Bella Italia! Who doesn't fall under the spell of the many facets that the peninsula has to offer? Everything is beautiful, everything is good. A land of romance, it is the undisputed benchmark of elegance and sophistication. The same goes for the wines it produces...
Bella Italia! Who doesn't fall under the spell of the many facets that the peninsula has to offer? Everything is beautiful, everything is good. A land of romance, it is the undisputed benchmark of elegance and sophistication. The same goes for the wines it produces...
In addition to having a centuries-old winemaking tradition, the geological and climatological diversity is exceptional. This translates into an incredible diversity of terroirs and grape varieties that are cultivated there. More than 400, officially! Considering the mutations and diversification of clonal varieties, we don't really know... It is said that no one can claim to know them all.
All the known techniques are practiced and some are unique in the world! From north to south, there is no region in Italy that does not produce wines.
Italian top-of-the-range wines make you dream just by mentioning their names: Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Masseto, great wines such as Barolo Pio Cesare... and Amarone Bolla... um, so many emotions. Of course, one cannot only revel in these legendary nectars. But Italy offers an array of sublime, affordable wines whose pleasure will have nothing to envy their peers. Puglia wines, Sardinian wines and Sicilian wines, to name but a few, are unquestionably the best quality wines in their price range. Discover the wine list of the different Italian wine regions.
If diversity is the watchword of Italian wine culture, the consumer may be faced with a dilemma. So how to choose? Although it is accepted that Prosecco is an integral part of a successful aperitif, that fresh white wines, whether rich, fruity or even iodized, are the ideal companions for seafood and that Italian red wines can support traditional cuisine, our online wine shop gives you access to all the information you might need.
Piedmont is famous for its Barolo DOCG and Barbaresco DOCG appellations, both produced from Nebbiolo, a noble, fragrant grape variety. Both are located around Alba. Barbaresco extends rather to the northeast while Barolo occupies the southwest. They are differentiated by their geological and climatological nuances. Barbaresco wines are produced on slightly more fertile and naturally better ventilated soils. This results in wines that are less concentrated, but offer greater subtlety in their youth. Legislation also provides for a maturation period of 2 years before marketing, compared to the 3 years imposed for Barolos. This allows them to become more supple over time to bring out their full potential.
The fruity Barbera-based wines and the famous Moscato d'Asti, a lightly sparkling, sweet, low-alcohol wine, also have DOC designations.
The wines of the Langhe DOC appellation cover and encompass the entire periphery. In addition to Nebbiolo, it accepts the cultivation of Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah as reds, but also white wines made from Arneis, Favorita and Chardonnay.
Veneto is the motherland of the great Valpolicella wines, which have multiple DOCG appellations. Wines must be produced from grapes harvested and vinified in a well-defined area. The main grape varieties are Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara.
Classically vinified wine (not to be confused with Classico, see below) is generically called Valpolicella. The Amarone, for its part, is distinguished by the fact that the grapes, before being put into fermentation, are first dried. These wines are called "passerillés" or simply straw wines! This dry winemaking technique gives a greater intensity of taste and a greater potential for sugar and alcohol. The Ripasso is a wine with an intermediate technique where the Valpolicella wine is "ironed" on Amarone lees, still warm, which provokes a second fermentation, enhances the aromatic complexity and raises the alcohol level. Finally, the Recioto is a wine produced on the same principles as the Amarone, except that the passerillage period lasts two months longer and that the wine does not pass through wood. The fermentation of the Recioto is interrupted, giving it an exceptional smoothness and charm. It is said that the Amarone was born when a barrel of Recioto was found and its fermentation was continued until a dry wine was produced. Tasting it and discovering its most bitter sensation, the owner would have expressed himself as "Ma e Amaro". He had become Amarone!
The wines of Valpolicella are then distinguished by the notions of Classico or Superiore. The title Classico determines a very distinct geographical area for the production of Amarone while the Superiore label simply indicates that the Valpolicella wine has been aged longer and has a higher than normal level of alcohol, a sign of a riper harvest!
