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Tuscany is the most well-known Italian wine-producing region, at least in international terms, and is home to 33 D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and 9 D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine e Garantia) wines. It has a long history of wine-making, the Etruscans having cultivated wine grapes here two and a half thousand years ago. It is most widely recognised for its traditional red wines Chianti (including Chianti Classico), Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano all made using Italy's most widely planted grape variety Sangiovese. More recently it has become celebrated for its so-called Super Tuscans such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia made using grape varieties more traditionally associated with Bordeaux such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Tignanello is another wine employing Sangiovese together with Cabernet Sauvignon and its first vintage, the 1971, was released in 1978 by Antinori. These wines heralded a new era of experimentation with non-indigenous grapes.

view of vineyards and san gimignano in tuscanyTuscany is situated in central Italy bordered to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the north by Emilia-Romagna, to the east by Umbria and Marche and finally by Lazio to the south. Florence and San Gimignano are two of the region's most ancient and historically important settlements. Inland from the coast it is a continuously undulating region of hills many of which are crowned with hilltop villages. These hills are planted with vineyards at elevations between 150 and 500 meters and contribute to the diurnal variation in temperature, preserving acidity and aiding the aromatic concentration of the grapes, as well as providing the soils required for viticulture and for the production of fine wines. Although Sangiovese is the most common noble grape here many others are cultivated including Malvasia, Barbera and Vernaccia, the latter being used to make Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a very good dry white wine.

In addition to the many fine red wines made in Tuscany dessert wines are also produced, the most famous of which is Vin Santo (holy wine), usually made from white Trebbiano grapes which are dried on straw mats until they shrivel and losing about 60% of their weight in a process which is known as “passito”. Such wines have been made since the middle ages when the grapes were traditionally left until holy week before being pressed and fermented into wine before being aged in small barrels for at least three years or more undergoing oxidation. Orange, apricot, raisin, nut and caramel flavours are typical of this style of wine. These days Vin Santo is made in sweet (amabile), very sweet (dolce) or in an altogether drier style with the grapes being dried for a shorter period of time and the grape sugars fully fermented out producing a fresher wine. Dry red wine is also made using this “passito” technique, most famously the Elba Aleatico Passito, produced on the island of Elba with the Aleatico grape variety having been left to shrivel on the vine before undergoing a further two weeks drying on straw mats. The result is a dry wine, high in alcohol, with a flavour of mulberry and with good acidity.

  1. Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, 2010

    Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, 2010

    Dark red cherries, flowers, licorice and a hint of tobacco are layered into the firm, structured finish. In 2010 the blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. The 2010 Guidalberto comes across as cool and inward in this vintage. This is a wine that is now ready to drink but may benefit from a few years cellaring.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
    Country Italy

    Out of stock

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