When wine writers discuss terroir they usually look to Burgundy or Bordeaux for examples, but Tuscany may produce some of the most convincing displays of terroir in action. Why does a Merlot or Cabernet grown in Tuscany taste like no other Merlot or Cabernet in the world? It simply tastes Tuscan—there’s a meaty, mouthwateringly savory quality to Tuscan reds that cannot be replicated in any other viticultural area.
For example, Tuscany’s most prestigious wine, Brunello di Montalcino, has this savory quality in spades. Meanwhile, some of the finest Super-Tuscans (made from international varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and others) from districts such as Bolgheri or Sant’Antimo may have more weight and heft than Sangiovese, but the Tuscan terroir provides a common link. There are refreshing whites made here, such as Vermentino or Vernacchia di San Gimignano, but make no mistake—this is red wine country.