May and June are unofficial months for wine-lovers in Tuscany, so we suggest five local wine tasting opportunities for both connoisseurs and novice wine enthusiasts:
GUSTARUFINA, from May 21 to 27, which celebrates Chianti Rufina wines, conveniently takes place in Florence. The grand finale is a concert at the Pergola Theatre in three acts (for three types of wine). Wine bars and restaurants will be offering tastings and special menus to experience Rufina wines during the week. Find the full schedule online at www.gustarufina.it.
From May 25 to June 3, lovers of the black rooster will enjoy ten days of wine tastings and culture at CHIANTI CLASSICO È, which is focused on Chianti Classico wines and held in Greve in Chianti and surrounding towns. There are also dinners, art competitions, flower markets and street food events. For bookings, information and custom itineraries, visit www.classico-e.it.
During the 55th CHIANTI WINE FESTIVAL, May 26 to June 3, the heart of Montespertoli will be overflowing with local wine producers. Visitors will sample excellent local wines paired with traditional cuisine. For details, call 0571/600230 or visit www.mostradelchianti.it.
Arguably the most important event in Italy for wine lovers, CANTINE APERTE, celebrates its 20th year. On May 27, some 1,000 wine cellars across the Boot will open their doors and offer visitors the opportunity to taste the region's premier wines with a direct experience in the cellar. Visitors will learn about wine production and food pairings along with tours of cellars. It is perfect for couples or small groups, but there is never a shortage of families with children at this celebration of wine and gastronomy. The 2011 edition attracted one million visitors to over 900 wine cellars, and this year it is expected to be even bigger. For more information, call 0577/738312 or visit www.movimentoturismovino.it.
Enjoy more flavors of Tuscany with a glass of Chianti Rufina, Pomino or Colli Fiorentini at the TOSCANELLO D'ORO CHIANTI WINE FESTIVAL from May 31 to June 3 in Pontassieve's historic centre. For information, call 055/8360239.
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