a Palazzone Nicoleo 2019 ($47)

A bottle of Nicoleo wine.
Don’t sleep on Tuscany’s whites like this Nicoleo chardonnay.
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While Tuscany is more often than not synonymous with red wines, the whites of the region are showstoppers, too, and well-worth seeking out.

Case in point: the 2019 Nicoleo, named for chic winemaker Giovanni Bulgari’s sons, Nico and Leone.

This combo of regionally traditional grechetto with less-traditional chardonnay is notable for its textural complexity and richness, along with pretty notes of citrus and stone fruit, accented by aromatics of honey and almonds.

Villa Antinori Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva 2018 ($30)

A bottle of Antinori wine.
Thyme, eucalyptus and licorice all cameo in Villa Antinori’s cerise chianti.
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The site of a chic Dolce & Gabbana event last year, this winery’s medium-bodied Chianti Classico is an icon of the category — no surprise, given it first debuted in 1928.

The 2018 vintage is made almost entirely of Sangiovese, with just a touch of cabernet sauvignon, adding structure and a gentle but firm grip to the tannins in this bright, cherry-scented, juicy beauty.

It’s laced with notes of thyme, eucalyptus and licorice, with just a hint of vanilla on the finish.

— Amy Zavatto

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