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Tuscany is the geographic and, for many, metaphoric heart of Italy, the site of so much of the country’s best-known history, culture and landscapes. What ties all of those elements together, of course, is wine.

Tuscan wine is inseparable from Italy’s history, with recorded references to the area’s wine merchants going back 1,000 years. Wine is a traditional part of the Italian lifestyle, with wine integral to the region’s lauded cuisine. And wine has left its mark on the Tuscan environment: with the region’s winegrowers producing some 26 million cases of wine each year, there are a lot of vines covering Tuscany’s hillsides.

Those idyllic hills, the slopes of Italy’s Apennine mountain range, stretch through Tuscany from north to south. Sangiovese, Tuscany’s native red grape, predominates in the vineyards there. Sangiovese is the chief or sole grape in almost all Tuscan red wines—and more than three-quarters of the wines produced in Tuscany are red.

Tuscan winery

All three of these notable Tuscan wines offer complexity and acidity with bright notes of red fruit, making them famous companions for savory cuisine. More affordable, everyday Chiantis and Tuscan reds typically have simpler, lighter versions of that classic flavor profile.

In the 1970s, some Tuscan winemakers began to chafe under the centuries-old guidelines for making the region’s great red wines. They began blending Sangiovese with international varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah – and created the hugely popular “Super Tuscan” wines, combining many of the best qualities of traditional and modern Italian wines.

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