Famous for its Chianti, made in Tuscany from the Sangiovese grape, Central Italy has other delights to offer the lover of wine. Abruzzo, Umbria and the Marches are districts now producing consistently good wine from indigenous and international vines.Read More
Chianti is a large appellation that can display variable quality, but at its best is quite superb. Chianti Classico, more highly regarded, was designated a DOCG in 1984 and is synonymous with dryness, acidity and powerful fruit. Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are other fine Tuscan red wines that are made predominantly from Sangiovese. The 'Super Tuscans', with their greater scope for experimentation, are varied in style but are often influenced by Bordeaux in their choice of vines and techniques. These fall outside DOC boundaries or choose to ignore the rules of the appellation, are modestly classified wines that can rank amongst the best that Italy has to offer.Umbria is known for dry, medium and sweet white wines (though reds are achieving fine results), Abruzzo produces an excellent red - Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - and a simple, enjoyable white - Trebbiano d'Abruzzo - and the Marches is improving at both.
Sangiovese is the dominant grape throughout Central Italy and makes up 75-100% of Chianti. Other significant reds around the district, which are often blended with Sangiovese, are Canaiolo, Colorino, Mammolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano and Merlot.
With admirable fortitude, Italians will plant vines almost anywhere there is soil to support them. Central Italy is no different and so the coast of the Tyrrenhian sea to the west, the foothills of the Apennines inland and the shoreline of the Adriatic Sea to the east are all flanked with vines. Vines are planted on south-facing slopes to take advantage of the sun, and both climate and conditions are favourable for the growing of grapes. They are often, in fact, too favourable and high yields of quickly growing varieties have kept down quality. But in recent years the expertise and inclination has existed to do true justice to what the environment can produce.