San Gimignano Wine Tasting: The Delicious Flavors of Tuscany

On our Thanksgiving trip to Europe, we spent a night in Montepulciano before heading to Florence.  This San Gimignano wine tasting is the perfect stopover to see a bit of Tuscany and enjoy the culinary delights of the region.  I chose this particular winery because they offer rose and white wines to try, in addition to the regional red wines.  Another benefit?  You can book a wine tasting with lunch.  We’ve done two wine tours at Podere la Marronaia, and I think their seasonal menus are delicious!  I never know what to expect, but I’m never disappointed.  It’s an essential stop on any road trip through Tuscany!  

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Getting to San Gimignano

The great thing about this wine tasting is that it can make an easy day trip from Florence, Siena, or Volterra.  Whether you drive or take a the bus, it’s pretty easy to get to the winery, which is a short walk from the San Gimignano city center.  I think the best part of this tour is that it doesn’t take the full day, so you could couple it with a cooking class, a visit to another Tuscan hill town, or just wander around San Gimignano, a beautiful town in its own right.       

The Winery Experience

This tour starts with an easy walk around the family-owned and operated vineyard.  Even in late November, Tuscany was absolutely beautiful.  While the vines were all trimmed down from the most recent harvest, it was still a beautiful time of year to visit.    We lucked out in the sense that it was an absolutely beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the temperatures was in the 60s, and you could see the towers of San Gimignano overlooking the vineyards.  

During the tour of the vineyard, we learned about the San Genovese and vernaccia grape varietals, as well as more about the San Gimignano docg certification.  Everything comes down to maintaining the traditional Tuscan wine techniques and “recipes,” for lack of a better word.

While this doesn’t include a visit to the wine cellar, both of the guides we’ve had were both happy to answer any and all questions we had about the wines and how they are produced.    

San Gimignano Wine Tasting

Our wine tasting started with a rose, much to the delight of my mom.  (She ended up shipping several bottles of the rose back to the U.S..)  Throughout the wine tasting, we were provided multiple food items that were only enhanced by the wine.  Everything was delightfully fresh and tasty.  

Once the staff that knew that my mom favored white wines, they let us try several other varietals that were specific to this vineyard.  My mom found a wine that “didn’t taste like anything she had ever had” and sent a couple bottles of that home, too.  Tom and I tend to prefer the reds, and the Nottolo (translating to “a little lazy, a little fat” – named after one of the dogs) is our favorite.

Overall, we tried five different wines from whites to roses to reds.  My mom purchased six bottles to ship home and we purchased a few for the road.  None of them made it past Florence.  We (happily) enjoyed them throughout our time in Florence.  When we couldn’t travel to Italy in 2020, we ordered several cases to support Italy

Wine Tasting with Tuscan Lunch

As I mentioned above, we booked a tour that includes a “light” lunch.  Trust me when I say there was plenty of food.  There is nothing light about this meal.  Don’t eat before you come or plan for a big meal on the same evening.  You won’t go hungry and everything is delicious.  I’ve detailed our November menu below and included a few notes about the difference between the spring menu.  


The antipasti course included different bruschetta.  We tried four different varieties: tomato and basil, eggplant, Tuscan white bean, and a purple onion.  I love a classic bruschetta.  My mom unexpectedly liked the purple onion – she thought it was more sweet than tart.  Tom tried them all and was happy to finish what we didn’t.  (The spring menu was very similar, but we were also able to try a plain bruschetta that only included olive oil.)    

Primi Courses 

One of the primi courses was our favorite: pappa al pomodoro.  Tom and I had never tried this Tuscan speciality before this vineyard tour.  I don’t even know that we noticed it on the menu before taking this tour.  It’s a Tuscan tomato bread soup, and it is the perfect winter dish.  We ordered it several times throughout our trips in November and December, and it was always delicious.  You definitely want to try pappa al pomodoro, whether you do this tour or not.  It’s perfect for damp, rainy days.  (This was not part of our spring menu.)      

In addition to the pappa al pomodoro, we were also provided a penne with red bell pepper cream sauce.  I wouldn’t expect to like this because I find bell peppers to be too strong, but it was also delicious.  It was also delicious when mixed with the pappa al pomodoro.  (Our spring menu included farfalle with a fresh tomato-basil sauce.  It was delicious, too!)  

Tom and I would do this tour again just for the pasta.      

Meats, Cheeses, and Olive Oils

The last part of this wine tasting involves more of our favorite things: Tuscan meats, cheeses, and different extra virgin olive oils.  The meats are different salamis and prosciuttos, including a salami with fennel that acts as a palate cleanser.  The cheeses include different ages of pecorino that go well with pear.  This is a traditional menu item in the hill towns of Tuscany.  Our favorite restaurant in Montepulciano offers a melted pecorino with pear dish, though we tend to order pecorino with white truffles when its in season.      

Tuscan bread doesn’t typically include salt, so it’s perfect for tasting olive oil.  There are five flavored olive oils that you can try, along with a regular extra virgin olive oil.  I enjoy the truffle oil and chili oil the most.  My mom really liked the rosemary and basil oils.  We ended up purchasing a few different olive oils and shipping them home to share.  They are excellent with bread and pasta.  (Our favorite restaurant in Venice taught us how delicious chili oil can be.)  

Our spring tour included different balsamic vinegars.  I didn’t see them on the order form, so I don’t know if they still offer a balsamic tasting or not, but there are a few stores in San Gimignano that sell the flavors balsamic vinegars.  I recommend the saffron and truffle balsamic vinegars.  They make a delicious marinade for meat!  

Tuscan Dessert

While we didn’t save room for dessert (whoops), they offered us a typical Tuscan dessert: almond cookies and sweet wine.  I recommend leaving room for such a delicious sweet treat, particularly if it’s your first time in Tuscany.  We did try it on our spring visit to the winery, and I think the almond biscotti are delicious.  The sweet wine is a little strong for me, but I think it’s worth trying for the experience.  You might love it!    

Concluding Thoughts on our San Gimignano Wine Tasting

This is still one of my favorite Tuscan wine tastings that we’ve done.  It was my mom’s favorite winery on our November 2019 trip because the staff was really knowledgeable about the rose and the white wines, too.  Between the seasonal lunch menus and the way the staff tries to tailor the wines to your specific tastes, you really can’t go wrong by booking this wine tour.  (The dogs are really cute, too.)  We’ve done it in April and November and both experiences were absolutely perfect.  I think it’s great introduction to the many flavors of Tuscany, and if you really like olive oil or wine, it’s a great way to try local products beyond the chianti wine.  I particularly like that they handle shipping everything back to the United States, too.  Our wine and olive oil showed up, perfectly packaged, within two weeks.

This is always a five-star experience.  It’s the perfect way to spend a few hours and to taste as many flavors of Tuscany as you can.

Click here to read about more wine tasting tours in Italy.            

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