Tuscany is probably the most famous wine region in Italy! The Sangiovese grape variety reigns supreme here, with wines of great righteousness, imbued with sunshine and finesse. Among its great appellations are Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG (which accepts Canaiolo and other local varietals) and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG produced from Sangiovese Grosso.
In the 1960s and 1970s, some estates had the bold and controversial idea of planting various Bordeaux grape varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc) to produce great wines. The Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Orma, Oreno, Masseto, or Tignanelo, blended with Sangiovese, were born! Today, they enjoy immense international success. Formerly classified as table wines, some now have specific appellations such as Bolgheri DOC or even Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC! These great wines are often referred to as "Super-Tuscan" wines.
We like to recall that the term Super-Tuscan was coined in the 1980s to refer to a Tuscan red wine made from international grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. As the term "Super-Tuscan" is not an official designation, it does not appear on the bottle label. Apart from a few specific appellations, "Super-Toscans" are therefore classified as "Toscana IGT".
Numerous appellations have been granted for wines from Puglia, Basilicata, Campania and Calabria. Although dominated by Primitivo (including the famous Primitivo di Manduria), a multitude of grape varieties and terroirs enhance the range of wines on offer. These regions are also the home of the structured Negroamaro in the Salice Salentino IGT appellations, in particular, and of the noble Aglianico and Malvasia Nera, combining complexity and sensitivity when the delicacy of the table is there. The south of the peninsula also produces some very great white wines! From this diversity are born sweet and savoury wines, gentle comfort in the face of the power of the ambient sun, accompanying the dolce vita par excellence!
Sardinia is the undisputed kingdom of Cannonau with the appellation Cannonau di Sardegna (DOP), a wine full of strength and subtlety. In Sicily, the complexity of the terroirs and 23 DOP, Sicilian wines offer a range of grape varieties from Nero d'Avola, a solar red wine, to Chardonnay, generally the lord of cool and delicate climates.
Your specialist: alfavin.ch
Due to the richness of the terroirs and the diversity of grape varieties that Italy offers, this list of wines and appellations is obviously not exhaustive. From the infinite range of wines produced in Italy, we have selected for you, over the years, encounters and sensitivities that are the finest in all price ranges. By clicking on the products offered below in our online shop of Italian wines, you will access all the relevant information to find the wine that corresponds to the criteria of your choice. Whether you are a fan of Barolo, Amarone, Primitivo di Manduria or Sassicaia, let the technical descriptions of the wines in our assortment guide you in finding the ideal companion for the desired wine experience.
Your advisor and expert for Italian wines, alfavin.ch
Sardinia is an island in the Mediterranean Sea located in the central-western part of Italy, with a latitude ranging from Lazio (Rome) to Calabria (Tropea). The Italian wines of Sardinia are powerful yet digestible, elegantly balanced by great freshness. The most famous Sardinian wine is red, produced from Canonnau, a variant of the Spanish garnacha. It is the most important red grape variety in Sardinia and the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). "Cannonau di Sardegna" can be produced all over the island. The island produces slightly more red than white wines and has 17 DOC (equivalent to the French AOC) and 1 DOCG (superior AOC).
Sardinia is rich in Greek, Italian, Corsican, Spanish and Arabic influences. Its viticulture has been proven to be more than 5,000 years old. It reflects over the ages the desires of its different inhabitants, rulers and customers. The quality of its wines has been renowned since the time of the Phoenicians (8th century B.C.) who traded them all over the Mediterranean coast. The turn towards modernity was started about thirty years ago now and the overall quality of the island's wines has improved.
The second largest Mediterranean island after Sicily, Sardinia is a mountainous island to the east, hilly to the west and surrounded by granite cliffs and sandy beaches on its coasts. The granite present in the soil is the main characteristic of Sardinian wines, which are particularly suitable for the cultivation of white grape varieties.
