Tuscany: Served Well Chilled

The rolling hills of Tuscany may be top of your list for summer holidays but when was the last time you thought about a glass of Tuscan wine for summertime drinking?

Whilst the region might be best known for smooth, barrel-aged Chianti or blockbuster Super Tuscans, more suitable for a wild boar ragu or doorstep-sized Bistecca Fiorentina on a cold winter’s day, Tuscany is also home to lighter reds, crisp whites and rosés which fill the brief for those much needed summer drinking window.

Tuscany’s wide, varied coastal region has it’s own designated production area: IGT Costa Toscana, created in 2010 to allow producers to differentiate between the temperate, Mediterranean-influenced vineyards and the more extreme temperature changes further inland which fall under the IGT Toscana zone.

Vermentino is Tuscany’s white varietal of choice, also produced in Sardinia, Umbria and Liguria, and going by the name of Rolle in Southern France. For any Sauvignon Blanc fans out there (and we know there are a few) it has some similarities: think green fruit or grapefruit, some richness mid-palate and a citrusy finish. The rosé wines tend to be blends of Sangiovese, in a classic pale, dry style with a hint more fruit flavour. Piccini’s Organic Costa Toscana Rosato blends 10% Syrah with the Sangiovese, macerating the juice on the skins for a very short period, resulting in that sought-after Provence rosé hue.

If the mere mention of the Med has you dreaming about supping rosé by the pool, spare a thought for lighter red wines. As with other mostly red wine producing regions (Rioja for example), Tuscany has a red wine for every occasion, and in the summer months you’re just as likely to find the locals sipping a very lightly chilled red wine at the end of a hot day.

Sangiovese is, by nature. a thin skinned grape, producing lightly coloured red wines with soft, smooth tannins and bright cherry fruit flavours. You’ll usually find Sangiovese with some form of oak and/or bottle ageing, as with Chianti, but the young, unoaked wines, such as Piccini’s Mario Primo, are intensely fruity, easygoing styles – perfect chilled on a hot day. So now all we need is a summer…