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Tuscany is a region in central Italy known for its landscapes, traditions, history, artistic legacy and its influence on high culture. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science, and contain well-known museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Tuscany produces wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino. The capital is Florence (Firenze). Tuscany, especially Florence, is regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Tuscany has an immense cultural and artistic heritage, expressed in the region's churches, palaces, art galleries, museums, villages and piazzas. Many of these artifacts are found in the main cities, such as Florence and Siena, but also in smaller villages scattered around the region, such as San Gimignano.
Tuscan wine (Italian Toscana) is Italian wine from the Tuscany region. Located in central Italy, Tuscany is home to some of the world's most notable wine regions. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are primarily made with Sangiovese grape whereas the Vernaccia grape is the basis of the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany is also known for the dessert wine Vin Santo, made from a variety of the region's grapes. Tuscany has thirty-three Denominazioni di origine controllata (DOC) and nine Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). In the 1970s a new class of wines known in the trade as "Super Tuscans" emerged. These wines were made outside DOC/DOCG regulations but were considered of high quality and commanded high prices.
The soil of Tuscany is very poor, and producers emphasize low yields and higher quality levels in their wine. More than 80% of the regions' production is in red wine. The Sangiovese grape is Tuscany's most prominent grape, however, many different clonal varieties exist, as many towns have their own local version of Sangiovese. Cabernet Sauvignon has been planted in Tuscany for over 250 years, but has only recently become associated with the region due to the rise of the Super Tuscans. Other international varieties found in Tuscany include Cabernet franc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc and Syrah. Of the many local red grape varieties Canaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia nera and Mammolo are the most widely planted. For Tuscan white wines, Trebbiano is the most widely planted variety followed by Malvasia, Vermentino and Vernaccia.
The history of viticulture in Tuscany dates back to its settlements by the Etruscans in the 8th century BC. Amphora remnants originating in the region show that Tuscan wine was exported to southern Italy and Gaul as early as the 7th century BC. By the 3rd century BC, there were literary references by Greek writers about the quality of Tuscan wine. From the fall of the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages, monasteries were the main purveyors of wines in the region. The earliest reference of Florentine wine retailers dates to 1079 and a guild was created in 1282.
The region of Tuscany includes seven coastal islands and is Italy's fifth largest region. It is bordered to the northwest byLiguria, the north by Emilia-Romagna, Umbria to the east and Lazio to the south. To the west is the Tyrrhenian Sea which gives the area a warm mediterranean climate. The terrain is quite hilly (over 68% of the terrain), progressing inward to the Apennine Mountains along the border with Emilia-Romagna. The hills serve as a tempering affect on the summertime heat with many vineyards planted on the higher elevations of the hillsides.
The Sangiovese grape performs better when it can receive more direct sunlight, which is a benefit of the many hillside vineyards in Tuscany. The majority of the region's vineyards are found at altitudes of 500�1600 feet (150�500 meters). The higher elevations also increase the diurnal temperature variation, helping the grapes maintain their balance of sugars and acidity as well as their aromatic qualities.
May 23rd, 2014
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