Livorno province is primarily known for Bolgheri, in particular for Sassicaia wine that has its own DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia. Nowadays many estates in commune of Castagneto Carducci consider as an honour to produce wines under prestigious Bolgheri appellations. It hasn’t been always like that though…
For years the Tuscan coast between Livorno and Grosseto was considered to be a no man’s land in terms of vine cultivaton and winemaking. Only few estates were producing wines here and they never succeeded to come out of Chianti producers’ shadow. The fertile areas of Arno’s delta and the coastal plain were already taken up with other forms of agriculture. Mountainsides were covered with macchia - a dense scrub common to the coasts of the Meditterranean. In fact, the area’s climatic conditions and types of soil are extremely well-suited to growing good red wines.
One of the first, who started to show his interest to this land in terms of fine wine was Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who moved to his estate San Guido after marriage with Clarice della Gherardesca. His friendship to Rothschild family helped to transport Cabernet seedlings from Bordeaux to Bolgheri in the middle of last century. It took a long way to go as the first commercial success came almost 40 years after. Later on the others like Grattamacco and Ornellaia cemented the success of this unique territory.
Today the whole region is also known as ‘little Bordeaux’ for the successfull cultivation of its main varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. There is also some Syrah and Sangiovese around. The most of Bolgheri producers have at least one-two reds made with Sangiovese – it is to bring the Tuscan character into their product range. All of that fine-wine action initiated in the Bolgheri zone decades ago revitalized the entire coastal region, known as Maremma.
Going to the south from Bolgheri you will reach Val di Cornia - it is the second production zone of Livorno province, which has started to gain international attention. The area is composed by the scenic valley and slopes of the hills surrounding it near the towns of Campiglia Marittima and Suvereto. Piombino promontory forms its coastal frontier on the west, where it is framed by sandy beaches of gulfs Baratti and Follonica.
Local reds are often made as a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Mono-varietal wines made of these three varieties are also allowed by DOC. Whites include light- to medium-bodied wines made from Vermentino and Trebbiano, complemented with other white varieties. There are also producers, who during recent years delivered exceptional red wines labelled as IGT or even Vino da Tavola.
The place were strong wine-making traditions existed long time ago is Elba island, which is a pearl of Livorno province. It is not only fantastic travel destination, which is known for its amazing blue lagoons, sandy beaches and Napoleon’s museum (Napoleon spent almost one year in exile to this beautiful corner of untouched insular nature), but also for its Aleatico dell’Elba - inimitable red dessert wine, which characterises diversity and singularity of the Tuscan coast at its best.
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