Adaptations in Tuscany Breed The Perfect Wines in Italy

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Words: 594 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Words: 594|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Tuscany wields a heavy, dense history and cultural identity; such to the extent that it is fiercely independent, and often considered to be a ‘nation within a nation’. As such, Tuscany’s viticultural practices have their own deep-reaching roots through history. While Tuscan wines have been admired throughout history in the local Mediterranean region - as with several other regions like California or Chile, it is with the relatively recent phenomenon of international enology that Tuscan wines have received critical acclaim. Unlike some other regions, though, Tuscany has perfected their vitcultural and winemaking practices over the course of thousands of years – viticulture is a deeply engrained practice of Tuscany. In fact, references to the quality of Tuscan wines can be found in the literature of Greek writers from as early as 3rd century BC1.

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Considered the quintessential Italian grape, the main grape grown in Tuscany (and across Italy, as well) is the Sangiovese. It is a blue, thin skinned grape that produces a semi dark violet – burgundy wine, with low aroma, fresh fruity flavors of strawberry and cherry, medium high tannins and high acidity. Sangiovese is Italian in origin, and most wineries across Tuscany carry their own clonal varieties. One of the most famous wines of Tuscany, Chianti, is generally made with around 80% Sangiovese, with the addition of other grapes (generally less acidic and tannic varieties) such as Malvasia to round out Sangiovese’s high tannins and acidity. Wines made entirely with Sangiovese such as the famed Brunello di Montalcino often are quite acidic and tannic in their youth; these wines are generally opened five to ten years after bottling. At that point, however, they are very high quality, balanced wines that command a high price and are held in very high regard (considered one of the best Tuscany has to offer).

Sangiovese is grown all across Italy, but Tuscany is considered one of the best environments for it. It is suited to Tuscany’s sunny, warm climate, and the rolling hills that comprise around 70% of Tuscany’s terrain provide a gentle cooling effect while increasing the diurnal temperature variation, which balances sugars and acidity2. Tuscany’s abundant limestone deposits are an excellent host for the growing of Sangiovese as well. Marchesi de Frescobaldi (of the prominent Florentine family) writes that Sangiovese ‘performs best on well-drained limestone soils on south-facing hillsides’3.

Most of Tuscany’s wine production is red (about 80%), however Trebbiano, the most popular white wine grape of Italy, can also be found in Tuscany, as can Malvasia. Vernaccia is Tuscany’s only DOCG white wine, but wines from this area are held in very high regard. Chardonnay can also be found growing in Tuscany.

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The neighboring Umbria region of Italy is quite similar to Tuscany; while separate, one might consider Umbria to be Tuscany’s little sister. Umbria is the only region in Italy that does not border another country or the sea. The climate is quite similar to Tuscany, but without the coastal element. Umbria is famous for its hilltop villages, universities, and agriculture. The wine production of Umbria is about 1/3rd that of Tuscany, and unlike Tuscany, Umbria produces more white wine than red, though not by a wide margin (60% white, 40% red). While Umbria is most well known for its white wine, its only two DOCG’s are for red wine. Umbria’s largest wine production region is Orvieto (Orvieto composes about 80% of Umbrian wine production, and makes white wines) – so Umbria is primarily known for their white wines, but they do produce a small quantity of high quality reds.

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Adaptations in Tuscany Breed the Perfect Wines in Italy. (2018, November 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from
“Adaptations in Tuscany Breed the Perfect Wines in Italy.” GradesFixer, 05 Nov. 2018,
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