"I do believe that those men are most fortunate who are born where good wines are to be found...".
L. Da Vinci
The great Leonardo Da Vinci had no doubts, the wine lands are happy lands and we know that Tuscany can fully rank among the regions that best express this concept. Here, from the hills to the sea, the territory is told from vine to vine and expresses its poetry in the productions that the whole world knows and appreciates.
Let's discover them by taking a walk through the most famous Tuscan wines.
An area rich in biodiversity for the finest Tuscan wines
If Tuscan wines are among the most appreciated internationally and not only, it is because at the origin of the rich regional production there is a great variety of vines that mark the territory and express its main characteristics.
The abundance of different soils in combination with the different climatic zones that characterize the landscape, from the mountains to the coast passing through the hills, are the elements that contribute to the development of the crops at the base of the main productions. The alchemy that accompanies winemaking is created at the meeting point between the vine and the territory: soil, exposure, microclimate and altitude contribute to the uniqueness of the final product.
From the more structured productions that arise along the coast to the freshest ones in the hinterland, discovering wine-growing Tuscany means following a map of biodiversity that accompanies enthusiasts and tourists along a path that intertwines landscape and flavors.
Reg grape varieties
The most common grape variety in Tuscany is undoubtedly Sangiovese, which could be native to this region: historical sources, in fact, date the first evidence to the Etruscan era. It covers 64% of the Tuscan vineyard area (about 38,000 hectares), concentrated mainly in the province of Siena, but also present between Florence, Grosseto and Arezzo. With nearly 4,200 hectares of cultivation, Merlot grapes represent another very important vine, also in the Siena area.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes take us to Livorno, in the geographical area of the "Tuscan coast", where this vine covers an area of about 3,500 hectares, almost 6% of the area under vines. Following the map of Tuscan red wines we go on the trail of Canaiolo: although it is not particularly widespread, this cultivation, which covers 1.88% of the area planted with vines, is well distributed among the provinces of Florence, Prato, Arezzo , Siena and Pisa. These are the vines that are the origin of the most precious and famous Tuscan wines, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Bolgheri.
Tuscan red grapes
Going on a journey to discover Tuscan red wines means appreciating the territory with all the senses. Here is an overview of the most famous.
It is one of the Tuscan reds par excellence and over time it has become a real symbol of the Sienese hills: Chianti is a wine with a controlled and guaranteed designation of origin. It is aged in barrels for 11 months, 24 for the reserve. It is produced almost exclusively with Sangiovese grapes and characterized by a bright red and has a soft flavor, full-bodied and long last finish. It should preferably be served between 16° and 18° in medium-sized glasses. It is the perferct pairing with first courses seasoned with meat and mushroom-based sauces, veal stews and roast chicken. To taste it during a visit to Montepulciano you cannot miss a stop at Fattoria del Cerro, in Acquaviva, which produces the Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG, a wine awarded 90 points by James Suckling in 2018.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one of the oldest wines in the Tuscan territory. The first evidence of this production date back to the Middle Ages, while in contemporary times the most important record has arrived: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was in fact the first Italian wine to receive the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin. Its production covers the entire hilly area of Montepulciano, in the territory between Val D'Orcia and Valdichiana. According to the disciplinary, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG is produced with at least 70% of Sangiovese grapes, a vine that in this area takes the name of Prugnolo gentile. Before being put on the market, the Vino Nobile aged at least for two years, one in oak barrel. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is characterized by a ruby red color with a slightly garnet edge, has a warm and full-bodied flavor, is characterized by a dense tannic texture and has a good long last finish. It's the perfect pairing with red meats, such as Chianina stew, but also game. A walk to the Fattoria del Cerro can reserve a pleasant opportunity to taste the Vino Nobile which is produced in three versions: the "Antica Chiusina" Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, three gold stars from the Veronelli Guide, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG, awarded 92 points by James Suckling and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano "Silìneo" which in 2017 vintage received the three glasses of Gambero Rosso and 92 points awarded by James Suckling.
White grape varieties
White grape varieties in Tuscany represent 15% of the entire vineyard area, a total of 8,700 hectares of cultivation.
The most common is the Tuscan Trebbiano with more then 2,900 hectares, 5% of the total. Vermentino grapes follow: between Massa Carrara, the Livorno Maremma and the island of Elba it is present with over 1,000 hectares of vineyards and a coverage percentage that is close to 1.75%. The Vernaccia di San Gimignano grape follows: with 890 hectares it represents 1.5% of the total cultivation. Among the white grapes that best summarize Tuscan production there is Malvasia which, with its 747 hectares, covers 1.3% of the area planted with vines between the provinces of Siena, Florence and Arezzo.
Tuscan white grapes
An itinerary along the wine roads in Tuscany also satisfies white wine lovers, we discover the most interesting products between Siena and Pisa.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Vernaccia di San Gimignano is grown in the province of Siena. It is a wine that represents Tuscany on the white wine market and is also linked to a wine route that takes its name from it. It has a straw yellow color, in the mouth it is dry and harmonious and is characterized by a delicate flavor. It stands out for its excellent aging capacity, a peculiarity that places it among the few white wines also available in the reserve type.
Produced from the vine of the same name, Vermentino di Toscana is a balanced white wine, characterized by good minerality, freshness and sligh sapidity. The ideal serving temperature is 10°, it's perfect as an aperitif or to pair with fishes and medium-aged cheeses. A visit to the winery of Tenuta di Monterufoli, in Monteverdi Marittimo (PI), is the perfect opportunity to taste the Vermentino di Toscana IGT.
Reds, whites and some wines that has made history: Tuscany is the land of the finest wines, real Italian excellences that have made the region famous in the world.
Brunello di Montalcino
Brunello di Montalcino is born in the valleys crossed by the Orcia, Asso and Ombrone rivers. It is considered one of the finest wines, a reputation that owes to the characteristics of the production area that includes the hilly area of Montalcino.
Brunello is a wine that acquires specific characteristics depending on the cellar, it is characterized by a bright clear red color, has an intense and strong flavor, slightly tannic, soft and long last finish. It should be served in large glasses at a temperature of 18°. It is the perfect pairing for roasted white or red meat, poultry, game dishes, such as wild boar “alla cacciatora" and aged cheeses. For a special experience, it should be tasted in the "reserve" version, such as the Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG produced by "La Poderina" (Castelnuovo dell'Abate in Montalcino), which is characterized by balanced notes of vanilla and tobacco due to the use of the barrique.
Bolgheri rosso is one of the most important wines in Italy. It is a DOC wine which, according to the disciplinary, can only be produced in a specific area of the municipality of Castagneto Carducci, in the province of Livorno. The disciplinary also prescribes that it must be produced from at least 80% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. In the mouth it has a strong structure and is characterized by an intense red color. In bocca si presenta con una struttura forte e si caratterizza per un colore rosso intenso.
It was born in the same production area as Chianti and is famous throughout the world for its pairing with traditional “Tuscan cantucci": we are talking about Vinsanto. It is a sweet wine made from a sugar must with a high alcohol content obtained by drying grapes from Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Bianca. It is characterized by a fruity aroma and a dense and sweet flavor with persistent freshness. To taste it and conclude a tour of the province of Siena, you cannot miss a stop in the locality of Acquaviva di Montepulciano, where the Fattoria del Cerro offers its Vinsanto di Montepulciano DOC, to be paired with desserts and biscuits or aged goat cheeses and foie gras.
The most famous Tuscan wines deserve a tour to get to know them and taste them, have you already identified your favorite?