Discover the Tuscany appellations
Tuscany is probably among the best-known wine regions in all of Italy. It's located in the middle of the country, facing the island of Corsica. The Tuscany vineyard has a total surface of 86,000 hectares and stretches over many communes, such as Castellina in Chianti, Barberino Val d'Elsa, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa… Tuscany is often considered to be the Italian counterpart of the Bordeaux region, thanks to its many DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). The equivalents of the French AOC.
The Etruscans were the first to plant grapevines in Tuscany. They came to Italy around 400-600 BC, and they even gave the region its current name (the Romans used to call them "Tusci", which later became "Tuscany"). Over the years, the Etruscans adopted Greek culture and improved their own winemaking methods, refining them greatly. During the Middle-Ages, the Italians became the masters of wine in Europe. Their wines, especially Chianti, were even exported to England. At the beginning of the 18th century, many vineyards were impacted by extreme cold weather, but Tuscany was spared. Logically, the region ended up as the main wine producer in Europe.
Italian winemakers were forced to choose quantity over quality when the phylloxera crisis hit their vineyards during the 19th century, but they slowly went back to a high quality level again after 20 or so years (the very first official DOC was actually born in 1966). The soils of the Tuscany vineyard are a rich blend of sandstone, clay, sand and gravel. The grape varieties that grow here are very diverse: Sangiovese and Canaiolo (for red wines), Trebbiano and Malvasia (for the white wines). They can produce the famous Chianti, of course, but also other appellations, such as Brunello di Montalcino and Montepulciano.
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