Tuscany has long been Sangiovese country, its hillsides and valleys offering a mix of elevations, exposures and microclimates for Italy's most widely planted grape variety to thrive. Yet most of the top wines from recent vintages are not based on Sangiovese but made primarily from international varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These bottlings, known as super Tuscans, are grown both in the Tuscan heartland of Chianti Classico and Montalcino and the coastal areas of Bolgheri and Maremma, where it is too warm and low-lying to ensure top-quality Sangiovese. Though this may come as a surprise, it is indicative of Tuscany's split personality. Wine Spectator's Bruce Sanderson explains.
From the Oct 31, 2014, issue