Vineyards and olive groves reaching distant rolling hills dotted with farmhouses and castles and ancient roads lined by cypress trees! Breezing through the Tuscan hills on a vespa! Is this that appears in your Tuscan dream? Then, let me tell you, this is not a dream, the Tuscany wine region has everything to offer! From world-known wines to refined gastronomy, rich history, and cultural heritage.
Tuscany Wine Region – Home to Some of the World’s Most Iconic Wines
Tuscany stretches picturesquely along the Ligurian coast in Italy and is one of the most prestigious wine-growing regions in the world. Tuscany borders the regions of Liguria to the northwest,Emilia-Romagna to the north, Marche to the northeast, Umbriato the east and Lazio to the southeast. Owing to optimal geological and climatic conditions, the wineries of Tuscany produce high-quality wines with a unique touch. On the barren limestone soils of Tuscany, the vines are spoiled with plenty of sun and rain. Internationally popular wines such as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti or Vino Nobile from Montepulciano and Super Tuscans thrive here and they are on the list of every wine collector.
Wines from The Land of Sangiovese
Among the best known and most important wines is the Chianti Classico. Originally served in its well-known straw-wrapped wine bottle, the fiasco, which had fallen out of favour but is now making a bit of a come-back. The grapes all come from the same region in Tuscany and are grown only in a strictly limited area between Siena and Florence. The Sangiovese that forms the majority of the Chianti blend is a thin-skinned grape, so it makes translucent wines. Chianti Classico wine can vary from light-bodied to full-bodied according to producer and the terroir where it is produced. It is a robust yet fruity wine that displays among other things an aroma of sour cherries.
Brunello di Montalcino is one of the most famous red wine provinces in Italy and is also made from the Sangiovese grape (Brunello, meaning “the little brown one” is the local Sangiovese clone) in strict accordance with DOCG rules. Thus, the wine must ripen for at least 24 months in the wood barrel and may not be released until the beginning of the 5th year after the harvest. It is not surprising that the Brunello is the most expensive “classic” Tuscan wine.
Vin Santo is the typical dessert wine of Tuscany. It is made from the white grape varieties Trebbiano and Malvasia. The grapes are hung on roof beams and dried. After pressing, the wine matures for at least three years in small oak barrels. Typically they give you almond biscuits called Cantucci to dip into the wine and taste it like this.
Super Tuscans – Revolutionary wines
The story of rebellious winemakers
Anyone who knows Italian bureaucracy, especially in viticulture and winemaking, will know that changing rules in Italy is not an easy task. However, In the 1970’s several winemakers in Tuscany started a revolution in winemaking. The first step was the release of wine Sassicaia by Mario Incisa Della Rocchetta and later followed by famous Antinori with wines Tignanello, Solaia, Ornellaia, etc.
What was so special about these wines? winemakers went against the regulations and traditions by using international grape varieties in these wines, and even though the wines had superior quality, they were still classified as table wines (Il vino da Tavola). When the international press had to write about these unlawful wines, describing them as table wines could not do them justice. This is how the term “Super Tuscan” was born.
Eventually, winemakers reached their aim, and the classification system of wines went through some substantial changes. The popularity of these wines forced the government to create another acronym IGT(Indicazione Geografica Tipica) In 1992, which allowed winemakers to experiment more around grape and blending choices.
Currently, there are around 100 wineries experimenting around different international and local grape varieties. Check out the list of wineries in Tuscany and learn more about their wine story!
The queen of Tuscan grape varieties is undoubtedly Sangiovese: with more than 100,000 hectares, it occupies more than 10% of the Italian vineyards. Their wines contain a lot of tannin and acid, but relatively little colour. It is the main grape variety for Chianti or for Brunello di Montalcino, one of the most prestigious wines in Italy. For the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano also a Sangiovese clone is used, in this case, the grape Prugnollo Gentile. Also, Canaiolo and Merlot are represented in the region and since the advent of the Super Tuscans also Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
As for white grape varieties you will find:
What to Expect from Tuscan Wines?
Typically, dry wines are produced in the Tuscany wine region, which appears rather light in the body. A freshly opened and not long-aged Tuscan wine reminds in the nose of cherries, sometimes also sour cherries and red currants. On the palate, you can feel the racy acidity of young wines, which are reminiscent of red berries and have a more herbal character. More concentrated wines can be found among the more highly classified wines such as from Chianti and among the best riservas from Brunello and Vino Nobile. These combine a richer, fuller aroma with balanced tannins.
