Jeroboams Education is a new series on our blog providing you with the lowdown on the most iconic wine producing regions of the world. Led by our super buying team, Peter Mitchell MW and Maggie MacPherson will introduce you to the key facts and a little history of all the regions you recognise but perhaps don’t know too well. To help really further your education, why not drink along? Browse our Tuscany selection.
Tuscany (Toscana in Italian) is only responsible for around 5% of Italian wine production, but it is by far the most famous region internationally and is dis-proportionally represented on wine lists around the globe. This is perhaps mostly a relic of the importance of the region, both culturally, economically and politically throughout the medieval and renaissance periods and the fact that this has led it to be a tourist destination of worldwide repute, helping cement awareness of the local wines. Its reputation has also been helped by the (relatively recent) abundance of truly fine wines made here. It is the most red region of any in the country with a whopping 87% of production being either red or rosato (double the national average) with most of its iconic wines being made wholly (or mostly) from Sangiovese, which covers 62% of the vineyard area.
The viticultural history of the region dates back to the Etruscan Empire which ruled this part of Italy from the 8th Century BC until it was absorbed by Rome in the 3rd Century. The area was heavily influenced by Greek culture and much of the wine here was made from Greek varieties.
The importance of Tuscany as a cultural and political centre was firmly established in the middle ages and Florence was a key centre for the trading of wine (and not just local wine). Florence was a world economic centre so good records remain and these show that in the 14th century the equivalent of at least 3.4 million cases were traded annually in the city (for comparison in 2019 the whole of Tuscany made 29 million cases)
By the 14th Century, much of the production was white and often sweet, with the finest wine of the region made in San Gimignano. It is around this time that the acidic variety Vernacchia, still associated with this hilltop tourist trap, first appears by name. Chianti is also first mentioned around this time, but it was a white wine. Most red wine was not distinguished with any geographical origin, but Montalcino is mentioned for its heavy reds and the name Brunello first appeared at this time (although the modern version is a relatively new invention). Carmigiano is one of the few areas that made red of repute and still does.
Right up until the 1950’s, the region was dominated by a few huge estates, owned by the church or local merchant families that were farmed on a share-cropping basis. As this system collapsed after the Second World War, investment ceased and the vineyards fell into a state of disrepair. By the 1970’s, outside investment had begun as plots were bought up, but sadly the clones planted were often chosen for volume, not quality and whilst Chianti gained worldwide fame, the product could not be called a quality one.
During the 1970’s, the wine laws had enshrined traditional, but not necessarily best, practice. Better producers started to experiment with international varieties and different ageing regimes, which could only be sold as humble vino di tavola, but which frequently fetched far higher prices than DOCG wines. This made a mockery of the official classification and the most distinctive and famous of these wines, generally Cabernet based and grown on the coast around Bolgheri, were given their own DOC, whilst the IGT system (equivalent to France’s VdP) was introduced for the rest who operated outside the regulations. Sassicaia is the most famous example, others include Ornellaia, Masseto (a merlot) and Solaia and Tignanello (both made at the same estate in Chianti). Most top producers now make an IGT wine, often based around Cabernet or Merlot and often plastered with new oak and a hefty price tag. Some are worth it. The 1980’s saw an acceleration in outside investment, from elsewhere in Italy and from abroad, and vineyards were extensively replanted with superior clones, so that by the late 1990’s, the region once again was producing some of the finest wines in the world, even if the majority of Tuscan wine is no longer made by native Tuscans.
The most commonly planted variety in Italy, Sangiovese is responsible (under various synonyms) for many of her finest wines. It is also the workhorse grape of central Italy, turning out millions of litres of largely undistinguished wine. It is a late ripening variety that has relatively high acid and in marginal areas and less good vintages, wine from Sangiovese can be positively tart with hard tannins and weedy fruit. Systematic over cropping, as often occurs in lesser areas, can have a similar effect. Sangiovese has great intensity of somewhat sour cherry fruit, whilst its grapes are not blessed with thick skins so the wine tends to be not especially deep coloured, unless there has been major extraction during vinification as in Brunello (or the wine has been ‘improved’ with some under the table addition of a darker variety – this is Italy after all). Sangiovese made its way to the Americas with Italian emigrants and is found in Argentina, Chile and the USA.
