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Wines of Toscana

Updated: Jul 9, 2022


Every wine seeking traveller inevitably finds themselves in Tuscany, the hilly land of winding roads lined with sculpted cypress trees and vineyards surrounding picturesque hilltop towns. Tuscan wines are famous, as is the rich landscape, friendly people and food. As one of the most prolific wine producing areas in Italy and the world, it’s no wonder Tuscany has many dedicated and regulated wines, including 42 DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) and 11 DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), the later of which is reserved for only the best Italian wines.


The wine regions are also some of the most beautiful areas to visit, small medieval villages, rolling hills and wonderful countryside.


Some of our favourite Tuscan wine regions are below.


Chianti Classico

For the ultimate experience in Tuscan wines, there’s nothing like the central Tuscany region where Chianti Classico is made. Chianti Classico is the beloved medium-bodied red wine that is so easily paired with any meal, and includes notes of nuts, violet, and fruity cherry. Chianti Classic calls for a majority of Sangiovese grapes (about 70%), Canaiolo grapes, and Malvasia bianca grapes. There have been some revisions to this blend, allowing for international grape varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.


Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, produced around the hilltop town of Montepulciano, has long been considered an Italian classic. In fact, winemaking in this region dates back to the Etruscans and was beloved by Sienese aristocracy, The Medici and Pope Paul III. The emergence of the DOC and DOCG regulations in the 1960s brought new light to the subtle differences that make Vino Nobile di Montepulciano stand out (it received its DOCG classification in 1980). DOCG rules regulate the grapes must come from vineyards growing on the sloping hills around Montepulciano that reach an altitude of 820 to nearly 2,000 feet. The show stopping grape variety here is a kind of Sangiovese called Prugnolo Gentile, which must account for 80% of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine.


Brunello di Montalcino

There are so many beautiful landscapes and luscious grapes to cover when talking Tuscany wine regions, but starting with Montalcino makes perfect sense. After all, the Brunello di Montalcino red wine is one of the country’s most beloved DOCG wines. Produced only in the vineyards around the town of Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino is made up of only Sangiovese grapes. Meaning “little dark one,” the Italian word Brunello (from the word “bruno” for brown) is used to describe the Sangiovese Grosso grape that is used in this wine. As per DOCG regulations, all Brunello di Montalcino wines must be comprised of 100% Sangiovese grapes and aged for a minimum of four years, two of which must be in oak. The dry, warm climate and sloped hills around Montalcino produce a wine that is deeply colored, full-bodied, quite tannic, and is notable for its berry aroma with notes of vanilla and a little spice.


Carmignano

In the world of well known Tuscan wines, it’s refreshing to learn more about the lesser-known regions and the wines they produce. Though granted DOCG status in 1975, this region has been known for producing high-quality wines since the Middle Ages. In fact, a document from 1369 shows that Carmignano wine was sold for four times the price of other wine during that era. Around the town of Carmignano 270 acres produce dry red wines that are a blend of Sangiovese grapes (50%) Canaiolo Nero grapes (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon grapes (10-20%), and Cabernet Franc grapes (10-20%). While similar to Chianti wines, Carmignano is said to be even deeper in color and fuller-bodied.


Bolgheri

Wines produced around the town of Bolgheri truly take on the uniqueness of the landscape, with its location being so close to the Tyrrhenian Sea. These coastal vineyards that slope toward the sea produce a variety of wines, including Bolgheri Rosso, Rosso Superiore and Bolgheri Bianco. For Bolgheri Rosso red wine, it can be comprised exclusively of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon, or it can be a blend of either of those three with some additional Sangiovese or Syrah grapes.


The Bolgheri region is home to Sassicaia, the first Super Tuscan wine which was the brainchild of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta whose family still own and operate wineries in the area. The Marchese planted Cabernet Sauvignon at his Tenuta San Guido estate in Bolgheri back in 1944. It was for many years the Marchese’s personal wine, until, starting with the 1968 vintage, it was released commercially in 1971.


The Marchese Piero Antinori was one of the first to create a "Chianti-style" wine that ignored the DOC regulations, releasing a 1971 Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend known as Tignanello in 1978. He was inspired by Sassicia, which he was given the sale agency by his uncle Mario Incisa della Rocchetta. The Antinori family own and operate some of the most prestigious wineries in Tuscany.


Morellino di Scansano

Morellino di Scansano DOCG is an Italian red wine made in the hilly environs of the village of Scansano, in the Maremma region of coastal Tuscany, which has an ancient tradition of winemaking. Morellino is the local name for the Sangiovese grape variety. The wine, which was granted DOC status in 1978, then upgraded to DOCG status beginning with the 2007 vintage, is made from at least 85% Sangiovese, which is also the basis of other Tuscan wines. The remaining 15% can comprise any non-aromatic black grape varieties included in a list made and periodically updated by Tuscan wine authorities.


Vernaccia di San Gimignano

The Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine is Tuscany’s only white wine to reach DOCG status. It is a popular, high-quality wine with a long history. In fact, San Gimignano records show mentions of the Vernaccia grape since 1276 and it was even mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The wine is made up almost exclusively of Vernaccia grapes, although small amounts of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are allowed. The resulting wine is a true reflection of its terroir, taking on the flinty notes from the vineyards’ sandstone soils. Expect an amber-colored white wine that is full-bodied, highly acidic and crisp, with floral notes.

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