Short guide to Tuscan Wine
Wine has been the most important part of the Tuscan civilization in the past several thousand years. Ever since the ancient times when the beautiful green hills of Tuscany were inhabited, the wine production has been the main part of people`s lives. Old civilizations have immediately discovered the healing benefits of wine and olive oil, and those were two fundamental parts of their daily diet.
Wine producing in Tuscany has dramatically evolved over the past decades and centuries, with many new practices for winemaking being introduced constantly. Christian monks and aristocrats during the period of Renaissance, and the local villagers today all have added something new to the winemaking. Tuscany is a very large region and not many people are aware that it consists of several distinct wine regions and has many different climate types. Northern part of Tuscany is more mountainous where the Apuan Alps are located. The climate here is continental, with freezing cold winters and very hot summers.
Many of the Tuscan wine regions have one thing in common and that is the choice of grape varietals. Most of the wines that come from Tuscany are red wines, predominantly of the Sangiovese varietal.
Most popular white varietal is the Trebbiano. The most popular wine from Tuscany is “Chianti”, but interesting thing is that Chianti is a region of eight different winemaking areas. However, Tuscany is not just about Chianti. There are many other delicious wines, some of them still not popularized.
A very interesting wine is the “Vin Santo” or also known as ‘Holy Wine’. It is made of dried grapes, it can be sweet or dry, and this dessert wine goes best with ‘cantuccini’, which are local almond biscuits. Some famous wines from Tuscany like the “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano” have been popular not just in Italy, but abroad ever since the early 16th century. This wine was called the ‘king of all wines’ five centuries ago and the term ‘Nobile’ was added in the 17th century to symbolize the popularity of this wine among the royalty and nobility. Another notable Tuscan wine is the “Vernaccia di San Gimignano”, produced in the beautiful town of San Guimignano.
In the southern part of Tuscany you will find the beautiful cities of Florence and Pisa, well known for their great wines. Region around Pisa is known as “Colline Pisane”, while the artistic city of Florence is where the most famous and most popular Chianti region begins.
Chianti is a huge area for making wine, further divided into several sub-regions. The sub-region of Chianti Classico DOCG is considered most prestigious of all, and it is stretches between Florence and Siena. Another great and very picturesque sub-region for producing Chianti wine is Chianti Rufina DOCG, located north from Florence. For clarification, the abbreviation “DOCG” stands for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita”, and that stands for the highest quality possible.
On the southeastern side of Florence are the scenic villages of Arezzo and Cortona, and the beautiful medieval hamlets of Montepulciano and Montalcino.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG got its name by the medieval hamlet and is considered as one of the greatest wines that come from Italy, together with Brunello. The main variety for making Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is ‘Prunolo Gentile’, which is a Sangiovese varietal. Montalcino is well known place for producing Brunello di Montalcino DOCG wines, also made of Sangiovese grape varietal. These wines are amazing and very expensive.
Going west in the region, and then moving a bit south, you will find the beautiful coastal region of Maremma. This is the region where the “Super Tuscan” wines are produced. These wines are fantastic and also expensive. Interestingly, these “Super Tuscan” wines do not have the status of DOCG due to the fact that they are made by blending the local Sangiovese varietal with prohibited French grape varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. However, they received the status of DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) in the recent years. Some of the most popular wines that come from this region are Ornellaia, Petra, Tua Rita and Sassicaia.
All of the above mentioned are just a few from lots of beautiful wines that Tuscany has to offer. The region of Tuscany has many different landscapes, as well as wine styles, so there is something for any taste.
One thing that is certain – Tuscany is one of the best Italian region to taste excellent wines.