Tuscany is world-famous for its wines with areas like Chianti and Siena, that have so many traditional wineries you can choose from. For your destination wedding in Tuscany, going with local wines and liquors is probably your best option, as their high-quality taste will become an unmissable part of your Tuscan wedding experience. Let’s discover everything about the amazing Tuscan wines with this extensive guide!
Before you start choosing the wine for your wedding ceremony, you should know that DOC and DOCG are two quality classifications:
– DOC – Denomination of Controlled Origin;
– DOCG – Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin. This category is more restrictive, these wines are checked even more thoroughly by specialized government staff.
Both indicate standards in terms of production area, grape varieties, color, alcohol levels and range of maturation techniques.
DOCG wines may have two additional classifications:
– “Classico” is for wines produced in the region where that type of wine has been produced traditionally. – “Riserva” is for wines with a longer ageing period.
Tuscany has 42 DOC and 11 DOCG wines.
Now that you know your terms, let’s discover the main wine producing areas in Tuscany.
This wine comes from the most famous wine area of Tuscany between Florence and Siena located in a landscape rich in history and picturesque rolling hills.
Sangiovese (at least 70%) is the vine from which you should start to obtain the great Chianti.
Chianti was actually one of the first wines to ever be exported from Italy in short bottles in a straw basket that is called “fiasco”. Apparently a comic actor in the Middle Ages decided to bring this kind of bottle to the scene with him but his monologue was so boring, he got nothing but whistles. Since then, being unsuccessful at something means a “fiasco” in several languages.
San Gimignano is a small town near Siena that gives its name to the most famous Tuscan white wine: Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Tuscany’s only white wine to reach DOCG status.
Vernaccia grape type has been so famous it was even mentioned in Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. The wine is made up almost exclusively of Vernaccia grapes.
The resulting wine is an amber-colored white, full-bodied and with floral notes.
You can read more about San Gimignano in this blog post.
Montalcino is a small village of Etruscan origin in the province of Siena, that produces Brunello di Montalcino – one of the country’s most beloved DOCG wines made up of only Sangiovese grapes that age for at least four years, two on them in oak barrels.
Brunello in Italian means “little dark one”. This wine is deeply colored, full-bodied, it tastes of berry, and has notes of vanilla and spice.
Montepulciano is another small village of Etruscan origin on the border with Umbria where the winemaking dates back to the Etruscans.
It produces world famous wines like Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano and Vin Santo di Montepulciano, all high quality oenological products.
The main grape variety here is a kind of Sangiovese called “Prugnolo Gentile”. There must be at least 80% of it to create the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
There are also other regions that produce wine in Tuscany, from Elba island and Grosseto regions to the young ones, like Val d’Orcia that obtained the DOC recognition in 2000.
Choosing a good wine is completely subjective and depends on your taste but there are some characteristics that can help you pick the ideal wine for your Tuscan wedding.
Sweetness, acidity, tannin, and alcohol represent four of the major components of wine.
Balance is the relationship between these four components to one another.
Tannin and acidity are hardening elements in a wine (they make a wine taste firmer), while alcohol and sugar are softening elements.
The main indicator of quality is the balance of a wine. It is made by the interrelationship of the hard and the soft aspects. We say the wine is balanced when nothing sticks out, such as harsh tannin, too much alcohol or sweetness.
What if you are not a sommelier and you have no idea how to measure all these indicators? Don’t worry, nowadays it is really difficult to find a bottle of wine in Tuscany that wouldn’t be of the highest quality.
Choose the wine that fulfills your taste preferences and go with it for your big day!
If your wedding ceremony is in summer, you might prefer some soft, white wines. For spring or autumn, go with red full-bodied wines, like Montepulciano or Chianti.
In the classic pairing, you normally look for the concordance or affinity between the wine and dish. For this reason, the body of the wine must go hand in hand (or even be slightly lower) with the persistence of the dish so as not to overwhelm the food. This is why we eat meat with red wine and fish with white wine.
But you can also use the principle of contraposition, according to which the wine is chosen as an opposite combination to the dish. More acid wines can be served to “degrease” and to contrast foods having a certain fatty component like cheese. Wines with more tannin are used to “dry” succulent dishes like grilled meat. Wines with little acidity can be used to contrast the sapidity or the acid tendency of certain foods and so on.
Consider using a rosé wine for an aperitif before the dinner, prosecco for the speech, spumante for the cake, and typical liquors like grappa or Amari for the open bar after the dinner.
Every wine has its moment and you don’t necessarily have to choose only one or a few.
My best advice is to follow your taste, whatever you like, dry or sweet, soft or full-bodied, Muscat or bubbles, Tuscany has something for every taste.
If all this wine talk made you crave for Italian food too, check this blog post, where an actual Tuscan chef Alessio Sedran shares his best recipes for a romantic Italian dinner you can make at home right now!
Which is your favorite Tuscan wine? Let me know in the comments!