The unconventional and outstanding from the Tuscan Masters

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Having tasted all the entries in this year’s Tuscan Masters, I’ve picked out some of the more unconventional wines that surprised and impressed me, in the hope that they will have the same effect on you.

The Valadorna vineyard in Chianti Classico, where Merlot is planted to produce the top expression from IGT Toscana brand Arcanum

The Tuscan Masters included all styles and regions from this famous wine-producing part of Italy, including reds from Montepulciano, Montalcino, Bolgheri and Chianti Classico, along with whites and rosatos, and a range of samples classed as IGT Toscana, primarily due to their use of international grapes – as opposed to the native varieties of this area, above all Sangiovese.

And while many of the classic Sangiovese-based wines from Tuscany took home the top scores, there was also a slew of samples taking a more atypical approach that wowed, often employing French grapes to create something a little bit different, while remaining distinctive and delicious.

Indeed, it is the combination of Tuscany’s ability to yield both classically-style wines and more modern examples that makes the area exciting, especially when the results are great, whatever the approach.

Hence, one can expect reds and whites with a typically Italian food-friendly finesse – that characteristic medium-weight feel, and bitter-sweet appeal – along with wines that show more weight, extract, and power, but not, I should stress, so much richness that they become tiring to drink.

For now, I have made a selection of those wines that could be classed as more contemporary in style, either because they are fresh styles of white or rosé, or due to their use of fashionable grapes, such as Chardonnay or Cabernet.

The choices below will be followed by a complementary list, featuring the established regions and classic wines from the Tuscan Masters 2019.

The wines were judged over the course of one day at Les 110 de Taillevent in London on 11 July by myself, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Jonathan Pedley MW and Matthieu Longuère MS.


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