Giuseppe Maria Sesti
Think Tuscany ('Toscana' in Italian): think rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves and elegant cypress trees. It's just about a perfect place for wine growing. Toscana boasts a range of different wine regions, classified by the Italian wine rules as DOCs or DOCGs (Denominazione di Origine Controllata and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). The best known of these are Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, making red wines based on the indigenous Sangiovese grape.
While the top wines from these regions are of superb quality, a number of forward-thinking producers have experimented outside the rules set by the regulatory authorities by using high-quality foreign grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, typically in tandem with ageing in new oak barrels. Indeed, some of the most highly sought after wines from Tuscany (known unofficially as 'Supertuscans') are bottled under the supposedly lesser classification of Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). These premium IGT Toscana wines are now an established facet of the Tuscan wine scene, with many top Chianti producers, for example, making a flagship Supertuscan wine alongside their top Chianti Classico.