Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT
Colli della Toscana Centrale is a key Italian IGT/IGP title which covers, as its name implies, the hills (colli) of central Tuscany. Wines marketed under the title can be red, white or rosé in colour.
Rosso, Bianco and Rosato blends can feature a wide range of varieties. More than 15 different varieties are permitted for varietal and dual varietal wines.
White wines may be made in still or frizzante form. Chardonnay or Vernaccia are among the most common white grapes.
In practice, the majority of wines are dry reds. These are made from the classic Tuscan varieties (most obviously Sangiovese), in combination with internationally famous French grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
The hills known as the colli della Toscana centrale form the main production area for Chianti. It is not surprising, then, that many of the IGT Rosso wines bear more than a passing resemblance to Italy's most famous red wine DOCG.
As is the case with the Alta Valle della Greve zone, a number of local producers use the IGT category's stylistic flexibility to experiment with variations on the Chianti theme. A good example of this is the blending of extra proportions of Merlot and/or Syrah with Sangiovese.
The area covered by this IGT title is relatively large. This is particularly so when compared to the neighbouring Alta Valle della Greve IGT zone. It spreads into five of the provinces that make up the Toscana region.
The landscape in this area is, by definition, classic Tuscany. Rolling, vineyard lined hills disappearing into the hazy distance, punctuated by neat rows of cypress trees or a pink-roofed town. The climate is characterised by warm, bright sunny days throughout the summer, but cold, harsh winters.
A comprehensive mixture of producers feature Colli della Toscana Centrale wines in their portfolio. This ranges from cooperatives (both large and small) to small scale boutique wineries and the region's bigger, better-known producers.
Prices and quality vary greatly too. The title's cheapest wines can be bought for just a few euros, but the most respected bottlings fetching well north of $100 on the United States market.