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Rick Montgomery
March 1, 2021 | Rick Montgomery

A Trip To Italy

Few places in the world capture the global imagination of travel more than the central Italian province of Tuscany.

A trip to Italy – especially if it’s a first one – is not complete without a visit to the great city of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the breathtaking hill towns that dot the rolling countryside all the way south to Tuscany’s other great city of Siena. 

When it comes to wine, everything is held together in Tuscany by the great indigenous grape of Sangiovese. For hundreds of years the ancient blend of Chianti was the law of the land until a powerful Tuscan count named Antinori went against the tide to import and grow French grapes. The new blend of Sangiovese with Bordeaux varietals, became known as “Super Tuscan.”

Having become a fan of Super Tuscans during my 13 years in Italy, I was both relieved and amazed to discover that Brian Carter’s Tuttorosso perfectly captures the essence of Super Tuscan wine at a price point that is unbeatable. I love that Brian, like Count Antinori before him, also broke from tradition by adding the Southern Rhone grape of Syrah to the mix! 

Brian has also made a 100% Sangiovese for his “One” series of wine. His spectacular 2015 Sangiovese transports me directly to Tuscany every time I taste it. 

Even though it might be too soon to travel, it’s never too soon to plan a trip! I recommend flying into Florence and traveling one way south to Rome. It’s just 2.5 hours on the main highway between these two great cities so what I love to do is book an Airbnb or Vrbo in the middle of it all, perhaps somewhere near Montepulciano, and then take “hub and spoke” trips all over the place. 

You can buy olive oil where Pavarotti bought it on Lake Trasimeno, climb the towers of San Gimignano and taste the way Sangiovese took to the different soils of this volcanic landscape, including the Nobile di Montepulciano or the Brunello di Montalcino.

For those of you who want to travel off the path, be sure to make your way to lesser traveled Northeast Tuscany where you can visit Saint Francis’s hallowed “La Verna” and pop into the very house where Michelangelo was born.

For more wine travel ideas, email me at

Buon viaggio!


Rick Montgomery

General Manager at Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room and Wine Bar

On the New Vancouver Waterfront

660 Waterfront Way

Vancouver, WA. 98660


Time Posted: Mar 1, 2021 at 10:35 AM Permalink to A Trip To Italy Permalink