Whether it’s the climate, landscape, architecture, food or wine, everyone loves something about Tuscany.
Its wine scene is particularly rich, and although Chianti is hugely important to the region, we should not forget that there are many other notable wine attractions from this central Italian region too.
Montalcino has become a hugely important region in Tuscany in the last 40 years. Based 70 miles south of Florence and only about 30 miles inland, it is based around the town of the same name and its vineyards are sheltered by the towering Mount Amiata, which guards the region from too many storms.
Montalcino is generally warmer and drier than Chianti and its rich wines, sometimes described as the Barolos of Tuscany, reflect this. The region has only achieved fame since the 1960s for creating wines of class and quality, with the most highly prized wine is DOCG Brunello di Montalcino, the Brunello being a clone of the Sangiovese grape.
Another region of note in Tuscany is Montepulciano – another Tuscan region that uses a clone of Sangiovese, in Montepulciano, the grape is Prugnolo Gentile which makes wines that are for earlier drinking then Brunello di Montalcino.
Bolgheri is a region that’s gaining that’s fast gaining a reputation for good wines, and especially from Cabernet Sauvignons.
Chianti spans around 100 miles in length and is tucked in between the cities of Florence and Siena. It has seven sub-zones; the heart of the region, widely thought to produce the region’s finest wines, Chianti Classico has vineyards at an altitude of 250-500 metres in height, making ripening in cooler years something of a challenge.
Chianti also has six satellite regions, Chianti Colli Senesi, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Colli Pisane and Chianti Colli Aretini, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Rufina. Of these, Rufina is the best known and respected. Sangiovese is the most important grape in Chianti, while Canaiolo, Colorino and grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are also now used.
As the name suggests, Tuscany is the home to the infamous Super Tuscan wines. These are effectively wines that do not adhere to the grape blend stipulations laid down by the authorities, and usually include international varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.