Sardinia is a small wine-producing region in Italy, but rich in its many Mediterranean grape varieties! Sardinia's most iconic red grape varieties are undoubtedly Canonnau and Carignano, which we find in Spain and the South of France, while Giró, Monica and Nieddera are almost exclusively planted in Sardinia. As for the white grape varieties, the most widespread and qualitative remains Vermentino, which is found in Corsica and Provence, followed by Moscato, Malvasia and Nuragus.
The Canonnau is undoubtedly the island's greatest success, producing both supple and fruity wines that do not require any particular ageing and are very accessible when young. It can also produce highly concentrated wines when yields are lower and gaining in depth when they are kept in barrels for a long time. To note is the superb DOC Carignano del Sulcis producing gourmet wines (plums, chocolates).
Vermentino is the most popular white grape variety in Sardinia, obtaining in the north-eastern province of Gallura the only DOCG on the island, the particular climate and soil giving it extra finesse. Vermentino di Sardegna DOC is also delicious and more accessible.
Vernaccia di Oristano DOC is a very atypical wine, because it is aged for a long time under a veil and oxidatively in barrels, giving it the typical aromas of dry sherry wines from Spain or those from the Jura in France. This wine has a minimum alcohol content of 15.0% and is absolutely delicious drunk chilled as an aperitif, accompanied by fishy or spicy tapas.
Alfavin.ch is proud to work with the best producers in Sardinia:
Puglia is a huge region that forms the heel of the Italian boot in the south-east of the country, it is bordered by Molise to the north, and by Campania and Basilicata to the west. The Italian wines of Puglia are sunny and generous, they are generally red and dry, sometimes mellow. The best known Puglia wines are Primitivo di Manduria and Salice Salentino. The region has 28 DOC (equivalent to the French AOC) and 4 DOCG (superior AOC).
The port of Brindisi and the town of Salice Salentino were founded by a community of Cretans who settled in Apulia 4000 years ago. Until the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D., Puglia was a very active wine producing and trading region, thanks in particular to its strategic geographical position on the Mediterranean. After a long period of relative quietness, the region experienced a revival of interest at the beginning of the 20th century, with the expansion of vine planting and the birth of numerous cooperative wineries. A century later, Puglia is now one of the top 3 wine producing regions in Italy (together with Sicily and Veneto). The European Union has banned the planting of new vineyards, and subsidises the grubbing up of existing vines and encourages the recognition of the historical wine heritage.
The climate is extremely favourable for the vines. Italy's "California" enjoys record sunshine and a ripening season free of climatic accidents. The region is free of mountains and its soil is red due to its high concentration of iron, like the Coonawarra region in Australia. It is an ideal combination for the production of great red wines for ageing, while its coastal and southern location favours the consumption of white and rosé wines.
The region of Puglia is a bit like the Italian Languedoc! There is enormous potential to revitalise a region historically concentrated on volumes and to invest in native grape varieties with high potential. The originality of the small producers and cooperatives lies in the blending of several grape varieties allowing them to obtain very well-balanced wines. Plantations of international grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, are accelerating and offer a particularly relevant alternative, both in Italy and abroad.
A very qualitative grape variety could be Nero di Troia or Uva di Troia, which is included in the DOCG Castel del Monte appellations. It produces fine, well-balanced wines, capable of improving with age. Negroamaro (bitter-black) reveals a great tannic and aromatic structure, which allows the production of great wines, particularly in the DOC Salice Salentino. It can be softened by the addition of Malvasia Nera, making the wines more accessible when young. Finally, Primitivo (called Zinfandel in the USA) is a source of dry and semi-dry wines that are easily appreciated for their generous fruitiness and rich aromatic palette. In the DOC Primitivo di Manduria, yields are lower and the wine is aged in barrels, producing highly concentrated and full-bodied wines worthy of California Zinfandel.
