Tuscany is one of the finest of the 20 wine-making zones in Italy.
Wines vary in color (rosso, bianco, rosato) and in content of sugar (secco, abocatto, amablie, dolce and liquoroso). There are also heavy sweet wines made of dried grapes such as Passito.
The wine with strong taste of some grape sort is called Fruttato. By virtue of aging wines may be aged (Riverva Veccio), longer aging wines (Riverva Speciale) and also wines with long-term aging which increases the content of alcohol by 0,5 – 1% (Superriore).
Sangiovese, Canaiolo (dark), Trebbiano and Malvasia (light) are the most popular grape-vines of Tuscany. Moreover there are also plantations of traditional French sorts of grape which helped to improve local grape-vines.
The state policy of wine quality was introduced in Italy in 1960’s. According to the classification the bottom line was given to table wines (VDT – Vini di tavola) which can be produced in any region and made from any sort of grape. Usually these are wines of not very high quality, although there are some sorts which can please even gourmets. Moreover there are some wine makers which for some reasons do not classify their production and do not follow the standards.
The next step is given to "IGT – Indicazione geografica tipica" (designation typical for a region). Usually the wine is produced from one sort of grape, which is indicated on the label.
"DOC – Denominatione di origine controllata" (designation monitored at the region of production) is the higher level of wines in terms of quality. Not only the region of production is taken into account but also the methods, standards of bouquet, sugar and alcohol content and many other parameters. The producers annually present the samples of their work for the assessment of the tasters who are very strict. There are 22 labels of Tuscan wines included in DOC class nowadays.
The highest quality is demonstrated by "DOCG – Denominatione di origine controllata e garantita" (designation with assured quality monitored at the region of the production) wines. The standards of their quality were introduced only in 1980. At the moment there are 24 sorts of all Italian wines and 6 of them which correspond to this class are Tuscan. In 1980 there were only 5 and 3 had been making in Tuscany: Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti.
Each bottle of DOCG class is coded individually. Special mark (pink for red wines and green for white wines) is placed on the neck of the bottle.
Brunello di Montalcino is one of the finest and most expensive Italian red wines of DOCG class. It was the first label to get DOCG class.
Chianti is a world known light red wine. There are several zones of Chianti production, each of them has its own microclimate and the wine – peculiar features, correspondently: Chianti Classico (DOCG class), Chianti Colli Aretini, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Colli Pisane, Chianti Colli Senesi, Chianti Montalbono, Chianti Rufina.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a white wine with honey, DOC class.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a delicate traditional red wine of DOC class.
This is not a complete list of the Tuscan wines. In order to get acquainted with the variety of local wines best of all would be to take one of the 14 so called "wine roads". The most famous is "Via Chiantigniana". Multiple trattorias and wineries are always glad to welcome all the visitors.