Wine is one of the cornerstones of Italian lifestyle..
Wine is a real symbol of local traditions and something that is never missing in Italian houses. Not only is it pleasant to sip whilst sitting at the table, it is also good for your health and good mood. Of course, we do not want to incite you to alcoholism. Remember that moderation is always the key to virtue. And if this sounds too pretentious to impress you, just think about your reputation. It is important. Safeguard it. Drink without drinking too much, please.
Anyway, let’s put aside pedantic suggestions on how to behave. We want to tell you something interesting and (hopefully) useful about this old tradition.
If you love wine and you come to Italy, going to Tuscany is a must. It is definitely one of the most important wine-producing areas of the whole country. You really get the feeling that wine belongs to this region when you taste it. It may sound a little bit too romantic, but it is the truth. Wine is seriously a matter of passion and devotion in Tuscany, dating back to ancient times. Just think that even if the invention of wine is generally attributed to peoples from Mesopotamia, some fossil hints of vine found in Tuscany corroborated the hypothesis that maybe wine was born right here!
We do not know if Tuscan wine traditions are really that old, but for sure they go back to the Etruscan age. As Tuscany was a crossing point for commercial exchange as well as pilgrims of every kind, agriculture has always been an important resource for the entire area. Farming techniques have always been quite advanced, and this is how wine production has gradually improved until it has become one of the best in the world. When wine became an upper-class beverage during the Middle Ages, it also turned into the business it still is nowadays. The strong point of Tuscan wine production is its specialization, with its own techniques specifically conceived to get the best wines.
Vineyards are mostly located on hilly and mountainous terrains because of their favourable climate. The main vine plantations are on Chianti hills, Val di Chiana, in central Tuscany and in the Mugello area. Tuscany produces 39 DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata, literally Controlled Designation Of Origin) and 11 DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, Controlled And Guaranteed Designation Of Origin in English) wines. These acronyms indicate high and certified quality. They are your guarantee. If you read them, all you have to do is ask for a glass… A steam glass actually. This is how wine should be sampled. But never mind; it is just advice. Feel free to drink it from the bottle if you please.
Now, we are about to have a quick overview on some of the best-known wines. Read the list carefully, it might help you to arrange a special itinerary for an alternative tour among Tuscan wineries… It could be really cool, take notes.
First, we have the duty to mention a real celebrity, Your Majesty the Chianti. Maybe this is the red wine par excellence. It is produced in eight different wineries around central Tuscany, from Arezzo to Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena. Full-bodied and with an intense taste, you may recognize it also from its strong ruby colour. The same grapes of Chianti’s give life to another very famous wine, the Brunello di Montalcino. Its unique structure needs a particularly long ageing to acquire its distinctive strong taste and smell.
In the very same areas as the Brunello, other wines are produced. The Montalcino Red Wine is very fresh and tasty; while Muscadello di Montalcino is a famous dessert wine made with Muscat grapes.
Another red wine you surely have heard of is the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, defined by the medieval poet Francesco Redi “the king of wines”. Dry, balanced but strong in taste, it has been the first example of the guaranteed origin we mentioned above, since its production area was regulated back in 1716. Even if the names are very similar, you should not confuse this wine with the homonymous Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, which is a completely different wine produced in another region.
Recently, Tuscan white wines are also acquiring more and more credibility on an international level. Until not so long ago they had really low prestige, because the vineyards they came from were underestimated. Today Malvasia and Trebbiano are among the most popular white wines in Italy, as they are quite cheap but have a really good fruity taste. The Vernaccia di San Gimignano is one of the oldest wineries in Tuscany, producing one of the best white wines of the entire region.
Lately, Tuscany has also started producing wines of great substance and very famous worldwide, like for example Chardonnay, Sauvignon and White and Grey Pinot. Vermentino is another very promising product. It is really soft, bright yellow and has a unique and intense smell of flowers, grass and yellow peach at the same time.
Last but not least, if you like sweet tastes, the great Vin Santo is just perfect for you. It literally means Holy Wine… And yes, it is divinely good! Although technically a dessert wine, it is also very good to taste while enjoying some savory snacks. Vin Santo may also be described as a straw wine, as they have very similar tastes.
So, our review ends here. Now it is up to you. How many of these wines have you already tasted? Are you ready to taste them all? Wine-tastings are also available with some of our tours around Tuscany. Just go and check them out. Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance. Good wine is never enough after all.
What kind of life would it be without wine? Wine is the gaiety of the heart, the joy of your soul.
These are neither by some poetic drunkard nor ours. We paraphrased them directly from the Bible... Yes, the Bible. The Holy Bible sings the praises of wine. Who are we to contradict the Word? Joking aside, once again, obviously no exaggerations should occur. What we mean is that wine is one of the pleasures of life everybody should enjoy with no shame or fear.
So, are you still thinking about it? Tuscany is waiting for you to tour around some of the best wines in the world and in history. Just train your liver and go. Everything is Bible-approved. Amen.