Starting from the North and moving down to the South, the first winemaking province of the Tuscan coast is Massa Carrara.
The word carrara means marble and it is for beautiful white marble that the region has been famous since Roman times, long before Michelangelo quarried here. Massa and Carrara are the co-capitals of the province, both nestling in the foothills of the alps. The town of Massa used to be a resting place for pilgrims en route from France to Rome.
The province of Massa Carrara has also become an attractive touristic destination, thanks to the "Tuscan Riviera", stretching along the coast and guarded behind by the Alpi Apuane.
Wine has been produced here for centuries; later the region became noticeable primarily for its white wines. Here, at the foot of the Alpi Apuane lies the Colli di Luni DOC, a continuation of the Ligurian wine range. Some part of this area’s Vermentino based whites are made by Tuscan winegrowers, who caught on to the trend of this variety being able to produce fruity and well balanced wines inside this interregional appellation. This DOC is a token of respect to the old winemaking traditions of this land, as well as to winegrowers’ efforts in recent years.
The whites of Candia dei Colli Apuani, on the other hand remained almost unknown outside the region until recent times. This production area extends over the slopes of the hills around the towns of Massa and Carrara. Viticulture has been practiced here since the earliest times and agriculture in general has been always impotant for the community. Italian historian Emanuele Repetti, in describing the products of the Massa hills in his Dizionario, published in 1832, refers to "the vines set out on terraces". In some XIX century reports describing local wine’s vinification and grape varieties, it is stated that the largest percentage was supplied by Vermentino.
Today Massa Carrara has become Tuscany’s northern frontier for amazing winemaking experiments: starting with successful cultivation of formerly unpopular indigenous grape varieties and finishing with non-traditional vinification techniques. Usual success of white Vermentino is complemented with recent recognition of red wines made with Canaiolo Nero and Barsaglina. Blends of local Vermentino Nero with other varieties like traditional Sangiovese look very convincing showing excellent drinkability and aromatic freshness.
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