One of the pleasures of travelling to Tuscany is experiencing wine within the famed Chianti district. Bordered by Florence, Siena, and Pisa, this picturesque region of 1,200 wine producers offers fine wine “old world” style from their antique cantinas. One of the most historic, and prolific, winemakers in Tuscany is the Antinori family and their cellar in Chianti Classico is a spectacular addition to the Tuscan wine scene.

Winemaking for the Antinori family dates back to 1385 when Giovanni di Piero Antinori enrolled in the Arte Fiorentina dei Vinattieri, the Wine Guild of Florence. For a family whose fortune was created from silk making and banking, they have also continued their business in grapes, one now stemming 26 generations and over 600 years. In 2012, Antinori opened their latest cellar, Antinori del Chianti Classico, a vast space paying homage to Chianti Classico wines producing classic reds and Vin Santo (dessert wine). Just 30 minutes from Florence, this contemporary building is unique to this area: a 1960’s futuristic style with wood panelling, natural light from ceiling-to-floor windows and local materials of terracotta, corten, and glass. Modern lines with much of the structure underground, the most the building remains hidden, tucked into the hill and in keeping with the natural flow of the landscape. The main outside terrace overlooks the vineyards with a sweeping circular staircase leading to an upper top level for magnificent views over the countryside. In the summer, music event is held here at sunset, overlooking the Sangiovese grape vines.

Taking seven years to build and at an estimated cost of 150 million euros, it’s a full wine experience taking visitors on the winemaking journey from vineyard to bottle. A museum, detailing the history of the Antinori family from a humble beginning in the 13th century until the present day, adds another dimension to the experience as do various films showcasing Antinori’s 29 estates and farms shown in the sleek cinema room. However a true wine experience wouldn’t be complete without food: restaurant Rinuccio 1180, named after the founder of the Antinori dynasty, is a modern space, light and bright with full-length windows overlooking the vines serving a typical Tuscan menu using ingredients from local producers with dishes made to match the wines on offer. After a morning touring the extensive cellar, Rinuccio 1180 is an ideal way to continue to explore the wines in the best way, by taste.

Antinori del Chianti Classico runs guided tours daily from 10am ranging from 1-2 hours including wine tastings. Should you feel enamoured to know more, the onsite shop can arrange a bespoke tasting to suit your palate plus sells bottles of their wine, and a variety of fine foods from the Antinori estates, to take home.

Photo credit: Antinori Estate