Few wine producing countries have undergone as drastic a change as Italy. It fell into the doldrums in the late 19th and mid-20th century, only to be re-ignited in the, late 70s, 80s and 90s, by producing modern variations on traditional wines. Like Italy its wine making is regionally focused and their most prestigious regions for fine wine are Piedmont and Tuscany.
Records of winemaking in Tuscany date back from the 7th century BC. Chianti’s main grape variety Sangiovese means blood of Jove, and it is also the grape variety used in Brunello di Montalcino, just south of Chianti. The climate here is warmer and drier, making wines that are riper with a higher alcohol content. The most controversial style of wine in Italy are the Super Tuscans, named to denote all Tuscan wines that do not conform to traditional Tuscan winemaking practices. The main reason for breaking convention was the use of international (predominately Bordeaux blends) grape varieties and they offer an excellent alternative to Bordeaux.
Most Super-Tuscans are found on the coast in or near to Bolgheri, which benefits from the mediating influence of the Tyrrhenian Sea, making the conditions similar to Bordeaux.