Tuscan wines are among the best in Italy. Their reputation is due mainly to the reds which include Chianti, an excellent wine produced in the Chianti area. It is ruby red and its alcohol content ranges from 12° to 14°. There are two D.O.C. classifications: Putto and Chianti Classico Gallo Nero, according to the zone of production. The wine district spreads from Montalbano to Florentine hills, from the Valdarno to the Sienese hills. However, only the wines produced between Florence and Siena, from S.Casciano to Castelnuovo Berardenga have the prestigious Chianti Classico – Gallo Nero label. The many small, rustic Tuscan taverns offer a wide range of local Chianti wines in a simple setting. In many villages you can still find the local mescite, now unfortunately disappearing. Vineyards with olive groves characterize all the Tuscan landscape. The wine and the extra-virgin olive oil produced in the area from S.Casciano to Castelnuovo Berardenga are known throughout the world.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is named after the town and the historic notion that the wine was available only for the tables of nobility. This was the very first DOCG in Italy. Unfortunately, its first vintage in 1983 was met with disappointing reviews. That and the fact that over 250,000 cases of this wine are now produced each year has somewhat diminished its noble aspect. Quality since that 1983 vintage has improved, however, and wines from the top producers are viewed as some of Italy’s best. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines are made from 60 to 80 per cent Prugnolo (sangiovese), 10 to 20 percent canaiolo, and up to 20 percent of other varieties (although no more than 10 percent white). One of the other red varieties most often used is Mammolo, which adds the scent of violets to the bouquet. The wines of this DOCG must be aged for 2 years in oak or chestnut casks, 3 years for those labelled riserva. In 1989 a new doc -rosso di Montepulciano – was formed.
No other Italian DOC has risen to such prominence as Brunello di Montalcino. This small Tuscan district around the hill town of Montalcino has become the darling of wine connoisseurs around the world. Here the Sangiovese Grosso yields wines with sensual aromas. The fragrances of licorice, smoke, violet, truffles, incense, and raspberries have all been found in these wines. By law Brunello must be aged a minimum of 3 ½ years in oak barrels.