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The Wine in Tuscany

19 June 2017

Tuscan Wines – From the grape to the bottle

Tuscany, as we know, produces some very high quality wines. Its hills are covered in vineyards, one of the oldest forms of farming in Italy and nowhere else can boast such a wide variety of wines. Here you can taste the best of the red wines from the Chianti, the Brunello of Montalcino, the Vino Nobile of Montepulciano and the Carmignano or the Morellino of Scansano, just to mention some of those known worldwide, or the freshest of white wines, like the Vernaccia of San Gimignano, the Pomino, the Ansonica or the Elba wines. The wine making process obviously varies from wine to wine but is usually based on two methods, one for the reds and one for the whites. Here we would like to give a rough idea on what happens to the grapes, from the time they are picked to the moment the wine bottle is uncorked on the table, and discover the particular characteristics of both processes. Red wine is made by allowing the grapes to ferment with the pips and stalks. Once the first main fermenting process is over, the wine is drawn off from the vats. The first decanting takes place at the beginning of the winter, in order to separate the wine from its natural residue. A second decanting takes place in the early spring when the stability and clarity of the new wine is controlled, though it must still be left to mature for a little longer before being opened at the table. Young wines should be served at room temperature, with the bottle opened at the moment of drinking, while vintage wines are characterized by a much stronger alcohol content. Harsh and bitter to begin with, they become harmonious and pleasant in time and can be kept without any problems for over 15 years, if the bottles are kept lying down in a cool dark cellar. The bottle should be opened a few minutes before serving and half an hour beforehand if a vintage wine. The older vintages should be poured before serving into special decanters to separate the wine from the naturally formed grounds. The process for making white wine differs mainly from that used for the reds by the fact that the solid parts, or grape pips and stalks, are not left to ferment with the must. In this way the wine does not absorb tannins or substances that can give it color, This is why white wines can also be made with black grapes: they only require a gentle pressing, when the pips and stalk are immediately separated from the must, and thus do not absorb any color. Nowadays, by picking the grapes earlier and allowing the must to ferment at a controlled temperature, it is possible to obtain lively and scented wines with a lower alcoholic content than in the past. The white wines mature fairly quickly and are ready only a short time after harvesting. We advise you to drink them at once to appreciate their initial freshness and fragrance. The bottles can be kept in a cool dark place from between one to three years… ( from ` A taste of Florence ` )


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