This may come as a shock, but most wine regions are not inherently beautiful. Grape vines thrive in nutrient poor soil, as do few other plants, save olive trees and succulents. Indeed, it is often the vineyards and wineries themselves that lend our most beloved wine regions their character and charm. Then there’s Bolgheri, a slice of heaven on Italy’s west coast, rising from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the foothills of the Colline Metallifere.
Bolgheri possesses all the bells and whistles one could want from the natural world: white sand beaches, mountains, rivers, lush forests, ducks and wild boar. Lined by more than 2,500 cypress trees, even the three-mile road to the village, the grand Viale dei Cipressi, suggests you have entered nature’s castle.
As for the wines, picture Bordeaux varieties (cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc), along with sangiovese and syrah, luxuriating under the Tuscan sun, while being cooled by a wind stream stretching between rivers along the region’s northern and southern borders.
It’s no wonder Bolgheri produces some of Italy’s most opulent and collectable bottles: Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Guado al Tasso, Massetto and Ca’Marcanda immediately come to mind. Bolgheri also offers delicious characterful wines that will spare you the sticker shock: look for offerings from Aia Vecchia, Poggio al Moro and Ceralti.
Bolgheri’s dark dense wines grown by the sea are perfect for special evening meals as summer’s warm nights transition into autumn’s cool evenings.