Where to taste Tuscan wines
An authentic wine experience should start from the wineries in Tuscany, where you will be given a taste of Tuscany in a glass of Sangiovese labelled and made according to regulation where you go. And of course, all these accompanied by local specialities and a good storyteller, who will take you back to history.
When you think of Tuscany, do you also have that image of rolling hills, green vineyards, and picturesque Italian cities in mind? To realize that image you need to go to Val d’Orcia. In this valley, which stretches from the hills of Siena to Monte Amiata, the famous villages Montepulciano, Montalcino, Bagno, and Vignoni are strung like pearls on a chain. The entire area is part of the UNESCO World Heritage, and each of the small towns has its own special feature. For example, Vignoni offers the Bagno Vignoni monumental bath, which you can enjoy as a romantic trip for two or as a family fun activity. Let yourself drift back to Etruscan times.
Siena – Medieval Tuscany
This city, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, is best known for Palio, the hardest horse race in the world, held twice a year. Further, this charming town also offers characteristic narrow streets flanked by brick buildings. The Piazza del campo, as the heart of the city, is one of the largest medieval squares in the world and has an unmistakable peculiar shell-shape. In this place, you will find the Torre del Mangia from where you have a breath-taking view over the town.
Another must-do is a visit to the cathedral with its black and white facade. The special thing about the church hides inside: the floor is full of esoteric symbols and religious stories that are dedicated to the Assumption.
Volterra – The beautiful gem in the region of Pisa
What to visit in Volterra?
The bell tower of the central Palazzo dei Priori, decorated with medieval frescoes, offers a panoramic view over the city and is thus a first good starting point for orientation. The city’s ancient defensive walls are not only a great place to hike and take photos, but also have great views of the surrounding countryside.
Piazza Duomo is home to beautiful medieval buildings made of precious materials, including the famous Carrara marble. Inside these buildings are some magnificent works of art from the 16th and 17th centuries. In the archaeological area of Vallebuona, there is a magnificent theatre from the 1st century AD and is considered to be one of the most beautiful and best-preserved theatres of that time.
Tuscany’s Nature – Stunning Views, Lush forests, Crystal Clear Water
National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago – Heavenly Beaches and Crystal Clear Water
The seven Tuscan islands lie in the clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and bear the beautiful names Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Gorgona, Pianosa, Giannutri and Montecristo. Large parts of the landmass and 60,000 ha of sea surface are under protection, the national park is the largest marine park in Europe. Elba, the third largest island in Italy, is a land of sights and attractions, making it worth a visit to the island for a few days. The remainder of the six islands each have their own characteristics, but they all share wild nature and characteristic landscapes.
The Maremma Park – A Vast Paradise of Mountains
Greenheart of the Maremma Natural Park, called by the Tuscans “Uccellina” (limestone cliffs dominating the southern and central parts), extends over 10,000 hectares between Principina a Mare (about 20 km south of Castiglione della Pescaia ) and Talamone. It was established in 1975 as a natural park and today is a nature reserve south of Grosseto, Magliano in Toscana and Orbetello. Within the park, you will find all the typical landscape features of the Maremma, such as dense forests, historical finds, pristine beaches, and vast pastures. More routes are possible to visit the Natural Park of Maremma. Even 16 routes on foot, 4 on the bike, 4 on horseback, 4 in the carriages, 2 in a kayak. Find your preferred way to explore the park.
20 minutes drive from the Maremma Park, you will find Azienda Agricola Val di Tor run by a family, which has become a stellar example of environmental sustainability in wine production.
Azienda Agricola Val di Toro invites you to visit and experience the elegance of its territory and the wines produced here.
The Parks of Val di Cornia – The Garden of Tuscany
Val di Cornia also is known as the Garden of Tuscany because of the stunning beauty thrives here in all its glory. Enjoy relaxing hikes through oak forests, olive groves, vineyards and along winding streams that splash in the undisturbed nature of the valley through the natural parks of Baratti and Populonia. Nature lovers will enjoy a hike through the pretty park of Montioni in Suvereto and the park Poggio Neri in Sassetta. Or go on a day trip along the coast and enjoy some relaxing hours in the sun on the beach of Spiaggia Lunga. Or participate in some water sports such as surfing or snorkelling in the Gulf of Baratti, Cala San Quirico or Buca Delle Fate; all within a short distance of Val di Cornia.
