7 Bars For Tuscan Wine Tasting in Florence
01 December, 2016
If you are wine lovers, Florence is your destination. And, not only because it is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, with one of the most celebrated DOs in the world and their flagship chianti, but because it is packed with wine bars where you can indulge in culinary specialities paired with a huge variety of great wines that can be ordered by the glass. What a treat and, on a reasonable budget – here you will taste and discover the wine treasures of the region and the country.
La Volpi e l’Uva
This tiny wine bar, owned by three Florentines, is a veritable benchmark, ideal for those wishing to avoid the more popular establishments. At the bar counter or on their magnificent terrace, a stone’s throw from the emblematic Ponte Vecchio, you can savour wine by the glass, with over 45 different signature Italian reds and French whites from small local wineries, most of them biodynamic and organic. A luxury which costs from €4.5 to €9 and includes pairings with tasting dishes from a menu of top-quality specialties from the Florence area –cured meat (mortadella, salami, ham), cheese served on delicious, dry schiacciata bread and crostini (toast). And, if you fall for any particular wine, you’ve hit the jackpot, as La Volpa et L’Uva is also a wine shop. You can take advice from Ricardo, one of the very friendly owners, who will passionately recommend the ideal bottle from over 1,000 signature wines lining the walls.
This huge yet congenial wine bar and restaurant, located next to the San Miniato Gate, is descended upon every day by crowds of loyal regulars. This is a must-visit tasting venue when you’re in Florence. Here you can forget about pizza and pasta; the cuisine is simple but delicious, based on gourmet sandwiches, bruschettas (toasted bread rubbed with garlic and oil), meat, salads, pinchos and cheese-and-cured meat boards. Wine is the undisputed leading light of this restaurant, with a choice of over 500 wines to enjoy by the glass – quite a sizeable figure! You will soon discover the variety of Tuscan wines, as well as the other Italian DOs. And, as if that weren’t enough, they renew their menu about five times a year, and you can also buy takeaway wine by the bottle – a must-have souvenir.
Pitti Gola e Cantina
If you are bold enough to ask for the wine list, you will be amazed, as it can hardly fit on the table. This establishment is essential if you think of yourself as a genuine wine lover as it holds veritable gems in its cellar, including labels that go back to 1950! Prices can sting a little, though (from €6.60 a glass), but it is worthwhile if you want to discover the grands crus of Tuscany and Piedmont in particular, and the rest of the peninsula in general, noteworthy for its traditional wines based on local vinestocks. The staff are young and highly motivated and are bound to recommend some superb tasting. They offer an exquisite menu of Italian delicacies to go with it – pasta, lasagna, select meats… You will also be able to soak up the atmosphere while seated on their terrace, located on the majestic Piazza Pitti.
A small shop in the heart of the San Lorenzo district which carries both Tuscan wines (accounting for half their stock) and Italian varieties in general, with nearly 500 different labels, in addition to liqueurs and sparkling wines. The store has been open for 44 years and has accrued viticultural knowledge from one generation to the next. Tastings can be ordered at the small tasting counter, which thousands of wine lovers have already homed in on. But, there is not much to nibble on, so best to go there on a full stomach. They also have six house wines.
Casa del vino
Nothing seems to have changed in this wine house since it first opened around the year 1900. In fact, seen from the outside, it actually looks more like an antiques shop, with its marble bar counter, glass cabinets and wooden furniture plastered with black-and-white photos and the odd wooden wine crate covered in dust. The establishment has remained in the same family throughout and decribes itself as a tavern where you can have a glass of red wine from Tuscany, Piedmont or Sicily standing up at any time of the day, while getting stuck into some fresh panini and cured meat. They are also known for stocking some of the best champagnes in town.
It has very cosy decor, with a few tables and very young, cool customers. Here, bon vivants can choose from 30 Italian wines served by the glass while munching on some excellent panini or the house menu, made up of meat and pasta dishes crafted from the purest Italian recipe book. Drinks are served generously by a very obliging staff. Average price around €12 for a drink and something to eat, or just €5 if you’ve only turned up for a toast. Via San Niccolò 59R, Monday to Sunday, from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Right next door to the stunning Duomo, Coquinarius is the closest you’ll get to a bistro. The front is a wine bar, with a restaurant at the back. The aroma wafting out of the kitchen is mouth-watering. Here you can savour an in-season menu, featuring bruschettas,meat and fish dishes as the highlights. Special mention goes to the salads, with unusual ingredients yet exquisite; notably, dried tomatoes, aubergines, sunflower seeds, courgette flowers and pear. This elegant wine bar offers a large variety of mostly Italian wines, as well as the odd label from more unique sources – Argentina, Austria, Chile or California. Wine by the glass or bottle.
Book your Vueling to Florence and get ready to taste the wines of Tuscany.
Text and photos by Laia Zieger of Gastronomistas.com
01 December, 2016