The more marginal the climate, the more perfumed and aromatic the wine will be, but with attendant higher acid and more angular tannins. Chianti produces the most aromatic and acidic wines of Tuscany and Morellino the fullest and ripest. Montalcino shows the most power, but at the expense of aromatics, whilst Montepulciano lies somewhere between Chianti and Montalcino, showing good weight and aromatics.
Climate and Geology
The Tuscan coast enjoys mild winters and hot summers with cooling sea breezes. Rainfall is adequate, but rarely blights the growing season unduly. Drought can be an issue. Further inland, winters can be harsh and spring frost is a risk in many areas. Summers tend to be hot, although altitude is useful for controlling ripening and in most years harvest is carried out before the autumn rains arrive. Years where full ripeness has not been achieved have become much rarer in the 21st century, with excessive heat and drought now causing more problems.
Tuscany is a very hilly region (as is most of central Italy), with only 8% of the land classified as ‘flat’. Whilst it is not mountainous in the way that neighbouring Umbria is, there are many rolling hillsides which are key to the wines’ qualities.
Virtually all of the best wines (with the notable exception of Bolgheri) are grown between 150-500m altitude on Southerly facing slopes. Soils are generally rich in Calcium, but nutritionally very poor, which suits quality grape production. The slopes are key to ripening Sangiovese at this latitude, as it requires intense UV light to attain full ripeness. The altitude also allows for good diurnal temperature variation, which here is important in developing the aromatics of the variety, rather than in preserving the acidity.
The highest altitudes are found in the Chianti Classico zone and the Colli Fiorentini and Rufina zones, whilst altitude gently declines as one moves South and East. Montalcino and Montepulciano at around 250m are lower (and therefore warmer) than Chianti, whilst much of Morellino is at 150-200m (although Scansano itself is at 500m) and also in the South of the region and thus is the warmest inland area. The Maremma (coastal strip) is warmer and heavily influenced by the sea and is largely famous for Sassicaia, Ornellaia and other ‘Super-Tuscans’, made mostly from International varietals which are more suited to this climate.
Sangiovese is the key to most Tuscan wine and traditionally was macerated at relatively warm temperatures and aged in large old oak botti. The 1990s saw increasing amounts of new French oak and smaller barrels being used, which on occasion smothered the aromatics of Sangiovese, although its softening influence helped the wines’ popularity in many markets, especially the USA. More recently, whilst new oak is still in evidence, there has been a shift back towards bigger older barrels and also the introduction of cement and clay vessels for maturation. With rising temperatures, the wines have become riper and more approachable naturally and a more sensitive use of oak has helped aid elegance and complexity. Trebbiano is still the dominant white grape and is mostly made in a clean style but with little character. International varieties are important in Tuscany, with some world leading wines made from Bordeaux varietals in various parts of the region, normally with flashy amounts of new oak and in a very glossy and polished style.
The Sub-regions of Tuscany
The DOC and DOCGs of Tuscany
There are 41 DOCs and 11 DOCGs in Tuscany, many of which are insignificant and rarely used, with many producers preferring the IGT Toscana for wines not from the more recognisable areas. Below are profiles of the most important denominaziones.
Chianti DOCG/Chianti Classico DOCG
Key info: Vineyard area: 213,428 Ha/4,083 Ha (Classico); Varieties permitted: Sangiovese (min70%, 80% for Classico), OARG (max 15% Cabernet Franc or Sauvignon); Production in cases (2018): 7.86 million/2.8 million (Classico)
Chianti encompasses a large area (total production can be up to 900,000 Hl or 10m cases making it the largest DOCG) with the best wines made between Florence and Siena in the heart of Tuscany. The original area centred round Radda, Gaiole and Castellini (the medieval ‘league of Chianti’) and in 1716 the Medici Duke Cosimo III (ruler of Florence) demarcated the area of production of Chianti (arguably the first such legislation) which encompassed the above towns plus Greve and Panzano.
The area was expanded in 1932 and re-named ‘Classico’ and given a separate DOCG. The expansion was mostly to the North and this damagingly allowed in lighter, less ripe wines from the Florentine hills – still a problem to this day. The 1932 legislation also created the 6 Chianti subzones (expanded to 7 in 1996) and the large area for producing basic Chianti.
Of the Chianti subzones, by far the best is Chianti Rufina (a large part of which is owned by Frescobaldi), which can nearly match the quality of Classico, whilst the Colli Fiorentini and Montespertoli also make better than average wines.
