When we talk about Tuscany, we also talk about a food and wine holiday.
For the Tuscans, the table and good wine are the basis of conviviality and good living, and a beautiful vacation in Tuscany should fully embrace this philosophy.
Tuscany is the guardian of a centuries-old enological tradition and is the undisputed producer of high quality wines, recognized for their goodness and value not only in Italy but also abroad.
Therefore a holiday in Tuscany cannot disregard, unless you are an abstainer, from going deeper into this fascinating and pleasant aspect.
Tuscany boasts an almost infinite variety of excellent wines that are born from equally important vines and red is king.
Perhaps the best known region is that of Chianti, characterized by Sangiovese, the most widespread vine in Italy and here certainly able to express itself at its highest levels.
Since the Renaissance the Chianti area was restricted between the municipalities of Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti and Gaiole in Chianti.
Today the original core of the Chianti Classico has extended to the provinces of Florence, Arezzo and Siena, so you will also hear about Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Colli Senesi or Chianti of the Colli Aretini.
Every Chianti is made up of the same vines: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Trebbiano, white Malvasia, Sauvignon and Merlot.
The percentage of grapes, on the other hand, can change from wine to wine. The undisputed protagonist, however, is always Sangiovese, which can be vinified in purity or in variable quotas up to a minimum of 75%.
The Chianti has a ruby red color tending to garnet with aging, a harmonious, dry and slightly tannic flavor, a vinous odor with a hint of violet.
You can drink it young or aged: in the first case, it goes particularly well with grilled red meats, while the Reserve, more full-bodied and complex, is perfect with game and mature cheeses.
A close relative of Sangiovese is Sangiovese Grosso, that is the grape that gives life to the historic Brunello di Montalcino or to its younger brother the younger and fresher Rosso di Montalcino.
East of Montalcino, still in the splendid setting of the Val d’Orcia, is the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG characterized by slightly drier tannins, powerful and less fresh aromas.
At the sight these wines are limpid, brilliant, of a bright garnet color.
There are hints of undergrowth, aromatic wood, small fruits, light vanilla and composite jam.
Tuscany is known throughout the world for having given birth to the term “Supertuscan” relating to wines produced in the area of Bolgheri, a characteristic village located in the northern part of the Maremma.
The Bolgheri DOC, which recall names like Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Guado al Tasso, are an absolute exception in the Tuscan wine scene as Sangiovese is not present at all, originating from international vines aged in barriques, in contrast with the regional tradition that requires Sangiovese and large barrels.
The Bolgheri, red and always of a fairly high alcohol content, strike the palate for their roundness and softness, for the sweetness of the fruit and the freshness of the acid component. Even when the structure is powerful, the wines are, for this reason, always balanced and harmonious.
Another very popular wine south of the Bolgheri area, in the Grosseto Maremma, is Morellino di Scansano DOCG, made from Sangiovese grapes, with a dry, warm and slightly tannic flavor.
A wine that you can drink even as an aperitif if accompanied by some bruschetta flavored with new olive oil.
Another stop on this brief journey into Tuscan wine is in Prato where Carmignano DOCG reigns, another wine of great taste based on Sangiovese grapes.
Although Tuscany is predominantly a land of red wine, some white wines certainly have no quality. Among these is the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced near the village of the same name in the province of Siena.
Very interesting is also the production of Vermentino, widespread on the hills of the Livorno and Grosseto coasts and on the slopes of the Apuan Alps, in the area of Massa Carrara, with the DOC Candia Dei Colli Apuani.
Visiting some of the countless wineries scattered throughout the Tuscan countryside is the best way to discover the true soul of this ancient and genuine land. If after a day spent among works of art, medieval villages and green hills you will stop at a farm to taste cold cuts and cheeses along with a good glass of wine, you will have the opportunity to fully grasp the essence of Tuscany, a region that encompasses in itself the wonders of nature and the delicious fruits obtained from the ingenuity and hard work of man.