Fine winemaking has existed here for hundreds of years, since the city state of Florence was enjoying its heyday, but, despite a respect for the past, Tuscany has gained a reputation for innovation and experimentation. This was sparked by the depths that the district plumbed in the 1960s, when Chianti became a byword for insipid wine served in the ubiquitous bottle in a basket. That area has been successfully resurrected and is joined by Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the 'Super Tuscans' in the production of quality wine.Read More
Tuscany is beloved by the British as a holiday spot, and the wines that we find over there can only enhance the appeal.
Sangiovese is the king of Tuscany. It can be blended with Canaiolo, Colorino and Mammolo, or even the white Trebbiano and Malvasia, to make Chianti. Along with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is important for the 'Super Tuscans'. It is the sole contributor to a Brunello di Montalcino and is blended with Canaiolo and Mammolo for a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (which has nothing to do with the grape variety Montepulciano, which is used in Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and the Marches). Trebbiano, Roussanne, Malvasia, Vernaccia and Vermentino are joined by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to make the often excellent dry white wines. Dessert wines are a rarity and are highly regarded.
Tuscany can neatly be divided into the coastal belt and the Central Hills. The former is warm, stable, flat in comparison with the rest of the district, and ideal for red wines. The Central Hills are more challenging, and often more rewarding. With height, often up to 550m or more, comes good drainage and a respite from the heat leading to a longer ripening season. Summer rains are the main concern in the hills.
1990 was a great year for Tuscan wines, and most of the rest of the decade (1991 and 1992 excepted) continued in the same vein. The 21st century has not quite recaptured those heights, except for the excellent 2001 vintage, but nor have results been bad.