As the country road narrows and the forest deepens, a swathe of verdant vineyards suddenly sweeps open all around you: welcome to Poggio Casciano, the jewel in the crown of renowned Tuscan winery Ruffino.
Only 20 minutes from Florence by car, or indeed taxi, the Poggio Casciano estate is an oasis of oenology in the hills outside the village of Grassina. “Poggio” is the Tuscan word for a terraced hilltop, while “Casciano” is said to derive from Cassius, a commander in the ancient Roman army who was granted sizeable land holdings in the area. Ochre arches greet you to Ruffino’s flagship visitor center, a surprisingly understated fourteenth-century villa for such a well-known winery, where the focus is on a friendly feel with memorable service.
Personable brand ambassadors settle you into the terracotta-tiled Loggiato, introducing just the right dose of historical insight while sitting cozily in rustic wicker chairs over espresso coffee for grown-ups and fruit juice for the kids. Stroll around the immaculate gardens and drink in the Ruffino story, discovering how cousins Ilario and Leopoldo embraced their passion by starting a small winery in the Tuscan town of Pontassieve, honing their expertise by making clean, balanced wines and adopting the motto “Here we make ideal wine”. Parquet flooring leads into the light-filled piano nobile, where you can inspect the medals that established Ruffino’s global reputation as well as the 1890 parchment issued by the Duke of Aosta appointing Ruffino as the official supplier to the Italian royal family.
A taste of Tuscany
Choose from the Taste of Tuscany tour, a 90-minute introduction to the region’s winemaking, a walk around the villa, production room and striking barrique tunnel, savoring Ruffino’s most distinctive wines and extra-virgin olive oil paired with locally made cold cuts and cheeses. Or opt for the popular two-hour Vineyard in the Glass visit, which begins in the tenuta’s vineyard, mostly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes used to produce Ruffino’s Modus and Alauda Super Tuscan wines, before venturing underground for a special barrel tasting in the centuries-old ageing cellar. Wine connoisseurs will be drawn to Back to the Future, a vertical tasting in the upstairs degustazione room across four decades of Riserva Ducale Oro, the producer’s landmark Chianti Classico, a way to understand the evolution of the Ruffino brand from past to present but always looking toward the future.
This year, Poggio Casciano has added an exciting experience: truffle hunting. A treasure in terms of aroma and appetite, join a professional tartufaio and his faithful canine dog (the real star!) for a morning spent sniffing out this precious tuber, followed by a decadent truffle lunch perfectly paired with Ruffino wines.
Stopping by the wine shop is a must, of course. Stock up on your dad’s Chianti craving (you can have the wine shipped home), pick up the Ruffino cookbook for your nonna or nab an apron for your sister before you leave.
Tenuta Poggio Casciano
Via Poggio al Mandorlo 1, Quarate-Bagno a Ripoli (Florence)
Reservations recommended: email@example.com
Tel. Silvia +39 342 0425730 / Greta +39 344 3912004
Primavera in Tenuta
On May 6, Ruffino’s Poggio Casciano will open its gates from 4–9pm for Primavera in Tenuta (Spring at the Estate). Giovanni Santarpia will serve his classic pizzas (margherita, sausage and greens, pumpkin and guanciale) as well as a special Ruffino version for the occasion!
Take the winery tour, stock up your cellar with daring discounts on all wines and dance off with the DJ set from 7pm. The Florentine will be in attendance with its May issue.