White wines are generally very expressive, mostly consumed locally and they accompany richly flavoured dishes admirably. The Verdeca grape variety is known for its high quality and is used in the DOC Locorotondo and DOC Martina Franca. It delivers aromas of citrus fruit, honeysuckle and flint. The Chardonnay plantations in the southern part of the region are commercially successful and broaden the range of white Puglia wines.
One of Italy's legendary wines is the "Five Roses" rosé from Leone de Castris. Until 1943, this wine made from Negroamaro was consumed locally and in bulk. The soldiers at the nearby American base were so fond of it that in 1943 they asked to bottle the wine to take it to the United States. The first bottling was therefore done in beer bottles brought by the Americans themselves! If one day you pass through Salice Salentino, take the opportunity to visit the museum in Leone de Castris where you can see an original bottle from 1943.
Alfavin.ch is proud to work with :
Sicily is an island in the Mediterranean Sea located at the southwestern tip of Italy. It has an abundance of vineyards and its very northern location gives it very warm climatic conditions. However, its rugged terrain and volcanic soil complemented by the influence of the sea provide excellent conditions for quality winemaking. Italian wines from Sicily are sunny and greedy, of great finesse and singular typicity. Nero d'Avola, which takes its name from the town of Avola, is the most important red grape variety in Sicily and even one of the most important in Italy. It should be noted, however, that around 70% of Sicily's grape varieties are white, dominated by Catarratto and Grillo. The island has 23 DOC and 1 DOCG.
Sicily has been influenced by many cultures throughout its history. Its strategic geopolitical situation has always been coveted and the wine trade has also contributed to its wealth. Its viticulture was once renowned, with the wines of Mamertium, Tauromenitanum and Populatum, famous under the Roman Empire, as well as the production of Marsala, which the English loved. Wine production gradually sank into overproduction and bulk sales. Nevertheless, a qualitative boom has recently emerged to highlight its magnificent terroirs and its enormous qualitative potential.
Geographically, Sicily is famous for its volcanic activity. The majority of its territory is made up of hills and mountains. Its volcanic soils give an incredible diversity of terroirs and great fertility. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean that can occasionally give it a continental character. This enormous potential for diversity, if carefully planned, can produce exceptional Sicilian wines that combine power, finesse and complexity while maintaining the fabric of the volcanic terroir.
Sicily and Puglia are the biggest wine producers in Italy! However, Italian wines from Sicily are dominated by cooperative wine production. On the other hand, some producers are doing a lot of work to improve production by lowering yields and promoting quality and authenticity. As is the case everywhere in Italy, Sicily has a multitude of native grape varieties offering unique typicities and adaptation to the local terroir that are incomparable.
Nero d'Avola is the master of red grape varieties from Sicily. Also known locally as Calabrese, it can be found in almost every region of Sicily and in the appellations Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, Contea di Sclafani DOC, Alcamo DOC, Marsala DOC, Noto DOC, Eloro DOC and Sicilia DOC. Its enormous success lies in its ability to adapt to the torrid climate, since it nevertheless retains its acidity and salty watermark. It exalts scents of ripe fruit, but also notes of chocolate, leather and violets. Its acidity gives it a good ageing potential.
Also worthy of mention is Frappato, often associated with Nero d'Avola in Vittoria DOCG blends and Nerello Mascalese, with its fruity notes that captures the subtleties of the volcanic soils of Etna DOC and Faro DOC.
Sicily's exceptional terroirs are the perfect home for a multitude of international varietals such as Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Here they find a fullness and fruity expression that makes their regions of origin pale in comparison...
Catarratto dominates the production of white wine in Sicily due to its production and its sometimes high yields, mostly associated with wines for mass consumption.
