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When you think about Italy, the history of the Tuscan wine region conjures up some of the very best food and drink experiences. After all, the likes of wine tasting in Florence with a selection of locally sourced cheese and ham is a perfect way to discover some of the world's most famous vineyards.

Italy is a producer of wine that is loved both locally and on a global level. The Tuscan wine region in particular historically been responsible for many of the most popular bottles served at the finest restaurants.

The History of the Tuscan Wine Region 1

The History of the Tuscan Wine Region

Here, we take a deeper look at the history of the Tuscan wine region, including where in Itlay it is and when it became such a prolific area for viticulture. As well, of course, as sampling some of the most famous Tuscan wines today. We will also explore how you can experience the Tuscan wine region yourself with a wine tour in Florence and the surrounding region.

Where is the Tuscan wine region?

Located in the centre of Italy, Tuscany is known for its landscape of sumptuous olive groves and cypress trees. Meanwhile, the scent of lemons and oranges heavy in the air is always a welcome sign that summer is upon us.

The rolling hills may be adorned with ancient castles and generations of farmland, but the region is perhaps best known for its many vineyards. As it is here where some of the world's most respected vineyards and wine producers can be discovered.

The Tuscan wine region spans nearly twenty-five square kilometres. It borders other local areas such as Umbria, Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Lazio - each of which are also known for being producers of fine wines and local produce. However, for those seeking the true Italian dream and a piece of food and drink history, learning all about the Tuscan wine region is a must.

When was wine invented in Tuscany?

Wine production is an ancient practice in many cultures and in Tuscany, it is thought that wine was first produced in the 8th century BC. This is when the Etruscans settled in the region, with the wine industry becoming one of the area's exports during the 7th century BC.

Although the Etruscan settlers may not have been exporting wine across the world as modern viticulture does, Tuscan wine was however reaching the citizens of southern Italy around this time through other means. As a result, already spreading the word of its undisputed quality.

How did the Tuscan wine region develop?

Over time, the Tuscan wine region went on to develop into an area-renowned producer. In the 3rd century BC, you will find literary comments by Greek writers and scholars singing the praises of Tuscan wines, while monasteries took over this historied viticulture after the Roman Empire ended, with this practice continuing throughout the Middle Ages.

However, as trade increased and more merchants emerged in the area, and the aristocracy began thriving in central Italy, they began to play a strong role in sharecropping - lending land to those who harvested grapes in exchange for a share of the crop. The landowners would then use the yearly harvest to create a wine which would be sold in Florence - which soon meant that Tuscan wine was making its way into the wider world via strong shipping practices and improved trade routes.

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Why is Tuscany best known for wine?

Nowadays, Tuscan wine is best known for its red colour and pleasant medium body. This is the result of the high tannin content in the Sangiovese grape which thrives in this historic wine-making region.

The natural climate of Tuscany helps the Sangiovese grape to thrive. Although other types of wine are also produced in Tuscany, it's the aromatic dry red wines created with the Sangiovese grapes that often keep people coming back for more. In fact, over 60% of the vines grown in Tuscany are Sangiovese, as they are well adapted to the hillside vineyards. In particular, due to the dry, warm weather and plenty of exposure to sunlight.

How many wine producing areas are in Tuscany?

Tuscany is not just known for one or two types of wine - or indeed for having one specific area that produces the wine itself.

As such, the Tuscan wine region is divided into eight areas (or sub-zones), with four main areas covering these. Although the main wine-producing areas within Tuscany include Montalcino, Montepulciano and the Tuscan coast, as well as the well-known and loved Chianti, home of the Chianti Classico. Each area produces its own subtly different wine.

What is Super Tuscan wine?

You may have heard of "Super Tuscan" wine - although this is not as historically routed in the history of Tuscan wine as the more classic varieties that you might find from Tuscany.

However, it still has plenty of fans! As the term was first invented in the 1980s as a way to characterise a red blend that is created in Tuscany - but not using grapes exclusively grown in the region, or sometimes not even in Italy!

While this might seem strange given the wealth of viticulture in the area, the Super Tuscan wines emerged due to dedicated and passionate producers feeling disempowered by the Italian wine laws in the 1970s. Many consider Super Tuscan wines to still be fine and delicious in their own right, due to being produced by skilled Tuscan vintners who understand their craft well.

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What are the most famous Tuscan wines?

The most famous and beloved Tuscan wines include Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Il Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG and of course the widely known Chianti Classico DOCG. Chianti is produced between the areas of Florence and Siena and is adored by everyone from casual wine drinkers to experienced, knowledgeable sommeliers.

If you are new to the world of Tuscan wines, then Chianti Classico is considered the best place to start. The wine is created with no less than 80% of Sangiovese grapes and has been a staple in Tuscany dating as far back as the Middle Ages.

Discover the History of the Tuscan wine region

Even if you are not an expert in wine, the Tuscan wine region is not to be missed. You can easily discover the rich and incredible flavours and history of Tuscan wine production with Tabl. Our experiences are perfectly designed for food and drink lovers, giving you insight into not just the wine of the area, but the best way to enjoy it and which dishes pair well with each type of wine. One of the best ways to find out more about the Tuscan wine region is to make it part of your trip to Rome, home of the best of Italian art and culture.

You can combine wine tasting and horseback riding, perfect for adventurous travellers. Or visit Chianti to discover what makes this wine so very special. You can even stomp some grapes yourself and get a taste of learning the art of wine-making!

Wine Tasting in Tuscany with tabl.

However you want to explore the Tuscan wine region, we have the perfect experience ready for you here at tabl. Complete with local tour guides and easy booking - why not choose your food and drink experiences in Florence today and get to know the heart of Tuscany's wine?

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