After years in the doldrums, basic Chianti quality has improved dramatically over the last 20 years, as steeply rising prices for Classico have filtered down through the system.
Before the 19th Century, Chianti was largely made from Canaiolo and it was only in the late 19th century that Sangiovese came to the fore. Unfortunately, in 1967 when the DOC rules were set, it was decided that 10 to 30 percent would be white grapes (Trebbiano and Malvasia) and it was not until 1984 that this was reduced to a cosmetic 2%. The current regulations for Classico stipulate a minimum 80% Sangiovese and up to 20% other permitted varieties (including cabernet, merlot, Canaiolo etc) and no white grapes are now allowed.
Whilst Classico should be of marked superiority, there is much variation across the region. There has been debate that the Classico zone should be subdivided (as for example the Medoc is) to reflect this.
The main Communes and their characteristics (from South to North) are;
Castelnuovo Berardenga: Powerful, intense yet elegant. Long-lived.
Gaiole: Muscular and intense.
Castellina: Aromatic and less full bodied. Elegant
Radda: Aromatic and subtle. Can be fruitier.
Panzano: Technically part of Greve, but very different. The finest wines of the region with power, finesse and great complexity.
Greve: Slightly clumsy and less complex, but can be attractive in a full bodied way.
San Casciano: Forward and fruity. Plump but a bit one dimensional.
Chianti Classico (at the better estates) is now usually aged at least partly in smaller French oak barrels as opposed to the traditional Slavonian Botte. Some new oak may be used for ‘basic’ wines, but it is normally reserved for Riservas and IGT wines, with the Classico going into second fill barrels. More recent developments have seen bigger and more extracted wines, even at the basic Classico level and an increase in the flavours of new oak, sometimes at the expense of regional expression.
Classico wines must be aged a minimum of 1 year before release. Riserva wines must be aged a minimum of 2 years. In practice better estates age their wines for longer than this. Gran Selezione was a new catagory created in 2014 that has stricter criteria and in theory should represent the pinnacle of production, however this being Italy, several big estates achieved compromises from the original proposals allowing them more latitude in production.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG / Rosso di Montalcino DOC / Sant’Antimo DOC
Key info: Vineyard area: 1,448 Ha (Brunello), 682 Ha (Rosso), 68 Ha (Sant’Antimo); Varieties permitted: Sangiovese 100% (Brunello & Rosso). Any grape authorised in Tuscany may be used for Saint Antimo. The following may be named on the label if at least 85%; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Nero, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc; Production in cases (2018): 778,000 (Brunello), 422,200 (Rosso), 21,900 (Sant’Antimo)
Brunello di Montalcino was ‘Invented’ in 1888 by Ferrucio Biondi-Santi who had isolated a superior clone of Sangiovese which he named the Sangiovese Grosso, or Brunello, after which the wine was named. Wine was certainly made here before and had a high reputation, but Biondi-Santi is credited as the first to bottle it and gave it the name. For years Brunello was Biondi-Santi (they were the only producer until after the war) and established the practice of long cask ageing. Riservas had 5-6 years in wood and were only made in 4 vintages in the first 57 years of production, helping to establish the rarity and legend which led to high prices. By 1970, 25 producers were registered, by 2005 this had jumped to 175 and by 2012 it had reached 258, farming a little under 2,000 Ha. Minimum cask ageing remained at 4 years until 1990, when it was reduced to 3 years and then to 2 years in 1998. The wine must be at least 4 years old before release. With this reduction in time in barrel, new oak has become fashionable. Until 1968 when Biondi-Santi wrote the DOCG regulations, the wine was frequently a blend, however it is now 100% Sangiovese.
The climate here (110km south of Florence) is noticeably warmer and drier than that of Chianti, with a cooling maritime breeze moderating night-time temperatures. Sangiovese reaches its highest ripeness here, regularly exceeding 14% abv. The Northern vineyards are at greater altitudes and on the same Galestro soils as Chianti Classico and tend produce wines of greater aromatic intensity, but less density than those of the south. There is more clay and heat in the South providing greater weight and density. Many producers now have vineyards in both areas and blend them to take advantage of these different characteristics. For some time there has been debate about an official zone or cru system and some vineyard names already carry a price premium, but for the moment there is a status quo.