Refined Down to Earth Kitchen of Tuscany
The Tuscan cuisine is very diverse due to the fact that Tuscany is situated by the sea, but also provides forests with game and meadows for animal husbandry. By comparison, Tuscany is considered a food rich region with a long tradition. There are many bean dishes available and also sweet chestnut dishes as chestnut trees are abundant in Tuscany. Above all, the very high-quality Tuscan olive oil is very much used in the kitchen. Some regional wineries are able to propose you a perfect food and wine pairing.
Lampredotto Sandwich – The Peculiarity from Florence
The dish is related to the tripe but does not consist of rumen like this but of the darker and more delicate abomasum of the cattle. The abomasum is cooked in a broth with tomatoes, onions, and parsley. Then it is either done in the style of Bollito misto or, typically Florentine, as a snack in a Sandwich eaten and is especially well-known in Florence.
Panzanella – The Tuscan Bread Salad
This bread salad is eaten in Tuscany all summer long. The recipe of the Tuscan bread salad stands for the characteristics of Tuscan cuisine: high-quality, yet frugal ingredients (such as ripe tomatoes and good olive oil) and a mostly simple procedure. It is best to have a sciocco bread which means that no salt is added to the bread that is typical for Tuscany. You also need good, fresh products from the vegetable garden, such as fresh, ripe tomatoes, aromatic basil, red onions, and virgin olive oil. Everything is mixed and eaten cold. Such a dish is saturating without feeling stuffed and is very refreshing in Italian summer.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina – The Pure Steak Pleasure
Bistecca Alla Fiorentina is a grilled Porterhouse or T-bone steak. The meat is cut from the whole roast beef. It slices up to 1300 grams and up to six centimetres thick slices from the fillet, the bone and the flat roast beef so that a T-shaped piece of bone remains in the steak.
The preparation takes place exclusively on the grill, whereby the meat piece is sometimes pre-painted with olive oil. After a short roast time, the steak is turned and salted on the cooked side. After the other side has been grilled for as long, you also salt them. Now the meat is covered with a piece of fresh butter or drizzled with olive oil and seasoned as desired with black pepper from the mill. It goes well with rosemary potatoes and a strong red wine from Tuscany.
Insider Tips about Tuscany
Tuscany wine region, which is a dream plays for many is visited by millions every year. One of the most famous wine regions in the world offers a diversity of authentic wine tourism experiences in their open cellars and not only. Below, you will find insider tips provided by locals and the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Tuscany.
Where to eat in Tuscany?
Ristorante Boccon Di Vino
Address: Località Colombaio Tozzi, 201, 53024 Montalcino SI, Italy
Menu: Italian, Tuscan, Central-Italian, vegetarian and vegan options
Specialties: Pappa col Pomodoro, smoked Goose Carpaccio
Most Frequently Asked Questions about Tuscany Wine Region
1. Where is the Tuscany wine region located?
Tuscany wine region is located in central Italy and occupies 23 000 square kilometers of the area. Tuscany borders Liguria Wine Region to the northwest, Emilia Romagna wine region to the north, Marche wine region northeast, Umbria to the east, and Lazio to the southeast.
2. What are the most famous sub-regions and appellations in Tuscany?
Tuscany wine region is divided into eight sub-zones. Out of which, Chianti Classico, where production is limited to the area between Florence and Siena, is the most popular one.
Chianti Classico DOCG is one of the oldest and the most popular applications of Italy. It was born in 1716 and falls under the same borders even today.
Besides Chianti Classico, Tuscany is home to some of the world renowned wine appellations such as Bolgheri DOC, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino and many more.
3. What are the main grape varieties in Tuscany?
Sangiovese, Tuscany’s signature grape, is the most wide spread grape in Tuscany. Trebbiano, Ciliegiolo, Merlot , Cabernet Sauvignon, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and Malvasia are also widely planted around Tuscany.
4. What is the best wine to try in Tuscany?
Tuscany is the most famous wine region not only in Europe, but also worldwide. The popularity of the region is due to the exceptional wines the region offers. Diversity is big, however, when it comes to choose the best wine to try in Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are taking up the top possitions of the list.
5. What is a Super Tuscan red wine?
The most popular Super Tuscan red wine is probably Sassicaia by Mario Incissa Della Rocchetta, followed by Tignanello by famous Antinori. Read more about Super Tuscans.
Calabria is a jewel on the toe of Italy. Calabria has a large number of wineries that offer wine tasting and tour. Visit our website to book beautiful wine-filled experiences and learn more about the wine region.