Grillo, a famous Sicilian grape variety, is without a doubt the Sicilian white grape variety offering the greatest delicacy and subtlety of fruit. It retains a nice acidity while maintaining a good structure with its floral and citrus fragrances. It expresses more purity as a single variety, but is sometimes blended with Chardonnay. The latter, although originating from much more temperate climates, has a high quality in Sicily.
Grecanico, for its part, has very lively and fresh fruity notes that are admirably balanced and coated with characteristic almond notes. It is often blended with Grillo or Garganega.
Sicily also has extraordinary specialities, such as Passito from the small volcanic island of Pantelleria: wine made from grapes that have been sun-scorched on racks and whose viticulture is described as heroic!
Marsala is a sweet wine, amber or ruby, produced from sun-dried grapes. The main grape varieties such as Grillo, Catarratto, Inzolia or Damsachino in white or Nero d'Avola, Pignatello or Nerello Mascalese in red can be used in its composition.
The revival of Italian wines from Sicily began with the creation of special vintages by Duca Enrico and the Tesca d'Almerita estate. The arrival of Planeta, although using several international grape varieties, also helped to establish the foundation of quality wines in Sicily.
Alfavin.ch is proud to work with
Piedmont is a region located in the North-West of Italy, wedged between Lombardy in the East, Liguria in the South, Valle d'Aosta and the French border in the West. The Italian wines of Piedmont are among the highest quality in the country and the best known in the world. This northern geographical position generally gives them a low to medium concentration in colour, tannins and alcohol; on the other hand, this same location gives them great aromatic strength and flavoury acidity. Piedmontese wines are also renowned thanks to the strong reputation of the local gastronomy, whether it be the high quality primeur products or the famous white truffle from Alba. The region is highly productive and of high quality, with no less than 42 DOC (equivalent to the French AOC) and – a record in Italy - 16 DOCG (Super AOC).
Piedmont has a rich wine history. Its proximity to the ancient port of Genoa has opened up the Mediterranean trade routes to it since the 13th century, when Nebbiolo was first mentioned. Already at that time Milan consumed a large part of the wines produced in Piedmont, mostly sweet wines. It was not until the birth of the Italian nation that the shift to dry wines began, under the impetus of the "first" Prime Minister Cavour, who settled in Turin in 1850. Barolos and other Barberas became dry, dark and powerful, while the red varieties Brachetto and Freisa perpetuated the tradition of sweet and slightly sparkling red wines. The agricultural and technical revolution was thus set in motion in Piedmont following the phylloxera crisis and the beginning of the 20th century saw the definitive advent of Barolo as one of the great wines of the modern era.
Piedmont essentially has three distinct wine-growing regions. The first and most renowned is in the hills south of Turin, where the greatest Piedmontese red wines (Barolo and Barbaresco) can be found. The second is around the Alessandria region, south-east of Turin, in the foothills of the Ligurian Alps. Here, the main grape variety is white, Cortese, and produces dry white wines that are very mineral and can be kept for a long time. The third is at the foot of the Swiss Alps in the northern part of Piedmont, at the gateway to Lake Maggiore, and produces wines mainly from Nebbiolo (Gattinara) and sometimes supplemented with Bonarda. The Piedmontese climate is continental and cool with mainly clayey-limestone and sandy soils.
Piedmont is a vast wine-producing region in Italy, particularly renowned for the high quality of its wines, hence its large number of DOCGs! The latter reward both the ancestral tradition of production methods and the asserted typicity of these red, white, sweet or sparkling wines.
The best known red grape variety in Piedmont is undoubtedly Nebbiolo, the exclusive or majority grape variety in the following appellations : Barolo DOCG, Barbaresco DOCG, Ghemme DOCG, Gattinara DOCG. It produces moderately rich, easily digestible wines with a garnet colour that quickly turns to copper. Its tannic structure and good acidity give it great ageing potential (20+ years). Barbera is found in the Barbera d'Asti DOCG and Barbera d'Alba DOC. The terms Superiore indicate a higher alcohol level and Riserva a longer ageing in barrels.
