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Toscana-Wine Areas

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Tuscany Wine Region

Vineyards are scattered across the entire regional surface. Some wine-growing areas in Tuscany have a very long history: among them stand out Chianti, Valdarno, Carmignano and Rufina, the boundaries of which were delineated in the famous 1716 edict. Other districts are rather young: for instance, on the Tuscan Coast, Bolgheri, Suvereto and Maremma do not boast an ancient winemaking tradition, but they have enjoyed striking success in recent decades, thanks to a few visionary producers who planted international grapes on their coast-facing hillsides.

What are the main wine-growing areas in Tuscany?

  • Chianti: Tuscany’s best known wine, consisting of a blend of Sangiovese (at least 70%) and international and/or other native grapes. The denomination covers the entire provinces of Arezzo, Firenze, Pistoia, Pisa, Prato, and Siena. The wines are stylistically very heterogeneous but the best examples offer a textbook expression of Sangiovese at an affordable price point. Subzones include Colli Senesi, Colli Fiorentini, Montalbano, Montespertoli, Rufina, Colline Pisane, and Colli Aretini.
  • Chianti Classico: The historical Chianti production area, spanning eight townships in the province of Florence and Siena. Chianti Classico is one of the most famous wine-growing areas in Tuscany.  With a hilly and verdant landscape, the vineyards interspersed among the woods, Chianti Classico offers distinctive, cool-climate expression of Sangiovese focusing on crisp acidity and juicy tannins, making for irresistibly easy-drinking wines that also display good to excellent aromatic complexity
  • Brunello di Montalcino: the only denomination requiring 100% Sangiovese. Covering the namesake township in the province of Siena, a mix of cooling breezes from Mount Amiata and maritime influence shapes a perfect growing environment for the grape, allowing Brunello di Montalcino to be full-bodied, complex and very tannic but also high-acid and exceptionally refined. Top-notch Brunello di Montalcino is among the world’s most coveted red wines. Aging must occur for at least 24 months in oak (36 for the Riserva category), and the wines hit the market five years after the harvest.
  • Rosso di Montalcino: they entry-level wine from Montalcino, undergoing shorter aging.
  • Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia: the most famous wine district along the Tuscan Coast, focusing on international varieties grown on hills and plains descending towards the Thyrrenian sea. The warm Mediterranean climate makes for bold and exuberant reds with excellent aging potential. Sassicaia, the most famous wine from Bolgheri, is the only wine in Italy with a monopole DOC. Other highly sought-after wines include Masseto, a single-varietal Merlot, Ornellaia, and Antinori’s Guado al Tasso. These wines fit in the Bolgheri Superiore category, while entry-level wines belong to the Bolgheri Rosso category. Bolgheri Superiore regularly fetches high prices in international markets, with Masseto being one of Italy’s most expensive wines.
  • Suvereto: another wine district of coastal Tuscany mainly growing Bordeaux varieties and Syrah.
  • Nobile di Montepulciano: the other prominent denomination devoted to Sangiovese (minimum 70%) boasting a cooler climate than Montalcino and yielding elegant wines with refreshing acidity and polished tannins. Red Vin Santo, usually labeled as Occhio di Pernice (partridge eye), is also traditionally made with Sangiovese in Montepulciano.
  • Vernaccia di San Gimignano: Tuscany’s most famous white wine appellation, corresponding to the territory of the namesake town in Central Tuscany.
  • Morellino di Scansano: fruit-forward Sangiovese-based wines from the area of Scansano in Maremma (southern Tuscany), often standing out for their good quality-to-price ratio.
  • Carmignano: an historical – if little-known – denomination in the province of Prato, in inland Tuscany. It is the only appellation that requires Sangiovese (min. 70%) to be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, resulting in rich and velvety wines with good acidity to balance.
  • Montecucco: Sangiovese-based wines from vineyards lying on the other side of the Orcia river from Montalcino.
  • Orcia: wines from the larger Orcia region.
  • Maremma Toscana: a large area in Southern Tuscany offering a bevy of different wines, ranging from easy-drinking Ciliegiolo to big and bold Bordeaux blends and excellent whites from the Vermentino grape.
  • Colline Lucchesi: the Province of Lucca in the north boasts a cooler and rainier climate than the rest of Tuscany, resulting in very peculiar wines that are generally medium-bodied and high-acid. Sangiovese is often blended with international grapes, Vermentino stands out among the whites. The area also houses one of the largest concentrations of low-intervention producers in Italy.
  • Rufina / Chianti Rufina: Lying on the outskirts of Florence, this cool-climate area produces some of the lightest and brightest versions of Sangiovese. While still little-known, it is slowly rising to fame, also thanks to the Terraelectae (single-vineyard wines) project.
  • Casentino and Mugello: mountainous areas in inland Tuscany, yielding some of Italy’s finest expression of Pinot Nero.
  • Terre di Pisa: Sangiovese-based wines from hills behind the city of Pisa.
  • Cortona: the cradle of Syrah in inland Tuscany, offering rich and bold expressions of this variety.
  • Valdarno: on the opposite side of the valley from Chianti, this area of the province of Arezzo produces full-bodied Sangiovese-based reds and Bordeaux blends.
  • Elba: the largest tuscan island houses a wide variety of different grapes, among which Ansonica and Aleatico stand out.
  • Colli di Luni: on the border with Liguria, this inter-regional denomination produces top-notch Vermentino

What is a Supertuscan?

The term “Supertuscan” refers to the pioneering fine wines conceived between the 1960s and 1980s, which were often classified as “vino da tavola” (and then as Toscana IGT) due to regulations at the time making it difficult to produce quality DOC or DOCG wine. Invented by Nicholas Belfrage MW, a contributor of Decanter Magazine in the 1980s, the term is now used to define all Tuscan wines made with international grapes, including those from Bolgheri, which were granted DOC status from 1983 onwards.

Top-shelf, Sangiovese-based wines sporting the Toscana IGT appellation also fit in the Supertuscans category

 
Toscana Wines in a Nutshell
  • Hectares under vine: 51,030 (2022)
  • Total production: 2.44 million hectoliters (2022).
  • Percentage of DOC wines: 64%
  • Vineyard altitude: 20 to 800 meters above sea level
  • Number of DOCGs:
  • Annual rainfall:
  • Prevalent soil types: galestro (clay schists), alberese ( limestone), macigno (sandstone and clay), sandy marl, pebbly alluvial deposits.
  • Percentage of organically farmed vineyards: 32%
Radda in chianti

Chianti Classico

The production area of Chianti Classico extends in Tuscany, traversing the heart of the region and including parts of the provinces of Florence and Siena.

Scenic view of Montepulciano, Siena, Italia

Nobile Montepulciano

The Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG covers the entire township of Montepulciano, except for the portion lying in Val di Chiana.

toscana

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