Another appellation that grew last year – Tuscany. Wine sales from Tuscany were up 66% in 2009. Not as great a growth streak as Cotes-du-Rhone (151%), but it was steady. Tuscany is home not only to the classic Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, but also the collectible “Super Tuscans” and a growing group of delicious value blends. One of our best sellers this year was the Monte Antico 2006 Rosso, a delightful Tuscan blend for just $11. Not only is the wine delicious and diverse, but the region is stunningly gorgeous!Tuscany Facts: – The main red grape is Sangiovese . Most reds are based on this indigenous variety.
– The three “classic” wine districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montalpulciano
– The more recent districts known for Super Tuscans are Bolgheri and the Maremma
– IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) is a recent classification created in 1992 with Super Tuscan wines in mind – it is applied to wines from a specific geographic area, not fitting the DOC/DOCG mold, but offering superior quality to Vino da Tavola (table wine). Tuscan wines are delicious with food, particularly foods of the area. Sangiovese has such excellent acidity, anything tomato sauce based is a delightful match. So give a Tuscan wine a try. My personal favorites: Value: DiMajo Norente Sangiovese – light and easy drinking, bright fruits, bright acid – a fantastic food wine.Mid-range: Le Macchiole Rosso 2006 – this is a Tuscan wine for the new-world palate. Full of ripe, sweet fruit and a touch of oak, very easy drinking and Cellar-worthy: Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2004 – Super Tuscans are nice, but this Brunello takes the cake. I have a few bottles of the ‘01 in the cellar waiting for me one day. Very age-worthy, always exceptional. And of course, Tuscany has some white wines as well, which can be lovely. But they are outshone by the reds and I definitely would suggest many other white wine producing regions in Italy over Tuscany.