Definition - What does Tuscany mean?
Tuscany, the wine region located in Central Italy consists of the regions of Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino; all hold the status of DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata), and each region makes red wine where it is required to grow the traditional Italian grape, Sangiovese.
DOCG Chianti is the largest classified wine region of Tuscany. The main grape grown is Sangiovese and its various clones. Here, it is required that a minimum of 75% Sangiovese be present in the wine. Other permissible grapes are; Canaiolo (red grape) and Trebbiano or Malvasia (white grapes). Inside Chianti is the sub-region DOCG Chianti Classico, the historical part of Chianti and the wines must contain a minimum of 80% Sangiovese and only blended with other red grapes.
In DOCG Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a minumum of 80% of Prugnolo Gentile (a clone of Sangiovese) must be present in produced wines. Other grapes used are Canaiolo and/or Mammolo, or Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These wines are aged for a minimum of 2 years in oak and bottle before release.
In DOCG Brunello di Montalcino, the Brunello varietal (a clone of Sangiovese) is grown and used to produce wine.
WineFrog explains Tuscany
The only white wine of Tuscany is from the DOC Vernaccia di San Gimignano made from the Vernaccia grape. It is an oaked wine with some fermentation taking place in oak and is known for its full-body and dry, earthy notes with minerals and honeysuckle nuances.
Another famous wine from the region of Tuscany is the Super Tuscan. While they have yet to reach a high status locally as DOC or DOCG, they are well-recognized wines and some of the most highly coveted red wines in the world. Super Tuscan wines hold the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) status.
By EU wine laws, it is required that 85% of the grapes contained in the wine must be grown in the region of Tuscany. In other regions of Tuscany, there are strict vinification practices and varieties of grapes which must be followed by law, however, the varietals used for Super Tuscan wines, their vinification process, blending and ageing can be entirely regulated by the winemaker.
While Sangiovese is the traditional grape of Tuscany, many Super Tuscan wines do not contain Sangiovese. They are often blends of many Bordeaux grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and sometimes Sangiovese is included.
Big labels of Super Tuscan wines are; Tignanello, Sassicaia, Solaia and many others.