There are few Italian exports that are more iconic and instantly recognisable than a Ferrari. However, the legendary car manufacturer isn’t the only great product to arrive on our shores from Italy. I wanted to introduce you to some of the finest wines from the region of Tuscany. Wines that just like Ferrari’s, are enjoyed the world over!
Located in central Italy, just South of Maranello, the region is best-known for its Super-Tuscan wines from Brunello di Montalcino and the sweet wines from Vin Santo. The Super-Tuscan wines first started appearing in the 1970s, blended from Cabernet Sauvignon with the traditional Sangiovese grapes and were outside of the then regulations governing wine production in so-called DOCG and DOC areas. Over time these wines began to enjoy cult followings and, to this day, are regarded as some of the greatest wines, not just from Italy, but across the world. Names such as Sassicaia, Orneilleia and Soldera are now synonymous with their unofficial title of ‘Super-Tuscan’ wines. Developing over several years, the very best wines can last for decades. Many of these wines are known for their rich blackcurrant and blackberry flavours, they are perfect to enjoy on their own, or to pair with classic Italian dishes.
It’s not just drinking wines that have propelled the Tuscan region to the forefront of the wine aficionados mind. Thanks to rising prices, investing in great wines for the future is a recent trend that’s only set to grow. Wines such as Sassacaia, Tiganello, Masseto and Solaia have seen excellent demand across investment circles, helped by their longevity and several excellent recent vintages.
Whilst Tuscany is best known for its red wines, the Vin Santo sweet wines are definitely something to try. Vin Santo, meaning ‘Holy Wine’, is made primarily in the Chianti Classico and is produced with a blend of Trebbiano and other local grape varieties. The grapes get their rich flavour, courtesy of being dried for a period of time, concentrating the sugar and leading to a lovely rich flavour in the final blend.
Very different to the Sauternes from Bordeaux, with their rich flavours of manuka honey, barley, nuts and raisins, the Vin Santo sweet wines are also perfect to put away for the future, with the very best examples lasting well over 30 years. These wines are also great when enjoyed at the very start of their life. Some of the best examples come from the Antinori, Avignonesi and Badia a Coltibuono estates, which produce some of the best, most well-known sweet wines in the region. Just writing about them now, brings back memories of trying some great examples in the past!