Hidden Menu

Register Menu

Blog

A Guide to Lesser-known Tuscan Reds: From Carmignano to Montecucco

Mention the red wines of Tuscany and immediately examples such as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano come to mind. Produced primarily or exclusively from the Sangiovese grape variety, these celebrated red wines truly define this region’s viticultural excellence. Over the last three decades, the distinctive red wines of Bolgheri, crafted from Bordeaux grape varieties from vineyards along Tuscany’s coast, have also become icons of Tuscan wine.

Yet there are other sublime red wines from this region that are notable yet lack the renown of the wines mentioned above. Carmignano, Morellino di Scansano and Montecucco are three other important red wines of Tuscany that reflect a sense of place and represent not only special quality, but impressive value as well.

Read more...

Vin Santo, A Truly Great Dessert Wine from Tuscany

Grapes  for Vin Santo Drying in the Vinsantaia

One of the most characteristic wines of Toscana is Vin Santo. This passito is an ancient and traditional specialty produced throughout the entire region. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages, but the prototype for this style of wine can be traced back to the Greeks and the Romans.

Most Vin Santo is made from white grapes, typically Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Bianca Lunga. It can be made from just one of these grapes but is more commonly a blend of the two. Trebbiano provides acidity while Malvasia provides body, texture and perfume. A rare, pink Vin Santo called Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice (“partridge eye”) is made from red grapes, usually Sangiovese. Only a few producers make this pink version.

Read more...

PODCAST: Jane Hunt, MW & Andrew Jefford on Tuscany

Master of Wine Jane Hunt is interviewed by Decanter Magazine’s Andrew Jefford about Tuscany and its wines. Jane has a long, distinguished career in various aspects of the wine trade. She leads the Wine Scholar Guild immersion tours through some of the legendary Tuscan wine estates. 

Read more...

Harmonious Balance in Sangiovese: Ruminations on a Tuscan Taste

Matt Kirkland was an attendee of the WSG’s first Study Trip to Tuscany with Jane Hunt, MW. Here, he shares some of the insights he gleaned from the trip.

Quality in wine can be assessed based upon balance, length, intensity, and complexity (and typicity when not tasting blindly). As the workhorse grape of central Italy, Sangiovese had a checkered history relative to quality. It is a high acid grape, with relatively high tannins; and quality demands a balance of these structural components. The goal of this essay will be to discuss the acid/tannin balance, its impact upon quality, and the implications for “mouthfeel” of the resultant wines. The harmonious balance of quality can be achieved with pure Sangiovese (Brunello de Montalcino or some Chianti’s, or with blends as in Chianti or the “Super Tuscans”); the key is taming the interplay of tannin and acid on the palate. The journey through Tuscany is a delectable discovery of vinous diversity, unified by the grape.

“In the bad old days, Sangiovese tended to be overproduced which accentuated its tendency to exhibit high acid and unripe tannins… Sangiovese’s dominant viticultural characteristics are that it can vary as much as Pinot Noir in its sensitivity to place and that it ripens relatively late.” Jancis Robinson, www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/grape-varieties/red/sangiovese

Read more...

The Ten Best Italian White Wines: A Beginner’s Guide

Italy’s white wines are as diverse as the country’s reds. With a trove of native varieties, there is an Italian white wine to fit every budget and every occasion. In fact, there are so many choices that shopping for an Italian white wine can be overwhelming. It doesn’t help matters that many of the white grapes have similar looking names. However, you don’t have to memorize an encyclopedia to find the perfect wine for dinner.

Just knowing a few key wines will ease the confusion and simplify the shopping trip (hint, if the grape or wine name has a “v” in it, you will probably love it.)

Read more...

The Legend of Chianti's Black Rooster (Gallo Nero)

The Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) was the historic symbol of the League of Chianti and has become the symbol of the wines of Chianti Classico. The Black Rooster symbol is linked to a medieval legend that takes place during the time of open hostilities between Firenze and Siena for control of the Chianti territory.

Read more...

Chianti Classico with sommelier Jeffrey Porter

Chianti Classico: From Medici to Marvelous

Nestled in the hills of Tuscany with some of the most unique soils in the world with one of the greatest grapes in the world, Chianti Classico is a wine that conjures up the best (and worst) associations within the world of wine.

Get the inside scoop! Join Jeffrey Porter, Beverage Director for the acclaimed Italian restaurant group Batali & Bastianich, as he guides you through the history and specificities of Chianti Classico.

Presenter: Sommelier Jeff Porter

Originally from Texas, Jeffrey’s passion for wine started while at the University of Texas at Austin.

He began his career at Central Market in Austin, Texas.

After graduating Jeffrey moved to California where he worked as a sales person for a wholesaler in the Bay Area.

His sommelier career began in Napa Valley working at Tra Vigne Ristorante in St. Helena, California.

He joined the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group in 2009 at Osteria Mozza.

In 2011 he moved to New York to become the wine director for Del Posto and in 2014 Jeffrey became the Beverage Operations Director, overseeing the beverage programs for Babbo, Del Posto, Esca, Lupa, Otto, Babbo Pizzeria & Enoteca in Boston, MA, and our newest restaurant La Sirena at the Maritime Hotel.

Learn more about Italian Wines:

Read more...

Italian Wine Tradition and Transition with Nick Bielak

Webinar Abstract:

Join Nick Bielak for a punchy introduction to some of the important buzz words of contemporary Italian wine… what’s exciting and what to look out for.

Going beyond Italian Wine 101 (basics of Italian wine, main varieties and regions, culture and pronunciation), Nick will discuss hot topics including: menzioni geografiche aggiuntive in Barolo, the noble Italian red varieties, top Italian whites, the emerging south, the awakening of the giants– Italian coopertives.

These are just some of the most exciting developments in Italian wine production. Don’t miss out for a session on tradition and transition in Italy!

 

Presenter: Nick Bielak

After several forays to Italy, Nick emigrated in 1996 and inevitably became involved in wine, working for a Puglian winery until 2003.

After exploring the length and breadth of Italy’s vineyards from Alto Adige to Sicily, he returned to London with a view to disseminating the message of the exciting world of Italian wine to international markets.

After a short experience at Bibendum as an Italian specialist, he started working with Nicolas Belfrage MW in 2006.

Since then, he has had the privilege of working with this significant protagonist of the modern Italian wine époque, roaming Italy's vast expanse of DOCs and DOCGs, consulting with producers and ecologists, judging at major events (including Decanter for the last 8 years).

He currently spends half his time in Italy, and half in London, whilst being challenged by the Institute of Masters of Wine.

Learn more about Italian Wines:

Read more...

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to receive weekly original stories about the wines of France, Italy and Spain


Sign up to receive our latest updates *