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We’ve all dreamt of dropping it all and moving to a Tuscan vineyard. Picturesque rolling hills, medieval villages, cypress-lined avenues and, of course, a climate that makes people and grapes happy in equal measure. With Liguria and Emilia-Romagna to the north, Umbria and Marche to the east, Lazio to the south and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, Tuscany’s warm, temperate coastal areas provide contrast to inland areas where nighttime relief is gifted by higher altitudes, helping maintain a mellifluous harmony of grape sugars, acidity and aromatics.

Sangiovese reigns supreme among Tuscan red wines, accounting for 85% of red wine volume. Across Tuscany’s 63,500 hectares expressions of this savoury and somewhat rustic red wine are as varied as Tuscany’s artistic heritage. In the mountainous Chianti, Sangiovese may be blended with local varieties or international playmates Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce Tuscan red wines of all qualities. The sublime stem from superior subzones surrounding Arezzo, Florence, Pisa and Siena – including the Chianti Classico region where Villa Le Corti and Castello di Ama produces what are considered some of Italy’s greatest red wines, the latter from single vineyard sites hand-harvested at 500 metres above sea level. Sangiovese takes on a new personality in Montalcino – where Sangiovese is called Brunello, creating mature wines beautifully embodied by Castello Romitorio’s examples, and Montepulciano – where the Salcheto winery’s Vino Nobile captures a compromise between Brunello’s robustness and Chianti’s elegance. No stranger to international admiration, Tuscany welcomes French varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc contributing to Bordeaux style blends in Bolgheri and beyond.

Small-holding Tuscan wine producers are driven by tradition, dedication to their Tuscan identity and appreciation for the terroir from which they create – and drink. Tuscan white wines demonstrate this as clearly as their reds. Italy’s first DOC, Vernaccia di San Gimignano is home to a producer embodying all of the above. Panizzi is certified organic and produces dry, fresh and mineral Vernaccia-led white wines with a personality as zesty as its founder’s zeal for researching the land on which he planted his vines.

Tuscany, its wines and its producers continue to embody a sense of ‘brio’ - verve, spirit, penache.

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