Located in central Italy along the Tyrrhenian coast, Tuscany is home to some of the world’s most notable wine regions. Along with the Piedmont, Tuscany is the country’s most important and high-yielding wine area. Perhaps the most famous, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (all made with the Sangiovese grape), and Vin Santo (a dessert wine), have been named the "Super Tuscans." They represent a large group of some of Italy’s best red wines born in the early 1970s.
Tuscany is divided into twenty-nine Denominazione di Origin Controllata (DOC) and seven Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). The regulations imposed by these groups were what brought about the “super Tuscans.” Producers felt restricted and made wines outside DOC/DOCG regulations that were considered to be of high quality—and demanded a high price as a result.
Some producers sought to keep away from using some legally “suggested” grape varieties, like the Italian white grapes which were considered an integral aspect of Chianti. Other winemakers began blending Cabernet and Merlot with indigenous grape varieties, which, at the time in the early 70s, wereforbidden.
While the Tuscany region produces a wide range of excellent wines for wine lovers, some of the more famous Tuscan wines, like Chianti and Brunello, are experiencing a marked decrease in bottles sold. There are many reasons for this; among them: a steep rise in prices recently; the hot Tuscan real estate market pushing some of the more experienced winemakers out; and the influx of oenological consultants who are having a negative impact on the diversity of wines. Fortunately, most recently, this trend may be reversing.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous, 96 points: Once again, I preferred the 2002 Masseto to the 2003, a wine that showed all of the excess weight, heaviness and opulence of the torrid vintage. Elegance and silkiness remain the hallmarks of the 2004 Masseto, and those...
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