Introduction to Tuscan Wines

Located in central Italy along the Tyrrhenian coast, Tuscany is home to some of the world's most notable wine regions. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are primarily made with Sangiovese grape whereas the Vernaccia grape is the basis of the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany has thirty-three Denominazioni di origine controllata (DOC) and nine Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). In the 1970s a new class of wines known in the trade as "Super Tuscans" emerged. These wines were made outside DOC/DOCG regulations but were considered of high quality.  In the reformation of the Italian classification system many of the original Super Tuscans now qualify as DOC or DOCG wines, but some producers still prefer the declassified rankings or to use the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification of Toscana. Tuscany has five sub-categories of IGT wines today.
The Long History of Tuscan Wines......

The history of viticulture in Tuscany dates back to its settlements by the Etruscans in the 8th century BC. Amphora remnants originating in the region show that Tuscan wine was exported to southern Italy and Gaul.
By the 3rd century BC, there were literary references by Greek writers about the quality of Tuscan wine.

......and Sangiovese
Sangiovese (from latin "sanguis Jovis" i.e. "the blood of Jupiter") is a thin-skinned, finicky grape that tends to linger longer on the vine, taking its sweet time to ripen and mature. While Sangiovese plantings run from Emilia-Romagna down to the back of the proverbial boot in Puglia, it is Central Italy, specifically the warm Mediterranean region of Tuscany, that remains the agricultural heartbeat of the Sangiovese grape.
At least fourteen Sangiovese clones exist, all of them wth fruity flavors and a little spiciness, and ready to take on oaky flavors when aged in barrels.

Sangiovese Grape Characteristics :  High Acidity, High Tannin, Medium-bodied, Medium Levels of Alcohol (typically 13-14% abv).
Flavors : Cherry, blueberry, blackberry, plum, violet, earthy 
Wines made from Sangiovese : Chianti, Brunello, Vino Nobile, Morellino e Carmignano



What makes Tuscany so special for wines?

The short answer is: weather, soil and a long history of winemaking. Because of its position in the Italian peninsula, Tuscany enjoys  a warm mediterranean climate. The terrain is quite hilly, progressing from the sea inward to the Apennine Mountains. The hills serve as a tempering affect on the summertime heat with many vineyards planted on the higher elevations of the hillsides. The  grapevines perform better when it can receive more direct sunlight, which is a benefit of the many hillside vineyards in Tuscany.  The higher elevations also increase the diurnal temperature variation, helping the grapes maintain their balance of sugars and acidity as well as their aromatic qualities.
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Vermentino

Supertuscan

Vino Noble

Chianti

Morellino

Brunello

Carmignano

Vernaccia