Tuscany is a famous wine region located in central Italy. It is known primarily for its red wines based on the Sangiovese grape, such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Montepulciano. Ever since the 1970s, the region has also produced the “Super Tuscans” – wines based on international grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
However, Tuscany is about more than just red wines, even though these account for 80% of the region’s total production. Tuscany also produces white wines from Trebbiano, Malvasia, Vermentino and Vernaccia. In addition, it is notable for the sweet dessert wine Vin Santo. The largest classified wine region within Tuscany is Chianti.
Overall, there are more than 30 DOCs located within Tuscany. Each of these clearly defines the types of wines that can be produced. For that reason, the “Super Tuscans” created such a stir when they arrived in the wine world: they were initially outside of the Italian wine classification system but were similar in quality to any of the mighty Bordeaux red blends from France.
Winemaking has existed in Tuscany since the 8th century BC when the Etruscans discovered the area. By the 7th century BC, the wine was being exported to Southern Italy and Gaul. During the 17th century, the red wines of Montepulciano were famed as the drink of the Tuscan nobility.
Currently, Tuscany is the eighth-largest Italian wine region in terms of total wine production, and the third-largest when you take into account only the highest-level DOC /DOCG wines. For its emphasis on quality over quantity, Tuscany has earned a reputation for one of the most important wine regions in the world.
In terms of geography, Tuscany is known for its rolling hills. More than two-thirds of the total land area is rugged and hilly, but it is those gently, undulating hills that help to moderate the summertime heat.