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Home / Local Life / Italy / Tuscany

Tuscany - Italy
Tuscany Map

Tuscany is home to a number of choice BeautifulPlaces villas that are conveniently close to Tuscany’s most honored and exciting wines. Making wine is an ancient and noble tradition here. Wild vines are believed to have covered the Tuscan hills even before the appearance of the mysterious Etruscans who are credited with domesticating these grapes, ancestors of today’s Sangiovese. However, it is really within the last twenty years that the quality, creativity and demand for Tuscan wines has surged.

Topping the list must be Brunello di Montalcino. In 2006, the Wine Spectator granted perfect scores to two 2001 vintage Brunellos. In July, 2007 the magazine wrote, “If you want to understand what great Italian wine is all about, buy a bottle of Brunello. No wine in Italy matches Tuscany’s Brunello di Montalcino when it comes to class and ageability.” From your villa, you’re at the best place on the planet to do your own research!

Montalcino lies southeast of Siena, perched above vine-laden hillsides in all directions. The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino has more than 140 bottling members; thus an enthusiastic investigator can sample a full range of offerings from tiny, traditional producers, to large, ultra modern and sophisticated operations. Most will offer, in addition to Brunello, the less aged (but still 100% Sangiovese grapes) .

Travelling further east to Montepulciano, you will find yourself surrounded by producers of Vino Nobile, another incarnation of the Sangiovese grape. Part of Montepulciano is included in the zone of Chianti, so producers of probably Italy’s most universally recognized wine are here as well. Fortunately, today one can be assured of a much more satisfying Chianti experience than the days when its bottles were covered with a thatched, straw fiaschetta.

The heart of Chianti lies further north, it’s glorious, ever-winding roads, climbing, dipping and stretching toward Florence. Producers surround the picturesque villages of Gaiole in Chianti (south central), Greve in Chianti (north central), Panzano in Chianti (central), Radda in Chianti (southeast), Castellina in Chianti (central) and Castelnuovo Berardenga (south). Lying west of the superstrada which links Siena and Florence is the San Gimignano area, famed for its crisp, white Vernaccia.

The most remote of Tuscany’s wine regions is along the region’s southwest coast and the plains of the Maremma. This is not an area with a winemaking history; however, it does hold promise for making winemaking history. This is the land where the SuperTuscans were born -- Sassicaia, Guado al Tasso and Ornellaia to name of few of the most revered (and priciest). Vineyards increasingly dot the region named for the obscure little village of Bolgheri. Although reds dominate the wine press, the area also produces some notable whites (that won’t break the bank): sauvignon blanc and vermentino.

The southern Maremma’s wine industry is also rising rapidly in terms of quality and the number of producers. Here also the reds rule, with Morellino most associated with the area. The “wine road” postings will take you though still hardly-discovered (by tourists), charming villages, including Montiano, Scansano and Manciano.

Additionally, bear in mind that throughout Tuscany, you are in a world where olive oil has stood with wine over the centuries as a staple of life. Hence, many wine producers proudly market their oil and wine side by side. If you match them with some local bread, fresh pecorino cheese and handmade sausage – no further menu planning is required. Buon appetito!