Having just returned from a whirlwind trip to Tuscany and looking through my 800+ photos, undoubtedly, Panzano In Chianti is absolutely one of the most beautiful places in Italy. With a population of less than 1,200 people, the charming hilltop village of Panzano lies mid-way between Siena and Florence, right in the heart of Chianti Classico wine country.
Anthony Bourdain, Rick Steeves and other travel writers often boast about Panzano’s famous resident butcher, Dario Cecchini (read about Dario Cecchini on my blog) But for Sangiovese lovers, Panzano is more about the legendary Chianti Classico wines.
A scenic winding road outside the city center of Panzano leads to Panzanello Winery. Time seems to stand still as you pass the shimmering silver-green olive groves and the fruit-laden vineyards as you slowly turn down the long driveway to Panzanello Winery.
Panzanello Winery is family owned and run by Andrea and Iole Sommaruga since the 1960s. The estate encompasses over 270 acres of rolling hills, undulating valleys, thick woods, olive groves and vineyards and produces 100,000 bottles of wine yearly. In 1998, Panzanello Winery earned highest accolades for organic farming and sustainability.
Wine tastings include a stellar lineup of five wines and are served with Tuscan bread, estate olive oil and thinly sliced meats, no doubt from Dario’s butcher shop.
The 2014 Chianti Classico Panzanello is true to character for the region with vibrant tart red cherry and strawberry and wafts of violet. Another favorite is the 2010 Il Manuzio, a Super Tuscan blend of 90% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot which is aged over two years in barrique barrels. Often touted as the winery’s best wine is the 2011 Vindea Limited Edition, aka the “Goddess of Wine”. This a blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Petit Verdot, and is aged for three years.
Our host, Sommelier Luciano Lo Manto, was very knowledgeable, super animated and brought lots of laughter and even some tango lessons to the tasting party! For the grand finale, Luciano poured us Rose Grappa and wished us well. www.panzanello.it