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Our selection of Tuscany wines

Tuscany is the main wine-producing region under appellation in Italy. Its hilly landscapes that encapsulate the dolce vita are the cradle of Chianti, a world-famous wine. 

Tuscan wine par excellence, Chianti still occupies a large part of the wine-growing lands and retains its predominant position in regional production. The diversity of Chianti is, moreover, a marvellous illustration of the plurality of viticulture in Tuscany, rich in a wide variety of terroirs as well as a long tradition of vine cultivation and wine making dating back to antiquity. 

Other traditional wines also contribute to the reputation for excellence of Tuscan viticulture, such as Brunello di Montalcino. 

But there are two sides to Tuscany’s wine production. In the 1970s, a wind of renewal encouraged the emergence of “Super Tuscan” wines. Passionate winegrowers embarked on the development of high-end wines that quickly established themselves among the best in the world. 

“Super Tuscan” wines, by using new grape varieties and reinventing the art of blending, have been a driving force in improving the quality of Tuscan red wine. This movement breathed welcome new life into Italian viticulture and showed that the country can produce exceptional wines.

The appellations of Tuscan wines

With 24 DOCs (Denominazione di origine controllata) and 6 DOCGs (the equivalent of AOCs in France), the number of appellations in Tuscany reflects the diversity and dynamism of this wine region. The most famous appellation is Chianti. 

First classified as DOC before receiving a DOCG in 1984, Chianti is a wine whose quality has improved considerably. The best Chiantis come from a geographical area protected by a specific DOCG, the Chianti Classico appellation. 

The wines of the Chianti Classico appellation are split between Chianti Classico DOCG and Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, the latter having to undergo 24 months of ageing, at least 3 of them in bottles, before being sold.

Chianti Classico Riserva is usually sold in Bordeaux-shaped bottles. It’s symbolised by the black rooster (gallo nero in Italian), the logo of the Consorzio del Marchio Storico-Chianti Classico of 1924 or a little “puccinello” angel on the neck of the bottle.

This distinction is emblematic of the wines of Tuscany, and all the more so of Chianti. 

In the south of the Chianti region, there are terroirs which produce the most prestigious appellations in Tuscany: Brunello di Montalcino. Tuscany’s Brunello di Montalcino red is considered one of the best wines in the world for the power and richness of its aromas. 

Finally, DOCG Vino Nobile di Monpulciano is also renowned for its light, aromatic wines. The other two DOCGs from Tuscany are the Carmignano appellation and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The appellations of Tuscan wines, which require the use of traditional grape varieties, de facto exclude “Super Tuscan” wines. However, they can benefit from the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) label. 

There are also exceptions for Tuscan wines of exceptional quality. DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia was thus created for the famous “Super Tuscan” which bears its name to reward the quality of work that goes into it.

The grape varieties of Tuscan wines

The history of wine in Tuscany is inseparable from its flagship grape variety, Sangiovese. This traditional black grape is native to the region and therefore particularly suited to the local pedoclimatic conditions. It comes in two varieties: Sangiovese Grosso and Sangiovese Piccolo, which is of a higher quality. 

Known to be difficult to manage, this grape produces tannic red wines with remarkable power or rosés appreciated for their fruity flavours. Sangiovese is the grape variety on which the reputation of red Tuscan wines has been built. It expresses the best of itself in Tuscan wines under the Brunello di Montalcino appellation, where it’s used as a single grape variety. 

It’s also the main grape used for Chianti, which must contain at least 80% Sangiovese. Along with Sangiovese, other traditional varieties are used: Canaialo, Trebbiano as well as Malvasia.

Sangiovese is also used to make “Super Tuscan” wines. The winemakers who launched these innovative wines associated this traditional grape with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, international grape varieties that have found in Tuscany the ideal conditions to give their best. 

Now it’s time to explore our selection of Tuscan character wines.

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