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Tuscany Wines

  • Tuscany Wines

    “Tuscany, as regards wines, has no equal the world over, thanks to a most felicitous nature, and to a civilization of the grapevine and of wine that has been decanted and refined over the centuries.”
    Zeffito Cuiffoletti - Historian

    Tuscany has a rich history of viticulture. Its rolling hills and Mediterranean climate provide the perfect conditions for the production of good-quality wines. The region is particularly renowned for its red wines, most of which are produced from Sangiovese grapes. These reds are generally spicy, with good acid levels, smooth texture and medium body.

    The most exclusive Sangiovese wine is the high-quality Brunello di Montalcino, from a fortress town south of Siena. It is one of Italy’s most expensive wines and is now issued under more than 100 different labels. This wine is produced solely from Sangiovese grapes and takes at least 10 years to reach maturity. Other Sangiovese wines include Chianti and Chianti Classico. But unlike Brunello di Montalcino, these also contain a small amount (between 10 and 15 per cent) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grapes.

    Chianti Classico comes from the vineyards that lie between Florence and Siena, with the towns of Greve, Radda and Castellina forming a triangle in the very heart of the Chianti area. Most of these wines belong to the Classico’s marketing consortium and bear the Gallo Nero symbol, a black rooster, the symbol of an authentic bottle of Chianti Classico. Two kinds of Chianti Classico are available, Standard and Riserva. Standard is labelled with a Gallo Nero surrounded by a red border, whereas Riserva is labelled with a Gallo Nero surrounded by a gold border. Riservas are produced from some of the finest grapes and aged for a minimum of 27 months to provide an additional full-bodied flavour.

    Many Chianti wines also hold the DOC/DOCG (Dominazione di Origine Controllato/ Dominazione di Origine Controllato e Guarantita) status. This Italian quality-assurance label was introduced in 1963 by the Italian government and amended in 1992 by the EU law for the Protected Designation of Origin. To meet the DOC/DOCG requirements wines must be produced within the specified region using defined methods and must also meet a defined quality standard.

    Other important Sangiovese-based red wines that hold the DOC/DOCG status include Tignanello and Sassicaia, with prices and popularity on a similar scale to Brunello di Montalcino. Others include Montepulciano, Montalcino, Bolgheri, Carmignano and Maremma.

    Since the 1970s more modern wines have emerged, made from international grape varieties  and using French barriques, or barrels. These are the Super Tuscans. Grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were introduced and mixed with the classic Sangiovese to produce other high-quality wines but at a much lower cost due to modern techniques. But these avant garde methods did not fit the new DOC/DOCG laws and the wines were forced to take the humble label of Vini da Tavola, or table wine. Over time, these wines have gained a reputation as some of the finest ever made in Italy and their prices are well above those charged for an ordinary table wine.

    Tuscany also produces a small amount of white wines. Most, however, have not gained the prestige of the reds because until relatively recently they were produced from the workaday Trebbiano grape and tended to have quite a dull taste. One exception is Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the Vernaccia grape, a well-made crisp and dry white, one of the first to be awarded the DOC status. Nowadays, however, many good whites are produced in Tuscany, including the international variety of Chardonnays, Sauvignons, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio, together with more traditional whites such as Pomino and Vin Santo.

    And last, but not least, there’s Grappa.Grappa, or grape stalk, is a grape-based pomace brandy (between 37.5 and 60 per cent alcohol) made from grape seeds, stalks and stems left over from winemaking after pressing. This by-product of Italian wine can either be taken on its own or added as a shot to an espresso coffee, generally taken after meals to aid digestion.

  • Join the Vendemmia

    During autumn you can join in the great Tuscan grape harvest with the locals. The Vendemmia is an important cultural event in which the winegrowers celebrate the hard work they have put into the crops by meeting, eating and tasting each other’s wines. The Vendemmia generally takes place in September, however the exact time changes year on year depending on the climate and the related maturity of the grapes. If you want to experience the Vendemmia the best way is to join the grape-pickers for a day. The harvest begins at sunrise, but early rising and hard work will be rewarded by a generous lunch of prosciutto ham, cheeses and of course, Tuscan wine.

    To find out about the many vineyards offering guided tours and wine tastings, read our section on Wine Tasting in Tuscany

Experience an official tuscany tour with

Florence Palazzo Vecchio and Arnolfo Tower Sunset Tour with Optional Dinner or Aperitivo

Experience one of Florence’s greatest treasures, the Palazzo Vecchio, at sunset on this 1.5-hour tour. With a professional guide, explore the former hub of Florentine power, admiring its art-filled rooms and stunning Hall of the Five Hundred. Then, gaze at twilit Florence on a tour of the battlements, and choose to climb the palace’s Arnolfo Tower for bird’s-eye views. Upgrade to include a traditional 'aperitivo' (a glass of wine and appetizers) or dinner overlooking Piazza della Signoria. Numbers are limited to 25 on the palace tour for a personalized experience.

from 41,49 US Dollar

Florence Uffizi Gallery and Chianti Wine Tasting Tour by Minivan from Pisa

Explore some of the highlights of Tuscany, including a visit to Florence's Uffizi Gallery and a Chianti wine tasting, with this 9-hour trip from Pisa. Travel in a comfortable minivan to see the sights.

from 129,94 US Dollar

Private 1-Hour Tour of the Palazzo Davanzati in Florence

A tour of one hour discovery of life of the wealthy Florentine families in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is a way back to experience the traditions of ancient merchants, the echoes of home life and marriage taking place in a noble Gothic house.

from 20,75 US Dollar

Florence Stand Up Paddle Tour On The River Arno

Take a break from the crowds on this 2-hour stand-up paddle tour of Florence. Enjoy the easy cruise down the River Arno as you see the sights from a new vantage point.

from 75,34 US Dollar
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