Regions and Appellations Italy Tuscany

Tuscan Wine

Tuscany is one of the most famous and prolific wine regions anywhere in Europe. It is best known for its Sangiovese-based dry red wines - which dominate output. These include Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

The region's Vin Santo is also highly prized, as are its passito dessert wines, though these are made in tiny volumes by comparison. Dry whites are probably less familiar to most consumers - apart perhaps from Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

A classic Tuscan landscape

Situated in central Italy, Tuscany's neighbors are Liguria and Emilia-Romagna to the north, Umbria and Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. Its western boundary is formed by the Tyrrhenian Sea. The picturesque rolling hills with medieval villages and cypress-lined avenues appeal to tourists and so help promote the wines.

As is the case with almost all of Italy's 20 regions, Tuscany has a long wine history. This can be traced back as far as the fifth century BC. (? Wine-Searcher). 

The region's top wines are officially recognised and protected by a raft of 41 DOC and 11 DOCG titles. There are six more flexible IGP/IGT designations, with the pan-regional Toscana IGP representing nearly a quarter of total output. See Italian Wine Labels for more details regarding this heirarchy.

Climate is a vital factor in this region's success as a wine region. Warm, temperate coastal areas are contrasted by inland areas (particularly those in the rolling hills for which the region is so famous), where increased diurnal temperature variation helps to maintain the grapes' balance of sugars, acidity and aromatics. One variety that particularly thrives on these hillside vineyards is Tuscany‚Äôs signature red grape, Sangiovese.

Tuscan Grape Varieties

Arguably the most important of all Italian wine grapes, Sangiovese accounts for around two thirds of all plantings and 85 percent of red wine volume in the region. It is the mainstay variety in almost all of Tuscany's top reds. Its long history and broad regional distribution means that it has acquired various names.

In Montalcino it goes by the name Brunello, whence Brunello di Montalcino. In Montepulciano, it is known as Prugnolo Gentile. Under the name Morellino it is the grape used to make Morellino di Scansano. Sangiovese also features in Chianti, in which it is joined by small amounts of Canaiolo and Colorino, as well as increasing quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

With the rise of the Super Tuscans, the most famous of which come from Bolgheri, Cabernet Sauvignon became a much more prominent variety in Tuscany. Merlot and the other Bordeaux varieties also feature, as does Syrah (most notably in Cortona).

More recently focus has increased on neglected local red grapes, both as blending components and for single variety wines. Of these Ciliegiolo is the most prominent; here it achieves a more structured wine than is usually the case in neighboring Umbria. Pugnitello is also experiencing a revival, though as yet on a smaller scale.

Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc) is the most planted white variety, followed by Malvasia, Vermentino and Vernaccia. International varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier are planted in very small quantities, but do feature in (usually Toscana IGP) white wines from some top estates in red wine-focussed appellations.

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Most Popular Tuscan Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Sauvignon 5th 95 $303
Masseto Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Merlot 8th 95 $883
Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Sangiovese 16th 93 $144
Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy Bordeaux Blend Red 36th 94 $243
Marchesi Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Sangiovese 42nd 95 $339
Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 73rd 95 $151
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 77th 92 $63
Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese 89th 95 $113
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 101st 94 $240
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese 109th 93 $191
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese 160th 94 $594
Tenuta San Guido 'Guidalberto' Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot 178th 91 $49
Il Marroneto Madonna delle Grazie, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese 200th 95 $292
Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy Bordeaux Blend Red 201st 94 $120
Case Basse di Gianfranco Soldera Toscana IGT - Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 206th 93 $646
Bibi Graetz Testamatta Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 213th 93 $102
Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 221st 90 $67
Ornellaia 'Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia' Bolgheri Rosso, Tuscany, Italy Bordeaux Blend Red 269th 91 $60
San Giusto a Rentennano 'Percarlo' Sangiovese Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 270th 94 $121
Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Pianrosso, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese 293rd 94 $78
Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 296th 93 $190
Sassetti Livio Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 300th 92 $68
Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Merlot 305th 94 $240
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino DOCG,Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese 309th 91 $60
Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese 312th 95 $327
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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