|Ian D'Agata's Native Wine Grapes of Italy
However, beginning around the 1970s, wineries from Tuscany started releasing wines blended with or made 100% from international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. These fleshier wines, contrasting with the leaner and more subtle local wines made from Sangiovese and Canaiolo, proved to be a hit in the export markets, notably the US, thus leading to many more Tuscan wineries, big and small, planting at least some international varieties over the past 30 years.
My recent visit to Chianti, it seems, revealed a reversal of the trend.
|Poggiotondo, with abundant seashells in the soil (foreground)
|44th Expo del Chianti Classico
Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay may be noble, but I think the world has more than enough of them. Italy has the fortune of having probably the most varieties of indigenous grapes that would probably not thrive outside their native country. Wine lovers are lucky that Italian winemakers are rediscovering them rather than abandoning them. The wine world would be a lot duller without them.