The western part of Tuscany, known as the Maremma region, is a quiet place, surrounded as it is by rugged nature. But the wine scene here is anything but quiet. Super Tuscans produced and bottled in the region took the wine world by storm decades ago, and these international blends didn’t follow DOC or DOCG rules or regulations. Even so, the high quality of the wines changed things, and a DOC designation was created for Bolgheri red wines in the early 1990s.
Of these wines, Sassicaia is the best known Super Tuscan, but with its price tag — don’t be surprised to see it on store shelves in the U.S. for over $200 — there are other just as big and bold, but less pricy, wines to try. In fact, many of the less costly wines are highly regarded, and not just because they’ve been rewarded 90+ points. They’re just not as well known.
You’ll find some of these wines at the esteemed Tenuta Argentiera wine estate, which is home to one of our cooking classes during our trip Truly Tuscany: Wine Tasting Tour on Tuscany’s Western Coast, and which is operated by two brothers just a stone’s throw from the sea.
The sea, in fact, naturally affects the quality of the grapes and in turn the wines. Pair that sea air with the quality of the soil — affected by the area’s natural springs and silver mines — and the tannins in the Tenuta Argentiera’s wines are not as aggressive, creating a softer wine, compared to some of the area’s counterparts. (The estate’s high altitude — higher than any other winery in the area — also makes a difference). For those that say the wines of the Maremma lack the terroir of Tuscany, they clearly have never tasted the wines at Tenuta Argentiera.
During our vacation Truly Tuscany wine tasting tour, guests have a full day at this expansive and prestigious winery. After a hands-on cookery course, explore the vineyard and see a bit about how the make their wine with hand-picked grapes, such as how, after the grapes are sorted, they fall into the vilification cellar underground.
Want to know more about Bolgheri wines? Come join us on our Truly Tuscany cooking vacation and wine tasting tour, which includes 4 nights of accommodations at the charming property of Villa Le Luci, local excursions, and more.
By Liz Hall
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