Moscato is the traditional white grape variety of Piedmont. It is present in the Asti DOCG and Moscato d'Asti DOCG wines, which have the particularity of being slightly sparkling, low in alcohol and semi-dry. They are obtained by means of a single fermentation (alcoholic and effervescent at the same time) in pressurised stainless steel vats. They are very light, very expressive wines, perfect as an aperitif in summer and accompanying desserts with little sugar.
Like many regions in Italy, Piedmont is brimming with producers of the traditional grappa, a brandy made from grape pomace. The marc is the hat full of skins, stalks and pips remaining at the bottom of the vat after the juice has drained. The marc is heated and the alcohol vapours are collected and cooled to become liquid again. The most elegant grappas are invecchiate (aged in oak barrels) and Riserva if aged more than 18 months.
Alfavin.ch is proud to work with some of the best producers in Piedmont:
Veneto is a large region in the north-east of Italy, encircled to the north by Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia and bordered to the west and south by Lombardy and Emilia Romagna respectively. The Italian wines of the Veneto region reflect all facets of the wine world, from the most neutral Pinot Grigio to the great dry Soave wines for the whites, or from the umpteenth Merlot to the world acclaimed Amarone della Valpolicella. It is the largest DOC/DOCG wine producing region in Italy with 29 DOC and 17 DOCG.
Wine production has been attested in the Veneto region for several millennia. With the Etruscans giving way to the Romans, Veneto became the 10th and last Roman region to be conquered in 264 BC. It was already a wine-growing hub exporting its wines to all the provinces of the Empire. A thousand years of the Republic of Venice would not change this, the regions of Verona and Piave fed the taverns of Venice and the merchant ships on the Mediterranean. Napoleonic intermittently, Veneto was mainly Austro-Hungarian for most of the 19th century, opening up new export markets and increasing its fame in Europe. In 1963, the DOC system was officially established in Italy, and Veneto was to rush like no other region to gain recognition for the quality of its prestigious wines.
Veneto is a land of geographical contrasts. Its border with Austria to the north gives it the benefit of the influence of the mountains and its many Alpine rivers (Adige, Brenta, Piave), its wide coastline on the Adriatic Sea regulates the overwhelming continental temperatures that prevail on the long Po plain. The immense Lake Garda makes the Verona area suitable for the production of elegant white and rosé wines. The best vineyards are to be found on the countless hills that criss-cross the area on soils composed mainly of siliceous glacial marl.
The Veneto region produces every type of wine possible and imaginable! The vineyards on the plain saw their production intensely mechanised and absorbed by the powerful cooperatives. The numerous IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) represent regional appellations that can produce wines from native grape varieties, international grape varieties or ambitious experimental blends. The smaller DOC appellations produce equal proportions of white and red wines of high quality and complexity, with their best historical sites often obtaining DOCG and « Classico status».
The greatest red wine of the Veneto region is without doubt Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG. Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara grapes are used for its very special preparation: it is a wine of passerillage (appassimento) normally intended to produce a sweet wine, the Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG, a wine known and appreciated since the Roman Empire. A forgotten barrel saw its yeasts finish the dry fermentation and created this extraordinary wine: dark, powerful, high in alcohol, viscous, extremely fruity.
Modernity will be found further east, ambitious winegrowers have planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot on volcanic soils and the results are more than convincing, rivaling in class with the greatest wines of Bordeaux and California.
Garganega is the grape variety responsible for the greatness of one of Italy's best dry white wines, the Soave DOC. Its exoticism and power are admirably complemented by the freshness and delicacy of Trebbiano di Soave. The best examples come from the DOCG Soave Classico.
Prosecco is certainly the best known Italian sparkling wine in the world, ahead of Emilian Lambrusco and Lombard Franciacorta. The production area of Conegliano is located in the Province of Treviso, 60 kilometres north of Venice. Made from the Gléra grape variety, according to the Charmat method (second fermentation in pressurised stainless steel vats and not in the bottle as in Champagne), Prosecco is a superbly fruity wine, from dry to slightly sweet, excellent from aperitif to dessert.
