Toscana is probably the most famous of all Italy’s wine producing area, home as it is of wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano all made from the local Sangiovese grape. This large region in central Italy hugs the Tyrrhenian coast on the west side of the country. Although this is mainly red wine country, it makes one white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano and a dessert wine, Vino Santo. There are 33 DOC appellations and nine DOCGs.
Toscana has evolved a great deal in the last 30 years and has transformed itself from a region that sold wine in raffia clad flasks (fiasco) to a upmarket wine region producing wines to rival the top wines in the world such as Ornellaia, Sassicaia and Massetto. Building on the success of Sassicaia that is made from Cabernet grapes, a new class of wines called Super Tuscans emerged produced from international grapes sometimes blended with Sangiovese. Today, some of these wines have been welcomed into the official classification system but many still prefer to use the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipici) label and there are now five sub-categories of IGT wines.
The history of wine growing in Toscana is of course very old and dates back to the Etruscans long before the Romans. The monasteries and great merchant families of Florence (including the Antinoris and Frescobaldis) kept the wine traditions alive. Toscana includes the oldest wine appellation in the world – Chianti which was defined in 1716. The climate of Toscana is a warm, Mediterranean one mitigated with sea breezes.