Italy: Tuscany

Montalcino and Montepulciano

Heartland for classic reds from Sangiovese
By Michèle Shah

This Guide was last updated on 28 April 2011
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Main appellations

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

The DOCG appellation is said to guarantee the authenticity of wines of ‘particular esteem’. Today the area designated to Brunello di Montalcino DOCG covers some 2,000ha of vines and the average yearly production is 6.5 million bottles. Brunello is made from 100% Sangiovese (called Brunello in Montalcino) . It is powerfully structured and must be aged in oak casks (of various sizes) for a minimum of two years, while the overall ageing requirement (cask and bottle) is five years and six for the Riserva.

Rosso di Montalcino DOC

This averages a yearly production of 4.5 million bottles from a vineyard area of 250 hectares. It is considered Montalcino’s second wine and is made from 100% Sangiovese.

Moscadello di Montalcino DOC

This sweet dessert wine is made from Moscato Bianco and averages a yearly production of 80,000 bottles from 50 hectares of vines. The Tardiva version is aged for one year.

Sant’Antimo DOC

This appellation averages a yearly production of 500,000 bottles from 650 hectares of vines. Bianco and Rosso versions are made from a wide range of local white and red grape varieties, as well as varietal wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero and Sauvignon. The Riserva is aged for three years.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG

This area incorporates 80 producers and covers some 1,207ha of vines, producing eight million bottles. The main grape (a minimum of 70%) is a variant of Sangiovese called Prugnolo Gentile, while the remaining percentage can be from Canaiolo, Mammolo or other varieties recommended and/or authorised in the province of Siena. The minimum ageing for Nobile is two years.

Rosso di Montepulciano DOC

This appellation covers some 350 hectares, with a production of three million bottles. It is produced from 70% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) with optional Canaiolo, Mammolo and other local or international varieties.

Cortona DOC

A small appellation in the hills around the DOC of the same name, making red, rosé and a little white wine as well as Vin Santo. Most of the whites and reds are single varietal wines from international as well as local varieties; rosés must have minimum 40% Sangiovese with Canaiolo and other varieties.

Vin Santo di Montepulciano DOC

This is made from a minimum of 70% Trebbiano with Malvasia and Grechetto, either singly or blended, in addition to a maximum of 30% of other white varieties authorised in the province of Siena.

Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice DOC

This rosé Vin Santo is made in several Tuscan zones, from minimum 50% Sangiovese grapes with other local varieties.

IGT Toscana

This classification, which applies to the whole of Tuscany, allows a liberal number of grape varieties grown within the area of production to be used. The so-called ‘Super Tuscan’ wines fall within this category, rather than Vino da Tavola, which they were originally.

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