The Rosso di Montalcino DOC came into existence as a way to ease the cash flow of producers, as the long ageing required for Brunello ties up a lot of capital. Rosso can be released at one year of age and makes up around a third of total production. As the grapes selected for Rosso tend to come from the less tannic and intense vineyards, it has had a beneficial effect on Brunello quality, as well as providing a more accessible style of wine for younger consumption.
Sant’Antimo is a DOC created in 1996 for wine produced in Montalcino from grapes other than Sangiovese. Any varieties authorised for use in Tuscany can be included and selected varieties can be named on the label (Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Nero, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc)
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG / Rosso di Montepulciano DOC
Key info: Vineyard area: 852 Ha (Vino Nobile), 105 Ha (Rosso); Varieties permitted: Sangiovese 70% minimum. Max 30% OARG, max 5% OAWG; Production in cases (2018): 506,000 (Vino Nobile), 65,600 (Rosso)
This pretty hilltop town is located around 30km to the east of Montalcino close to the border with Orvieto in Umbria and has the longest history of fine red wine production in Tuscany. Historically it was made of Sangiovese (here called Prugnolo Gentile) blended with Canaiolo, Mommolo, Trebbiano and Gamay. Since 1999, it has been legal to make the wine from 100% Sangiovese (in practice many of the top producers were already doing this under the counter), with a minimum requirement of 70%, the remainder made up of Tuscan ‘authorised’ red varieties and a small amount of white still allowed. The wine must be aged for 2 years from the January following the vintage and for 3 years to qualify as a Riserva. More new oak has become noticeable in the wines in recent vintages, as has greater purity and cleanliness.
The soils here are quite warm and sandy and altitudes vary from 200m (where the best vineyards tend to be) up to 600m. It is warmer during the growing season than Chianti, though cooler than Montalcino. There are around 170 producers working around the town.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is fuller bodied and more rounded than Chianti, without the density and heaviness of Brunello, characters that led Pope Paul III to describe it as the perfect wine in 1549. It tends to less aromatic intensity than Brunello or Chianti, although the finest producers coax a certain power from their wines. Lacking the prestige of Chianti Classico and Brunello, the wines here sell for less and from the top producers can be notable value.
Mirroring Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, requiring only 12 months ageing before sale, was created in 1989, but it accounts for only around 10% of production.
Morellino di Scansano DOCG
Key info: Vineyard area: 887 Ha; Varieties permitted: Sangiovese 85% minimum, 15% max OARG; Production in cases (2018): 747,000
This is a much less viticulturally intensive area, with vineyards dotted around a large swathe of land running from the town of Scansano, around 90km west of Montalcino, in a South easterly direction down to the border with Lazio. Geographically it is a large DOCG running for near 100km north to south and nearly as fareast to west, however much of this gently rolling countryside is given over to olives, wheat and especially cattle.
The climate here is considerably warmer owing to being further south, closer to the sea and generally at around 200-250m altitude (although Scansano itself is at 500m). This means the grapes ripen in mid-September before the autumn rains arrive, so winemaking is a much easier proposition here. Soils are acidic (unusual for Tuscany), which produces Sangiovese of less aromatic profile. There is no requirement for barrel ageing and the wines must be at least 85% Sangiovese, with a large palette of other black grapes permitted for the remaining 15%. Wines labelled Riserva require 2 years ageing, at least one in wood.
The wines have tended to either a soft fruitiness and markedly lower acid than Chianti, or sometimes a rather foursquare burliness. The last 10 years have seen great improvements with quite full, but now more elegant wines being made, albeit in a softer style than other Tuscan Sangiovese.
Key info: Vineyard area: 117 Ha; Varieties permitted: Sangiovese 50% minimum. Between 10-20% Cabernet (Franc or Sauvignon). Canaiolo Nero 20% maximum. OARG 10% maximum. Malvasia, Trebbiano & Canaiolo Bianco 10% maximum combined; Production in cases (2018): 28,560
The least well known of the Tuscan DOCG’s, but one of the most historic and finest production areas, Carmigiano is located in the North of the region, around 15km to the north-west of Florence. It is relatively small at only 117Ha, which perhaps explains its lack of profile. The altitude is only 50-200m which allows Sangiovese to ripen fully in this relatively northern zone for the variety, however this particular climate gives markedly lower acid and firmer tannins than those of Chianti.
