Tuscany boasts more than 30 DOC wines and another half a dozen DOCG wines. DOCG stands for Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin.
Even if you haven't tasted Chianti, you would probably recognize it. Chianti is the wine that traditionally came in bottle enclosed in a straw basket called a fiasco. Many Italian restaurants leave bottles out on the tables or use the empty bottles as candleholders. However, today, very few producers still use this technique for bottling. Instead, Chianti comes in regular-looking bottles.
The wine was first given its name in the 13th century and although it was originally made mainly from Sangiovese grapes, Canaiolo grapes can be used today. Only wines that originate from the Chianti region of Tuscany can be called Chianti.
There were seven Chianti zones established in 1932 each producing distinct Chianti. They are Chianti Classico, Chianti Montalbano, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Chianti Rufini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane, and Colli Aretini [source: Wine Intro]. Chianti Classico is by far the most well known of these. It features a black rooster on the bottle.
The most notable white wine from the region is Vernaccia di San Gimignano. This wine is made from a grape of the same name and the variety can only be found in Tuscany. Vernaccia di San Gimignano was the first Italian wine to receive the DOC recognition in 1966 and is still the only Tuscan white wine that has been recognized with a DOCG label. Aside from Chianti, Chianti Classico, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano, four other wines are designated as DOCG; Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulcino, Carmignano, and Morellino di Scasano [source: Tuscany Wine].
Another wine that should be mentioned is the Vin Santo, or holy wine. The origin of this wine dates back to 1348 when a Franciscan friar tried to soothe plague victims with the sweet wine. People began to believe that the wine had special powers of rejuvenation [source: Tuscany Wine].
For more wine-related information, visit the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Choose-Tuscany. "Tuscany Climate and Weather." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.choose-tuscany.com/tuscany_geography_weather.html
- Easy Wine. "History of Chianti." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.easy-wine.net/history-of-chianti.htm
- Italian Language Study. "Modern Italian." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.italian-language-study.com/italian-language/modern-italian.htm
- Italy Travel to Tuscany. "Classico Tuscany Wine Tour." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.italy-travel-to-tuscany.com/tuscany-wine-tour.html
- MiMi. "DOCG." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://en.mimi.hu/wine/docg.html
- Moretti, Italo. "The History of the Chianti." (accessed 2/16/09) http://www.chiantistorico.com/en/history/
- New York Times. "Tuscan Wines." (accessed 2/16/09) http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/w/wines/tuscany/index.html
- Richard Ancheta. "Tuscan Italian Garden & Architecture." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.richardancheta.com/html/decoration/TuscanGarden.htm
- Tuscany-Wine. "Tuscany & Wine: History." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.tuscany-wine.com/history_of_wine_in_tuscany.htm
- Tuscany-Wine. "Designations." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.tuscany-wine.com/designations.htm
- Wine Country. "Intoduction to Grapes and Wine Production." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.winecountry.it/regions/index.html
- Wine Country. "Tuscany: Art, History & Wine." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.winecountry.it/regions/tuscany/
- Wine Intro. "Chianti Wine Information." (accessed 02/07/2009)http://www.wineintro.com/types/chianti.html