The small and appealing city of Lucca is the province's capital. Founded by Etruscans, it later became a Roman colony in 180 BC. Early Roman presence accounts for Lucca’s rectangular street plan, while its elegant 10 meter high town wall, surrounding the historical center of the city, dates back to XVI-XVII centuries, when it was raised for protection from Lucca’s main enemies: Florence and Pisa. In the early XIX century, the city had a strong Napoleonic influence, when it was taken over by him in 1805 and his sister Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi installed as “Queen of Etruria”.
Today this Tuscan province is also famous for its coastal towns Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, the brightest gems of the“Tuscan Riviera”.
It is impossible to imagine anything Tuscan without wine, and anything "great Tuscan" with great Tuscan wine. This thesis holds true for Lucca as well, thanks to the fact that the quality of Luccan winemaking has achieved the level of it's neighbours, moreover there are benchmarks already.
In Lucca province the main production is concentrated in Colline Lucchesi DOC and around Montecarlo (not to be confused with the capital of Monaco). Colline Lucchesi wines were almost unknown outside Luccan winebars and vinotheques before some bright “Tenuta di Valgiano”-like stars rose above Luccan hills. Nevertheless, the attractive hilly landscape surrounding the city of Lucca seems to have been destined since the beginning to the cultivation of the vine. Viticulture has, in fact, been practiced in this area since the era of the Etruscans.
Nowadays traditional Sangiovese is a widely planted variety here. Most of the time it achieves perfect ripeness and is therefore used as the main component for quality wines, allowing to label them with Colline Lucchesi DOC. In these wines Sangiovese is normally complemented by Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo and/or Merlot.
Montecarlo was always better-known – at least among connoisseurs – perhaps thanks to its unconventional white wines, though they are native to a more inland area. Here, the neutral Trebbiano grape is enhanced by the addition of other interesting varieties like Semillon or Pinot Bianco which give the wines a certain terroir character. Some producers have gone even further producing top-quality monovarietal whites with Chardonnay and reds with Syrah, labeled with Toscana IGT.
In ancient times Montecarlo was founded for warlike purposes, separating the Nievole River valley from the Plain of Lucca, but today it is an oasis of tranquillity, with vast expanses of vineyards and olive groves extending outwards from the town as far as the eye can see. These vineyards are the source of Montecarlo wine.
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