Wine Marquis of Tuscany

If you are lucky enough to plan a trip to travel in Tuscany, then wine tasting and touring in the Chianti Classico wine region has got to be at the top of your wine lovers wish list. If you are like a lot of  folks and can’t spare the expense of a Diane Lane Under the Tuscan Sun style adventure, you are not alone. But fear not, you don’t need to travel thousands of miles away to take a trip to Tuscany. All you have to do is pour yourself a glass (better yet a bottle) of Chianti Classico, kick back on your couch, and uncork your mind to the wonderful world of Italian wine. When you watch this video, you will see a trip to Tuscany is a mere mouse click away and that you too can have a taste of Tuscany without leaving your living-room.

DipticTuscany, where indulgence isn’t a dirty word, where ancient vines enhance the picture perfect scenery, where fortresses are easy to find, there is a castle on practically every corner. Nine municipalities between the cities of Siena and of Florence make up the Chianti Classico wine region. Five of them are only partially within the territory. The ones that are entirely located within the territory are easy to find because they are followed by “in Chianti”, in the name. The nine municipalities of Chianti Classico wine region are: Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti e Gaiole in Chianti, Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Barberino Val d’Elsa, Poggibonsi, and Castelnuovo Berardenga.

wine oh tv tuscanyThis is the second video of a three part video series I’m producing which highlights my recent trip to Tuscany. In my first video, Traveling in Tuscany: Uncorking Chianti Classico, we learned what Chianti Classico IS. Now it’s time to introduce you to some of the amazing men and women behind the bottle. Traveling in Tuscany: Wine Tasting & Tours gets up close and personal with the kings and queens of wine country who roll out the ruby red wine carpet in our honor.

If the royal treatment wets your appetite, then meeting the Marquis of Tuscany should make you salivate. We get a taste of their intoxicating blends as we hold court at the new Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Cellar, go off-roading at Castello d’Albola and wine with Conte Sebastiano Capponi of Villa Calcinaia and Francesco Mazzei of Marchesi Mazzei.

Villa Calcinaia

IMG_4751In 1524 Niccola di Andrea Capponi acquired Villa Calcinaia. Dating back to the 13th century, the Capponi family was among the first to develop the silk trade in Florence. In the 18th century, the Capponi were in the forefront of agricultural production, owning estates all over Tuscany. Today, guests are welcome to visit and tour and explore Villa Calcinaia where hear the family’s rich history first hand. Villa Calcinaia produces Chianti Classico, vin santo, grappa and olive oil. If you would like a taste of nobility, Villa Calcinaia is open to the public and hosts Tours, Tastings, Luncheons and Dinners:

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling +39. 392.6623362 or email:



Marchesi Antinori

esterno scalaIf the name Antinori rings a bell, that’s because they have been a leader in Italian wines for over six centuries. 26 generations later Antinori is still a family affair and is run by Marquis Piero Antinori with the support of his three daughters Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia.

For the first time in over 625 years, the family has opened their winery to the public with their new state of the art facility. The Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Cellar opened outside Florence, Italy in March 2013. In June, I had a chance to tour, wine and dine at this epic property. The modern facility includes a winery, restaurant, auditorium, museum, wine and bookshop.

Guided tours with tastings are available. Reservations are recommended, and they can be made online by visiting




Castello d’Albola

IMG_4735The Castello d’Albola estate in Radda in Chianti dates back to Etruscan times and is owned by the Zonin Family, which has been making wine since 1821. This historical estate looks like a snapshot from a piece of the past and transports you back to the Middle Ages. The oldest building on the property dates back to the 12th century and was transformed during the Renaissance into the splendid villa you see today. The predominant grape grown is Sangiovese, in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They also produce vin santo and olive oil.

Each year at least 25,000 people visit the Castello. The winery offers free guided tours of the historic cellars at 12 noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., followed by a wine and olive oil tasting conducted by the estate’s hospitality team. For information and booking: +39 0577 738019 or email

Marchesi Mazzei

IMG_4531The Mazzei family history is tied to the history of winemaking, politics and culture in Tuscany. The first documents linking the Mazzeis to winemaking date back to the eleventh century. Ser Lapo Mazzei is considered the “father” of the Chianti name because he authored the first known document using the name dated on December 16, 1398. Today, the Mazzei family is still committed to winemaking and manages to stay successful by keeping an eye on innovation and a deep respect for the land.

What is the Mazzei Family and Thomas Jefferson connection you ask? In 1773, Philip Mazzei led a group of Italians who came to Virginia to introduce the cultivation of vineyards, olives, and other Mediterranean fruits. Mazzei became a neighbor and friend of Thomas Jefferson. Mazzei and Jefferson started what became the first commercial vineyard in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

On July 3, 2013 the new Mazzei wine “Philip,” launched, and it was created to honor the Mazzei family’s great ancestor, Philip Mazzei. Philip is a blend of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes selected from the Mazzei’s estates of Castello di Fonterutoli and the Belguardo Estate. The wine launch was held at The Shop at Monticello and celebrates the Italian influence at Monticello and commemorates the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and Philip Mazzei. If you would like to visit the Marchesi Mazzei property, Castello di Fonterutoli in Chianti Classico call +39 0577 73571 or email: for more information.

Ordering Advice from the Sherpa Principessa

“Never order a latte at lunch, the correct cafe is a Caffè corretto!”

Caffè Corretto: shot of espresso with a shot of liquor, usually grappa, and sometimes sambuca or brandy

8652_577504765604601_1393243300_nI traveled to Tuscany with five notable male wine experts and wine bloggers. This was my first time traveling with all guys, but luckily for me I had recently read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. In an effort to make Mrs. Facebook proud I did my best to sit at the table both literally and figuratively! During our visit to the rural and rolling hills of Tuscany, we were invited to attend the Chianti Classico Experience. The Chianti Classico Experience is 10 days of wine and food events, seminars, tastings, excursions, and games to get acquainted with Chianti Classico producers and their beautiful territory. Early on in the trip the guys affectionately dubbed me The Principessa. Then I looked around at the gang tweeting on their tiny iPhone’s and rapidly writing on their miniature notepads and looked at down at my tripod, camera, batteries, lights, make-up, hair spray, lip gloss and the 50 pounds of gear strapped to my back and said I’m more like the Sherpa than the Principessa. For the rest of our adventure under the Tuscan sun and sunset, I would be known as the Sherpa Principessa.

Traveling in Tuscany: Part Three Coming Soon….

Thank you to the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and Balzac Communications for sponsoring my first trip to Tuscany and making it possible for me to share what I learned with all of you!

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