Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Bolgheri: fairytale village of wine

Tucked away in the Tuscan coastal hillsides is the village of Bolgheri. The approach, along a 5km cypress-lined boulevard, may be grand, but the village itself is tiny. Most of it was built by one family – the Gherardescas, whose coat of arms still proudly hangs in the village, under the watchful eye of their castle (yes, this is a tiny village, with a castle). 
It’s a charming village in its own right, but Bolgheri’s main claim to fame is its wine. Like many of the vineyards on the Etruscan coast, those surrounding Bolgheri make some of Tuscany’s best vintages. So special are these wines, that the region attempted to break with traditional DOC definitions in the 1960s and launched its own premium category known as ‘Super Tuscan’. These mighty reds rivaled some of Bordeaux’s finest. 
However, with so many vineyards in the area, the phrase ‘Super Tuscan’ quickly became confusing, resulting in key winemakers returning to traditional classification, and securing a DOC of their very own to proudly display on the bottle.