Alfavin.ch is proud to work with:
Tuscany is one of Italy's most internationally famous wine regions. Situated in the centre of Italy, this region is known for its rich history, its beautiful landscapes, its gastronomy and above all its excellent wines. Wine growing is abundant throughout the entire region, most of which is hilly. Actually, Tuscan wines have 11 DOCG, 41 DOC and 6 IGT!
The history of wine in Tuscany goes back to the 8th century B.C., imported by the Greeks who began to plant Vitis Vinifera. The Etruscans, having lived on the territory before being absorbed by the Roman Empire, discovered the intoxicating properties of wine and made the vines one of their greatest agricultural crops. The Etruscans were already exporting the nectar from southern Italy to Gaul! Since then the passion for wine by the Tuscan people has never stopped and has even become a fundamental part of their culture.
In 1716 the first "Denominazione di Origine Controllata" (Denomination of Controlled Origin) was created. Grand Duke Cosimo III imposed that certain appellations such as Chianti and Carmignano be strictly produced in traditional geographical areas, giving a historical and then worldwide turn to Tuscan wine.
Known for its famous undulating, sunny, vast and enchanting landscapes, Tuscany is a great region in every sense of the word. Composed mainly of hills (66.5%), this geographical area is ideal for the cultivation of vines, which are planted over a very large part of the hilly territory (up to 800m altitude).
There are four main types of terroirs in this area, namely :
Sandy, giving the wine a lot of perfume but a lighter structure.
Rich in tuff, offering more body and intensity.
Clay and limestone, giving great aromatic complexity and more subtle fragrances.
Chalky and fertile, producing wines with a higher alcoholic content.
The typical and most characteristic grape variety of this region is the Sangiovese. It represents more than 60% of the vineyards. Alongside this grape variety we also find international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. These varieties are used in the vinification process with or without Sangiovese for the production of "Super-Tuscan" wines.
In the 1940s, the Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, fascinated by Bordeaux wines, planted Cabernet Sauvignon in the Bolgheri region. Until the 1967 vintage, the wine was drunk with family and a few connoisseur friends. 1968 was the first vintage marketed under the appellation «Sassicaia - Vino da Tavola ». Since then, the rules have become more flexible and have gradually allowed international grape varieties in the production of Tuscan wines. As a general rule, a Super-Tuscan, like many of Italy's premium wines, is now found under the Toscana IGT appellation, while some have obtained their own denomination such as Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC.
Sangiovese reigns over the Tuscan grape varieties. It is used in the vinification of several wines, including the most prestigious such as Carmignano DOCG, Chianti Classico DOCG, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Morellino di Scansano DOCG and many others that are less well known but just as exquisite. It has a strong capacity to adapt to the different terroirs present in the Tuscan territory. It produces slightly tannic, fruity wines with good acidity and ruby colours.
International grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah have acclimatised very well and have taken a leading role in the production and blending of Tuscan Grand Crus. It should be noted that the first traces of Cabernet Sauvignon date back to 1716 in official historical documents. These authorised the use of Cabernet Sauvignon, then imported by the Medici family, in the production of Carmignano wine.
Trebbiano is the most widely grown white grape variety in Italy, especially in Tuscany, Abruzzo, Lazio and Umbria. It is known in France as Ugni Blanc. It can be characterised by high productivity, but when it finds its terroir, it can produce great wines. We would like to mention here Vin Santo del Chianti DOC, a sweet wine produced with dried grapes from Trebbiano and Malvasia.
The grape Vernaccia di San Gimignano (DOCG) is a grape variety that produces a dry straw-yellow wine with a nice intensity and fruitiness in the mouth.
The main producers :
Tenuta San Guido