Many of us get great pleasure from good wines. When you go to select your next bottle, what factors are important to you?
For lots of people, the area the wine comes from is very important. You might have noticed that there is one region that consistently enjoys the highest reputation amongst wine lovers, and that is the spectacular region of Tuscany, Italy.
Tuscan wine is so good that wine lovers are eager in taking part in tuscany wine tours where the beauty of Tuscany melt with the amazing taste of its great wine. Tuscan Wine is is generally made with the Sangiovese grape, and the quality of the region’s wines just keeps on getting better. If you are interested in wine, you’ll have no doubt heard many good things about bottles from Tuscany, but what is it that makes Tuscan wine just so refined?
Tuscany lies close to the Tyrrhenian Sea; in fact, the region, which is the fifth largest in Italy, encompasses seven islands off its coast. Due to its proximity to the sea, the area enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate that is absolutely perfect for viniculture.
The Sangiovese grape grows best when the vines are exposed to direct sunlight; the hills of Tuscany provide the perfect location for this to happen. Many of Tuscany’s best vineyards are on hills, at between 150 and 500 m, which mitigates the very high temperatures experienced in summer. This means that the grapes grown here are well balanced between acidity and sweetness, and have notably enhanced aromas.
Different parts of Tuscany have their own unique geography and microclimates that produce distinct and unique flavors for their wine. Bolgheri, Montalcino, Carmignano, and Chianti all produce their own special, well-loved wines.
The Red Grapes of Tuscany
More than 80% of Tuscan wine is made with red grapes, and the Sangiovese grape accounts for more than half of these. The Etruscans started growing grapes, including the Sangiovese grape, in Tuscany, over 3000 years ago. Depending on the way in which it is used by the winemaker, the Sangiovese grape can produce different types of wine. Wines produced from Sangiovese grapes have high levels of tannin and acid. People perceive the taste of wine that is produced with Sangiovese grapes in dramatically different ways: Some people get a sense of strawberry and tart cherry, whilst some describe a taste akin to roasted red peppers or ripe tomatoes.
As mentioned above, 80% of wine from the Tuscany region is red. Although the majority are made with Sangiovese grapes, they vary enormously.
One of Tuscany’s most famous wines is Chianti. The vines are grown in the Chianti Classico region, which enjoys warmer, drier weather than other areas in Tuscany. This lends the grapes a stronger flavor.
Fresh Chianti has quite a tart raspberry taste and earthy undertones. Chianti Classico is a darker color and has a deeper flavor. Chianti uses around 70% Sangiovese grapes, while Chianti Classico uses around 80%.
Chianti produces a large volume of wine and so it is easy to obtain globally. Its acidic nature means that it goes well with a large number of dishes.
Brunello di Montalcino
Brunello di Montalcino comes from the Montalcino region to the south of Chianti, which is hotter and has less rainfall than Chianti and produces one of Tuscany’s most famous wines.
In the Montalcino region, the vineyards are generally on mountainsides at around 500 m in altitude. The region’s climate means that the grapes ripen more quickly, producing stronger and richer wines.
Many regard Brunello di Montalcino as one of Italy’s greatest wines because of its complex nature; the wines are powerful, with a leathery texture and damp earth tones.
Tuscany also produces white wines; one of the most popular is called the holy wine. This is a dessert wine that is made using Malvasia Blanco grapes. The grapes are dried in the sun after picking, allowing them to retain a lot of their sugar and sweetness. Many wine enthusiasts argue that this is Tuscany’s greatest white wine.
One form of Tuscan wine is the Super Tuscans. Winemakers that produce this wine use modern methods and do not generally adhere to the DOCG regulations; however, that is not to say that these tipples are not of a high quality. These wines usually need to be decanted and let breathe for an hour or two because they are extremely rich. They are dominated by the taste of the Sangiovese grape.
Tuscany has long produced wine with a global reputation. The earliest known records from the eighth century BC show that the Etruscans were already producing famous wines that were exported to the south of Italy and into France.
The vast majority of Tuscan wine is produced under the DOCG (Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantia) mark, which is similar to the French Appellation Controlee. To achieve this classification, winemakers must follow strict quality control measures. The grapes must be of an approved variety, not over-harvested, allowed to ripen over a certain time, produced using specific techniques, and matured for a prescribed time.
Every DOCG wine will be tasted by experts. When it is approved, every bottle will be given a numbered seal from the government. Many of the wines we’ve already mentioned, including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, are DOCG wines.
Tuscany covers a large area with many different types of landscape, all of them staggeringly beautiful. This means that the area can produce a great variety of different wines, many of which are world-famous and enjoy a great reputation with wine lovers globally.
Next time you’re wondering what you should try for your next bottle, why not take a look at the products of Tuscany?