Tuscany

One of the classic wine regions of Italy, Tuscany is probably one of the most well-known wine regions of Italy and no grape is as widely planted or as identified with Tuscany as Sangiovese. Tuscany is necessarily 80% Sangiovese and the other 20% can be any number of grapes. These grapes tend to make terrific food wines, mostly because of their acidity. You can pair them with beef without any risks.

Tuscany is a region that has always cultivated the vine and the vine has always been important to Tuscany’s economy. Here you can find the culture, history, wine, mountain, and sea. Viticulture in Tuscany predates the rise of the Roman Empire, dating back to at least the eighth century.

Most of Tuscany’s top appellations produce red wines. There are many grapes grown throughout Tuscany, even French grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Chianti

It’s got three sub-regions and one of them, in particular, is very well-known. If you hadn’t heard of Tuscany you may have heard of this region, it’s called Chianti. The most well-known wine of the region is Chianti.

In 1716, Chinati became the first defined wine-growing area in all of Italy. It’s a huge region between Florence and Siena. In the case of Chianti wine, the law requires a minimum 70% Sangiovese grapes.

Super Tuscans

Super Tuscans are high-quality red wines that are using blends not allowed under Tuscan appellation law. They don’t follow the strict rules of the Chianti appellation and based on Sangiovese however instead of mixing with the traditional grapes and formula now being mixed with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.

Brunello di Montalcino

As one of Italy’s most famous wine, Brunello di Montalcino is the best-known, most prestigious, and most expensive wine in Tuscany, ranking alongside Chinati Classico and it’s made 100% from Sangiovese.

Brunello is the name of the grape and it’s actually a synonym for the grape Sangiovese. It is one of those wines that most wine collectors have to have in their cellar. It’s an age-worthy wine with a minimum aging requirement of 5 years. That means the winery holds back the wine for 5 years before they release it. Rosso di Montalcino is the younger version of Brunello di Montalcino as it’s only aged by law a minimum of one year. It means we get the same style and the same type of flavors from Sangiovese grape but with a younger, fresher, more approachable feel and doesn’t have the tannins that dry out your mouth. While Brunello di Montalcino has got tons of tannins that dry your entire mouth out.

If you would really like to know these wines you have to memorize the differences of the wines from Brunello di Montalcino:

  • Rosso di Montalcino – aging period: 1 year
  • Brunello di Montalcino – 5 years aging (2 years at least in oak barrels)
  • Riserva – 6 years aging (2 years at least in oak barrels)
Photo credit: Caro Sodar