Tuscany, along with Piedmont, is the foundation upon which Italy’s wine reputation has been built. In total, there are 29 wines with DOC status produced in the region. It is also home to 7 of Italy’s DOCG areas, and many premium non-classified wines.
Chianti accounts for a large part of the region with the most prestigious DOCG Chianti Classico wines coming from the beautiful central hills, which provide a tempering effect on the summertime heat, many vineyards are planted on the highest slopes. The principal grape variety is Sangiovese, alongside other indigenous and international varietals.
The number of producers in this area is huge with industrial cooperatives alongside tiny family farms and as such quality can vary substantially. To the south near the town of Siena is Montalcino, where again Sangiovese is key, though here it is a local strain, Brunello, or more officially Sangiovese Grosso, that produces Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino.
Historically Brunello needed considerable ageing, and the minimum age before release is still 4 years. However Brunello is now being produced that is delicious from release as well as having good potential for ageing – the best of both worlds and an essential development in the face of changing modern tastes.
Coastal Tuscany, particularly the area around the beautiful village of Bolgheri really hit the map in the 1970s as a new class of wines known as “Super Tuscans” emerged. These wines were made outside DOC/DOCG regulations, using international varieties, some were considered to be of outstanding quality and received high scores from the critics and commanded surprisingly high prices for the time.
The two most renowned Super Tuscans to this day are Sassicaia and Ornellaia, for which Armit are the exclusive UK agents! Bolgheri today is synonymous with winemaking of the highest order. Exceptional terroir along the coast complemented by the wonderful Mediterranean climate provide perfect conditions for vines not only in Bolgheri and the Maremma but down to Suvereto and beyond.