Tuscany in Italy is one of the most romantic wine regions, taking in candlelit churches, bustling markets and awe inspiring Renaissance architecture in the cities of Florence, Siena and Lucca.
The best known wine areas are Chianti Classico, the hill towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino and Maremma in the far south, opposite Elba island, producing Morellino di Scansano.
The main variety is Sangiovese, with numerous clones now better matched to soil types. Along with more advanced vineyard management, barrel ageing is more subtle and varied, giving wines of elegance and diversity.
Previously abandoned indigenous grapes are also being re-discovered such as charmingly soft and spicy Foglia Tonda from Mannucci Droandi. Other trends are organic grape growing and re-cultivation of abandoned vineyards, such as at La Spinosa, using Sangiovese and international varieties in their wines.
The coastal Bolgheri region is an essential pilgrimage for lovers of ‘Bordeaux blends’ and home to one of the world’s most famous wines Sassicaia, made from Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc by Tenuta San Guido.
In Bolgheri town, Enoteca Tognoni serves all the famous ‘Super Tuscan’ wines by the glass along with sublime, simple meats, cheeses and pasta.
To buy Sassicaia in the UK, see Armit Wines. For organic wines see Les Caves de Pyrene and Vintage Roots.
Some recommendations in the region are; hotels Ghiberti in Florence, Villa La Principessa in Lucca (see booking.com) and restaurant L’Osteria in Via dei Rossi in Siena.