Italy: Tuscany

Montalcino and Montepulciano

Heartland for classic reds from Sangiovese
By Michèle Shah

This Guide was last updated on 28 April 2011
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Main grape varieties


Brunello (Sangiovese)
The local name given to Sangiovese in Montalcino, producing tannic, structured, age-worthy wines of great complexity.

Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese)
The name given to the local variety of Sangiovese of Montepulciano, and the main variety in Nobile wines.

Canaiolo Nero
Also known simply as Canaiolo, this is used with Sangiovese in a blend for Rosso di Montalcino, and in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano often to give a greater aromatic appeal.

This variety, once prominent in central Italy, has been revived and is used in blended and varietal reds to give colour and aromas. It also ripens earlier and adds body and roundness to the wine.

This variety lends a telling bouquet of violets to Montepulciano wines.

International variety marked by soft tannins and intense colour. It is often used in blends but also as a single varietal wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon
International variety which produces structured wines with herbaceous aromas, especially when youthful. Used mainly in blends.

Shiraz (Syrah)
International variety with a spicy character and usually medium- to full-bodied. Used both in blends and as a single varietal wine.


Trebbiano Toscano
The most widespread white in central Italy giving straightforward fruity wines, which is quite neutral in character – it is the basis for many dry white blends and is also used for Vin Santo.

Malvasia Bianca
Often used in blends with Trebbiano, providing more richness and flavour. Used for dry whites and Vin Santo.

Mainly Umbrian variety used here occasionally as part of the blend for Vin Santo.

Sauvignon Blanc
International variety with aromatic quality mainly used for single varietal wines.

International variety with fresh, aromatic quality that can produce well-structured, ageworthy wines. Mainly used for single varietal wines.

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