Wines of the Tuscany Region
The development of viticulture in Tuscany is due to the Etruscans, who inhabited the region for many centuries and who are considered the ancient people who devoted themselves most to the cultivation of vines and the production of wine. With the Romans, the activity continued prosperous over time without however arousing particular attention. The testimonies that tell the Tuscan wine culture are many, sometimes curious as the Black Rooster, symbol of the Chianti Classico, which with its behavior marked the borders of the Chianti area, and with quotes in Italian literature, such as Vernaccia di San Gimignano ( first Tuscan wine to obtain the DOC recognition in 1966) mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy.
But the Tuscan pride and the strong passion for wine were not reserved for only the most humble agricultural people, even the Tuscan nobility was completely involved, so much so that noble families were directly involved in the cultivation of the vineyards and the production of wine like the Ricasoli, Antinori and Frescobaldi, to name a few, whose high-sounding names today represent the best of Italian enology.
In 1716 a call from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de 'Medici, delimited the production areas of the Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Valdarno wines, preceding the Controlled Designations of Origin. In 1872, Baron Bettino Ricasoli, producer in Brolio and member of the Accademia dei Gerorgofili, defined the quality standards of Chianti, distinguishing two types: an aging Chianti and a ready-to-drink Chianti, in which the addition of a small one was allowed share of Malvasia with red Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes. Around the same time, in his "Il Greppo" estate, Clemente Santi studied the formula of Brunello di Montalcino.
In 1924 the Consortium for the protection of the Chianti Classico was established, which assumed the black Rooster as an emblem, while the recognition of the DOC to the Chianti arrived in 1967. A little later the era of the Supertuscans opened, provocatively defined table wines "because not subject to a specification, but sold at high prices.
However, the first love is never forgotten, so the attention of the public has returned to focus on the Chianti Classico, which since 1984 boasts the DOCG.
Climate, Territory and Cultivation systems of the vine
The Tuscan territory stretches mostly on soft hills, which occupy 67% of the region, but has numerous facets of climates and soils.
The Tuscan climate is generally mild on the coast, with hot and dry summers mitigated by winds from the sea and with winters that are not too harsh and on average rainy. The situation is different in the hilly central part, where the climate is more continental, with dry summers and water difficulties for the vine, while in the other seasons it is quite cold and fairly rainy.
The territories where the hills of Chianti, Montalcino and Montepulciano, Lucchesia and Maremma insist present mainly Calcareous-Clayey soils, which give wines - especially those based on Sangiovese - good structure, acidity and flavor. Furthermore, especially in the Chianti and Sienese areas, there are Alberese, a compact white limestone, and Galestro, a lamellar and clayey rock, which are the main architects, respectively, of the qualities of longevity and elegance of the wines. On the coast the soils are richer in clay mixed with sand but also in minerals, which offer excellent flavor to the wines obtained from Vermentino in the northernmost areas, as well as structure and great elegance to the reds of the Livorno coast. Maremma has mainly calcareous and clayey soils that enhance the softness and alcoholic note of the wines, while in the Grosseto hinterland the soils of volcanic origin give wines with chromatic intensity and structure.
The most commonly used systems for growing vines are the Tuscan arch with or without a spur, the simple and multiple Guyot in the Chianti area, the Capovolto and the spurred cordon, the latter being very common in the Montalcino area.