When you first travel to Italy, there are so many places to see and so many things to do. If you’re a wine lover, the region of Tuscany is not to be missed. This is where Italy produces some of its best and most unique wines, and it’s done so for hundreds of years. There are many types that you can’t get anywhere else. You can spend days wandering the vineyards of Tuscany and getting a taste of the ‘real thing.’
Tuscany is located on the western coast of Italy. It’s a rolling countryside full of vineyards, olive groves, abbeys, villas and castles. Considered by historians to be the birthplace of the Renaissance, it has a legacy of culture and art. Aside from world-class wine tasting, it has six UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the historic city center of Florence.
The Home of Chianti Classico
Chianti Classico is one of the best known wines in the world and it’s produced here. It has a ruby red color, an intense smell, and a slightly tannic taste. Tuscany is the home of Chianti Classico and it has everything from very inexpensive brands to the finest in the world. Greve is one of the towns best known for producing this type of wine. It’s a beautiful area with many quaint local shops and sidewalk cafes.
Montalcino is a town located in a region known for producing wines from the Sangiovese grape varietal. If you’ve got a taste for the Brunello varietal, Montalcino is the center of its production. A good number of award-winning wines come from the vineyards around Montalcino. Brunello is ruby red and aged in oak casks, which gives it a unique flavor and aroma. If you stop in Montalcino, there’s an old fortress at the top of the town’s highest hill that’s worth checking out.
Montepulciano is a well-preserved medieval town in the southeast part of Tuscany near the Umbrian border. It has a number of historic buildings and wonderful vistas of the surrounding scenery. Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, the ‘noble wine’ of Montepulciano, is another one of Tuscany’s classic red wines. Made from a blend of Sangiovenese grapes and other varietals, this light wine got its name from being the favorite of local noblemen. Producers have worked hard to enhance the wine’s flavor in order to compete with the nearby Montalcino and Chianti Classico wines.
The Super Tuscans
The Super Tuscans are blends made outside the standard DOC and DOCG regulations but are considered very high quality. These wines were developed in the 1980s with the aim of producing a more international taste. This has given them their unique flavors. Some have cult-like followings and are much sought after by wine collectors. You can taste them right here at the source in Tuscany.
Although not all of Tuscany is coastal, the ocean has played a major part in creating its wine flavors. Its proximity to the ocean also makes it a great place for trying excellent local wine and seafood pairings.
I’ve only scratched the surface of Tuscany’s great wines here. There’s simply no way to explain the experience of visiting Tuscany. It’s a place every wine-lover should visit at least once.
If you’re thinking about going, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Always call first before visiting wineries. Some require reservations for visits.
- Do some research and plan your trip well. It pays to know what wineries you’re going to visit and what others have said about them.
- Watch out for the siesta. Everybody closes up after lunch and that includes restaurants, small shops and wineries.
- Booking a tour is worth considering. They’ll pick you up and drive you around to visit the best local wineries. Among other things, they drive so you don’t have to. They also provide English services to help you get around.