There is truth in Tuscan wine, but to find it, you have to pass through the crowds of tourists and duck under the hype of celebrities. Look to the historic sites—the vineyards long known to produce expressive wine. And ask a farmer. Some of those farmers, in fact, may be celebrities. Some may be wealthy businessmen lured to a Sienese hill town by its promise of agrarian life. But if they farm the right land with an honest intent, the result will quickly explain why so much hype surrounds this place and these wines.
Our Tuscan tastings focused on sangiovese in its varied expressions from Chianti Classico to Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Stephanie Johnson, our Italian wine editor, worked with our panelists to find honest expressions of the Tuscan hills, whether light reds for summer or deep sangioveses to lay in for warmth later in the year. —Joshua Greene
This 50-year-old estate in Gaiole earned high scores in our blind tastings in the Annata, Riserva and Gran Selezione categories. Stephanie Johnson caught up with their winemaker, Alessandro Campatelli, about the changes he’s instituted at this estate.
In the Heights
Stephanie Johnson heads to Tuscany’s Radda, where high altitudes create elegant and distinctive Chianti Classicos.
Sangiovese is for all seasons! Here’s a family recipe for Tuscan braised beef from Monica Bernardoni of La Bottega di Giovanni in Radda in Chianti. Open a Brunello a few hours before the peppery braise comes out of the oven and warm up a cold winter’s night.
Summer means tomato season, so seize the moment with tomato passata, a tomato purée that locks in their peak season flavor, perfect alongside a Chianti. Elaine Kim Heide talked to canning expert April McGreger for some tips on this technique.