Italy: Tuscany

Between San Gimignano and Siena

Chianti Classico, San Gimignano and some Super Tuscans
By Michèle Shah

This Guide was last updated on 30 March 2010
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Main grape varieties

Red

Sangiovese
The most important red grape in Chianti and Chianti Classico blends, it produces tannic, structured, age-worthy wines of great complexity.

Canaiolo Nero
Also known simply as Canaiolo, this is used in Chianti blends with Sangiovese, often to give a greater aromatic appeal.

Ciliegiolo
This variety, once prominent in central Italy, has been revived in blended and varietal reds to give colour and aromas.

Merlot
International variety marked by soft tannins and intense colour. It is often used in blends but also as a single varietal wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon
International variety which produces structured wines with herbaceous aromas, especially when youthful. Used mainly in blends.

Shiraz/Syrah
International variety with a spicy character and usually medium- to full-bodied. Used both in blends and as a single varietal wine.

Colorino
A very deep-coloured grape sometimes used to add colour and tannins to blends.


White

Trebbiano Toscano
The most widespread white in central Italy, which is quite neutral in character – it is the basis for many dry white blends and is also used for Vin Santo.

Vernaccia
Variety that gives a distinctive dry white wine – crisp, refreshing, and with an attractive bitter almond finish.

Malvasia Bianca
Often used in blends with Trebbiano, providing more richness and flavour. Used for dry whites and Vin Santo.

Grechetto
Mainly Umbrian variety used occasionally as part of the blend for Vin Santo.

Sauvignon Blanc
International variety with aromatic quality mainly used for single varietal wines.

Chardonnay
International variety with fresh, aromatic quality that can produce well-structured, ageworthy wines. Mainly used for single varietal wines.


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