This is the only region of Tuscany to insist on the inclusion of Cabernet, which was traditionally grown in the area long before elsewhere in Tuscany. Wine must be aged 2 years before release (3 for Riserva wines). Barco Real di Carmigiano is a DOC for wines released with a year’s ageing (similar to Rosso di Montalcino).
New oak is now being used, but not to the same extent of other Tuscan regions.
Maremma Toscana DOC
Key info: Vineyard area: 715 Ha; Varieties permitted: For Red and Rosato, Cabernet Sauvignon, Canaiolo Nero, Ciliegiolo, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah; For White, Ansonica, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Sauvignon Blanc, Trebbiano, Vermentino, Viognier; Production in cases (2018): 529,000
Promoted from IGT status in 2011, this DOC covers the large area of the south-west corner of Tuscany, overlapping 12 other denominaziones including Morellino and Monteregio. For such a large area, surprisingly little wine is made under the DOC and it is mostly used for cheaper blends and single varietal wines.
Bolgheri DOC / Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC
Key info: Vineyard area: 893 Ha/71 Ha (Sassicaia); Varieties permitted: For Red and Rosato, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese (max 50%), Syrah (max 50%) OARG (max 30%). Sassicaia must be 80% Cabernet + 20% OARG; For White (Bolgheri only), Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Trebbiano (max 40%), OAWG (max 30%); Production in cases (2018): 543,000/36,560 (Sassicaia)
The Marchesi della Rochetta planted his estate on the Tuscan coast, Tenuta San Guido, with Cabernet in the 1940s to make a house wine, which he christened Sassicaia. The wine was first released commercially in the 1970s to critical acclaim, however it was only labelled a humble vino di tavola which caused some embarrassment to the authorities. This was the first ‘super tuscan’ made outside the rules and others followed rapidly, notably Ornellaia in 1985. The DOC Bolgheri was created in 1983, but bizarrely did not include red wines initially. This was updated in 1994 and red wines were welcomed into the DOC fold, with Sassicaia being awarded its own subzone. Recent years have seen a rash of new properties and the DOC has expanded from just 250 hectares 20 years ago to nearly 1,000 Ha and 50 producers now. The vast majority of wines are based on Bordeaux varietals and whilst average quality is high, prices are often absurd and no wine has yet matched Sassicaia for quality and finesse. This is a hot region and the style is much more muscular and rich than Bordeaux and the wines are often glossy and heavy with new oak.
In 2013, Sassicaia became a separate DOC and thus became the first single estate denominazione in Italy.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG
Key info: Vineyard area: 648 Ha; Varieties permitted: Vernaccia 85% minimum. OANWG max 15%; Production in cases (2018): 398,000
Italy’s first DOC wine, which became DOCG in 1993, made around the hilltop town of San Gimignano around half way between Florence and Siena and 30km to the east. It is made from the highly acidic Vernaccia grape which, whilst more interesting than Trebbiano, rarely achieves distinction. The wine is very crisp with a characteristic bitter finish and tends to be over priced owing to strong demand from the hordes of thirsty tourists who visit this town each summer. Some experimentation has been carried out with barrel ageing, not necessarily with great success.
Key info: Vineyard area: 76 Ha; Varieties permitted: For Red, Merlot, Pinot Nero, Sangiovese; For White, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Trebbiano; Production in cases (2018): 43,400
With vineyards located at up to 700m, this is Tuscany’s highest wine zone and the only one to produce a DOC Pinot Nero, although the best wines tend to be white. This small and high quality DOC is little known despite production being almost completely controlled by the house of Frescobaldi. This is one of the few places in Tuscany cool enough to make fine white and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, both of which can be made as a single varietal under the DOC, can be particularly fine.
Vin Santo (six DOCs exist, del Chianti, del Chianti Classico, di Carmigiano, di Montepulciano, Colli dell’Etruria Centrale & Val d’Arbio) plus much is made as an IGT.
Key info: Vineyard area: Around 145 Ha throughout Chianti, although an exact number is difficult to determine; Varieties permitted: For Red, Sangiovese; For White, Malvasia & Trebbiano plus Grechetto (Montepulciano only); Production in cases (2018): Around 35,000 cases are made in the Chianti and Classico zones, with the same again made elsewhere.
