Wines of Tuscany: White Wine
To cap off my blog series about the wines of Tuscany, let’s talk about the white wine choices. Tuscany is most famous for its red wine, but there are a few whites that stand out as well. Many people think that all Italians drink only red wine, this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, Italians, and especially those in Tuscany, prefer to drink red wine when eating fatty foods and heavy cheeses. If they’re simply going to sit around and drink, it will be a glass of white wine, a beer or another refreshing nonalcoholic beverage. So, let’s take a look at some of the popular white wines of Tuscany.
VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO is a DOCG wine produced from the Vernaccia grape grown in the vicinity of San Gimignano. Many experts agree that this is the oldest grape variety in Italy. It has shown up in historical records dating back to 1276, and Dante mentions Vernaccia as a contributing factor to Pope Martin IV’s gluttony in his Inferno (loosely translated as “he ate pickled eels in vernaccia”). According to DOCG regulations, Vernaccia di San Gimignano must contain at least 90% Vernaccia. Vintners may add up to 10% of other approved white grape varieties. In order to achieve riserva status, it must be aged at least 12 months. The wine is crisp with lots of acidity and laced with tart apple and citrus flavors. Serve it chilled. It makes a good easy-drinking and refreshing wine for everyday use or to drink on a hot summer’s day.
VERMENTINO is a grape variety which is usually grown near the seaside. The resulting wine offers a crisp feel on the tongue with floral and fruity flavors. It often possesses some salty undertones, especially from the grapes grown at the seaside. This is another very drinkable wine that pairs well with fresh fish, roasted vegetables or goat cheese.
Other White Wines
There are some other less-important white wine grapes grown in Tuscany but for me, the two mentioned above stand out above all others. Of course, other regions of Italy produce some very good white wines, mostly based on the Trebbiano grape. Most notable are Orvieto Classico (Umbria) and Soave (Verona).
I can’t end my discussion about white wine without mentioning my favorite Italian region of Liguria. Located along the mountainous seaside are five little villages known as the Cinque Terre. Only here will you find their wine: Cinque Terre DOC. This wine must contain at least 40% of the local Bosco grape, but may also contain up to 40% of both Vermentino and Albarola. The final 20% can contain white varieties approved by the local wine consortium. You can’t find this wine outside the Cinque Terre! So, even if you don’t like wine, go there and give this unique crisp and dry wine a try!
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David McGuffin is Founder and CEO of David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, Inc., based in Middleburg, Florida. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube. David spends his time in Europe organizing and leading small group and independent tours to European destinations. In business since 2001, David has provided exceptional travel opportunities to several thousand satisfied customers. You can find out more about David and his European tours at his website, http://davidmcguffin.com.
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