Tuscany is the most renowned Italian wine region thanks to the knowledge and dedication of the professionals in the area. Coupled with the romantic glamour of Tuscany’s endless landscapes, hilltop villages and quaint country roads, it is no surprise that wine enthuasists travel to this part of Italy. Tuscany’s reputations as the wine capital of Italy has been founded on iconic wines such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.
Since the 1970’s, a multitude of modern wines have emerged from the area, made from many international grape varieties and incorporating French barriques, or barrels. Grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were introduced and mixed with the classic Sangiovese to produce wines of a higher quality.
The warm Mediterranean climate is a vital factor in the region's wine success. The warm temperature in the coastal areas are contrasted by inland areas, where increased daytime temperatures help to maintain the grapes balance of sugars, aromatics and acidity.
How it is made
'The winemaker' is a guide for techniques, which allow wine-makers to follow steps to develop their style in each variety of wine. The following stages portray the fundamentals of winemaking; within this outline exists the winemaker’s options.
For every vintner, harvest time is the most crucial moment in the wine’s cycle. The grapes are harvested into boxes and delivered to wineries in open containers called gondolas; the grapes are harvested by hand or using a machine.
The grapes are then conveyed to a crusher, known also as a stemmer, where the leaves and stems of the grapes are removed. The next process is the crushing of the grapes, but some grapes may bypass and go directly to the press for the whole berry pressing.
After this has been done, the harvest is then put into fermenting vats, which can vary in size; between 50 to 5000 gallons. This is when the alcohol fermenting takes place. Many of the red grapes go to the fermenter for a primary fermentation; the conversion of sugar into alcohol and CO2, while most white grapes are pressed prior to the fermentation process. Yeast is also added to start the process and some winemakers prefer to utilise the native yeasts that are present in all grapes.
Bottling is the last stage before the slow and relatively lengthy ageing process. Wines are bottled in a sterile environment and sealed with a natural cork, screw cap or man-made cork.
How to taste the wine properly
When staying in one of our luxury Tuscany villas, we suggest spending the day at a vineyard and having the pleasure of tasting some of the finest wines throughout the world. We are all guilty of opening a bottle of favourite wine and not taking the time to really enjoy and experience everything the bottle has to offer. There are many ways you can get the most from a glass of wine and only in three simple steps.
1 – Look
Look at the colour, opacity and viscosity of the wine; you won’t need to spend longer than five seconds on this stage. A lot of clues about the wine are buried within its appearance.
2 – Smell
When you first smell the wine, try and pin-point the stronger smells first moving onto the notes later. Are there fruits? Think of broad categories first, i.e. citrus, orchard, or tropical fruits in whites or, when tasting reds, red fruits, blue fruits, or black fruits. Getting too specific or looking for one particular note can lead to frustration. Generally, you can divide the nose of a wine into three primary categories:
Primary aromas are grape- derivative and include fruit-driven, herbal, and floral notes.
Secondary aromas come from winemaking practices. The most common aromas are yeast-derivative and are most easy to spot in white wines: cheese rind, nut husk (almond, peanut), or stale beer.
Tertiary aromas come from ageing, usually in the bottle, or possibly in oak. These aromas are mostly savoury: roasted nuts, baking spice and vanilla.
3 – Taste
Taste is how you observe the wine, but also once you swallow the wine the aromas can change. Think about the texture of wine as well as the length the taste takes to leave your mouth. At any of Tuscany’s many wineries, you won’t just be served a glass of wine, but you will learn about the history and the passion behind each drop.
Quality Villas are including a free wine tasting session and also a guided walk through Peccioli, for bookings made between May and October 2017 on the following villas: Villa Etruria and Villa Celli.