Vin Santo (holy wine) is the great Tuscan speciality now made in small quantities throughout the central Tuscan hills. Most is white but a small amount of pale red is made, called Occhio di Pernice (eye of the Partridge). There are four DOCs for vin santo with broadly similar rules. Grapes must be air dried on straw mats, usually until after Christmas, with minimum sugar of the expressed juice reaching around 270 g/l (in practice it is usually much higher). Wines must be matured in small barrels for a minimum of 2-3 years depending on DOC (and again they are often left much longer). Riservas must have 4 or 5 years in barrel. These barrels are never topped up, so some ullage and oxidative ageing occurs, giving the characteristic orange hue to the wines and the nutty rancio aromas. The finished wine can vary from dry through to very sweet, although most common is a wine of noticeable sweetness rather than unctuousness. Whilst many have high volatile acidity, shown by aromas of nail polish, the best are a superb contemplative drink.
Tuscany produces around 29 million cases of wine each year out of a national total of 547 million. This is a region with a focus on quality with just under two thirds of this made as denominazione wine and only 12% as table wine (way below the national average). Many of the DOPs are relatively compact with the exception of Chianti which is the third biggest DOP in Italy and accounts for over 25% of Tuscany’s production. There are 23,000 companies involved in wine production in Tuscany, most of which are small and just 18% of wine is made in co-operatives (against a national average of over 50%) The wines are widely exported and Tuscany accounts for 38% of all Italian red wine exports (and 11% of all exports). Total exports are worth around €926 million, with 80% of these DOP quality, with DOP exports growing over 50% in the last decade. The biggest export markets are USA (32% share) and Germany (18%). Other EU countries (notably the UK) take 39% between them, whilst Canada, Russia & China are all significant and growing. Domestic sales have also been growing steadily over the past 5 years, although mostly at the lower end of the market. Denominaziones that have seen notable growth in the last 3 years include Chianti Classico (+471%) and IGP Toscana (+275%).
1997: Highly hailed at the time, a lack of freshness has made it less special with age, although great wines do exist.
1998: Difficult year with mixed quality. Tested the skill of the estate – the best did very well.
1999: Fine vintage. Very ripe, but with freshness and finesse. The best are brilliant now.
2000: Hot and dry vintage that produced rich and ripe wines attractive when young, now faded mostly.
2001: Average quality and small quantity. Rarely seen now.
2002: Wet, dismal. Avoid.
2003: Hot day and night. Jammy alcoholic wines that lacked balance. Not much pleasure left now.
2004: A brilliant year throughout the region.
2005: Less good here than in much of Europe. Some good wines, but few greats
2006: Fine year with classic and well balanced wines. Drinking beautifully now.
2007: A great vintage, especially in Chianti. Also fine on the coast.
2008: Cool vintage initially thought average and for lesser wines, it is. Top sites and cuvées are, however, superb and very age worthy. Fine on the coast.
2009: Very hot year. Cooler nights kept acidity in the wines, but the fruit profiles are quite cooked. Very good year if you like the style, but probably better young and most should be consumed by now.
2010: A cooler year with a hot July, the finished wines from the hills are outstanding and candidates for long ageing. Potentially legendary. The coast was less good, although Bolgheri fared well.
2011: Hot, hot, hot. Big, rich, alcoholic. Not without charm, but probably best to drink sooner rather than later
2012: Hot and dry, yet the wines are surprisingly elegant and fresh. Good to very good, although tannins can be a touch austere.
2013: A very good vintage, outstanding in Montalcino. Richness and freshness combined. Excellent in Bolgheri.
2014: Cool and wet with severe disease pressure. Dry and sunny September and October saved a disaster, but most wines lack depth. Good producers made pretty wines for earlier consumption. Better on the coast, but not much.
2015: Hot and dry summer with smaller yields produced very concentrated fruit and some exceptionally good wines. It was hard to make bad wine this year (though I am sure some did).
2016: A great vintage of wines with finesse, fine aromatics and power. Top class and possibly even better than the previous vintage.
2017: Frost reduced the crop and a hot summer sizzled it. Wines can be concentrated and plump, but tannin management was crucial and some are a bit hard and angular.
2018: A very good vintage, cooler than some recently and wines have a pleasing freshness and texture to them.
2019: First signs are this could be an exceptional year.