Tuscany is one of the most famous and prolific wine regions anywhere in Europe. It is best known for its Sangiovese-based dry red wines - which dominate output.
Situated in central Italy, Tuscany's neighbours are Liguria and Emilia-Romagna to the north, Umbria, and Marche to the east, and Lazio to the south. Its western boundary is formed by the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The picturesque rolling hills with medieval villages and cypress-lined avenues appeal to tourists and so help promote the wines.
The region's top wines are officially recognized and protected by a raft of 41 DOC and 11 DOCG titles. There are six more flexible IGP/IGT designations, with the pan-regional Toscana IGP representing nearly a quarter of the total output.
Climate is a vital factor in this region's success as a wine region. Warm, temperate coastal areas are contrasted by inland areas, where increased diurnal temperature variation helps to maintain the grapes' balance of sugars, acidity, and aromatics.
Tuscan Grape Varieties
Arguably the most important of all Italian wine grapes, Sangiovese accounts for around two-thirds of all plantings and 85 per cent of red wine volume in the region. It is the mainstay variety in almost all of Tuscany's top reds.
Sangiovese also features Chianti, in which it is joined by small amounts of Canaiolo and Colorino, as well as increasing quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
More recently focus has increased on neglected local red grapes, both as blending components and for single-variety wines. Of these Ciliegiolo is the most prominent; here it achieves a more structured wine than is usually the case in neighbouring Umbria. Pugnitello is also experiencing a revival, though as yet on a smaller scale.
Trebbiano is the most planted white variety, followed by Malvasia, Vermentino and Vernaccia. International varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier are planted in very small quantities but do feature in white wines from some top estates in red wine-focussed appellations.