Tuscany, Barolo

Tuscany is the oldest wine region in Italy, with a long history dating back over 2700 years. The region is on the Western coast of Italy, stretching from the coastline of the Tyrrhenian Sea all the way to the Apennine mountains, with the majority of the region being quite hilly.

Contributing to around 6% of Italy's total wine output, Tuscany is the third most planted region, but only the eight biggest producer. Much of this can be attributed to the hilly terroir and poor soils leading to lower yields, but generally higher quality wines. The region produces far more red than white wine, and is responsible for two of the most famous Italian red wines, Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.

Chianti was first classified in 1716, and the region of Tuscany now has 29 DOC and 7 DOCG classifications. In the 1970s 'Super Tuscan' wines emerged of supreme quality, commanding very high prices. Although they were initially produced outside the DOC or DOCG zones, most of the regions have since been classified, though some producers still opt to use the simpler and less restrictive IGT labelling.

The famous red wine Chianti is based on the the Sangiovese variety, though is most commonly blended with Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. The blending of multiple grapes is common, even Bordeaux blends can be found. White wines produced include Vermentino, Vernaccia, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay.
One of Italy’s most prestigious wine regions often referred to as “the Burgundy of Italy”. The now DOCG status region is renowned for producing some of Italy's finest red wines from 100% Nebbiolo.

The appellation of Barolo is located in the south of the state of Piedmont in the very north-west of Italy. The town of Barolo for which the region is named is located in the Monferrato foothills, which are a set of picturesque rolling hillsides and bordered to the north and west by the Tanaro River. The whole region sits about half-way between the major port of north-west Italy, Genoa to the south-east, and capital city Turin to the north-west. The heart of the Barolo vineyard zone, established in 1896, covers the parishes of Castiglione Falletto, Monforte d’Alba, La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba and Barolo itself, and is supplemented by parts of the townships of Novello, Verduno and Grinzane Cavour, added in 1934 to the official regional classification, and then by Diano d’Alba, Cherasco and Roddi added in 1966.

The wines made are typically fragrant and tannic with a depth of flavour and finesse like no other earning them the coveted title of ‘the King of Wines’ for centuries. Winemaking practices vary within the defined methods that the DOCG allows but there is a distinct modern and traditional divide in preferred styles.

The region has two major soil types - a sandy Tortonian marl producing a softer wine and a Helvetian sandstone clay that is known for a more robust style. The continental climate, with a long summer and late autumn enables the fickle grape to reach the perfect ripeness to create these stunning wines.

Records show that Nebbiolo has been grown in Piedmont since at least the 13th century, though despite this long history and the high quality of the wines it can produce, it is not grown in many other wine regions. For the grape grower and winemaker, making great wine out of Nebbiolo is a balancing act; it naturally possesses an incredibly high amount of acidity, and the thick skins transfer a huge amount of thick, chalky tannins into the wine. Balancing these two elements, as well as enticing out the enchanting ‘tar and roses’ notes from the grapes is the key to good Nebbiolo.
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  1. ONLINE TASTING PACK - ITALIAN WINE FROM NORTH TO SOUTH, 4 WEEK COURSE

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