To go through a wine trail like the Etruscan's coast trail gives you the opportunity to visit charming medieval villages, vineyards and olive groves immersed in an unspoilt hilly landscape not far away from "Blue Flag" beaches. Visiting the wine cellars and tasting the local wines your will learn more about the territory itself and taste a little bit of real Tuscany.
The project of the wine trails has the aim of promoting each specific wine producing area, in terms of praising their peculiar characteristics, as long as each wine’s features is directly related with the territory, the soil and the way it is produced. One of these trails, called Costa degli Etruschi, crosses a wine producing are of four great Tuscan wines along the coast. The wines are: BOLGHERI D.O.C. - MONTESCUDAIO D.O.C. - VAL DI CORNIA D.O.C. and ELBA D.O.C.
The term D.O.C means Origin Denomination Control, this is an Italian rule that protects the wine’s denomination and production area, to avoid mixture and wrong presentation. In this sense, a Bolgheri D.O.C. wine can only be a wine with its whole process from the cultivation to the final bottleling has been made in the Bolgheri area.
Along this route, the local wineries have also created their own wines, without controlled denomination but of high quality. Those wines have been called by anglo-saxons experts “Supertuscans”. The first one to be called “Supertuscan” was the wine Sassicaia, produced in Bolgheri, based on the use of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot (French varieties). In Italy these wines are known as I.G.T. – Typical geographic indication which indicates the production area of these wines, even if their production doesn’t follow a specific rule, but it is very important, as long as there is an inseparable connection between the wine and its area of production .
The Supertuscans knew how to match international varieties and the French “barriques” with the Tuscan tradition of high class wine making. Some of the Supertuscans became very famous and reached a very high quality level. In the Bolgheri area there are two important ones: the Ornellaia and the Sassicaia. Those are some of the most expensive of the Tuscan wines at all. Sassicaia has been created by a famous breeder of Ribot, Mario Incisa della Rocchetta while the Ornellaia is a creation by Lodovico Antinori – till now one of the most important estates of Bolgheri.
Montescudaio, instead, obtained the D.O.C. (denomination), which allows two types of wine: a red wine based on Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Malvasia and also some other varieties like Canaiolo and Colorino – all local varieties – and a white wine based on Trebbiano, Malvasia and Vermentino. These three varieties can be used also for the production of the Tuscan classic Vin Santo (desert wine).
The first to come out with wines of a modern cut were the wine makers Castello del Terricio, Sorbaiano, Poggio Gagliardo, who got immediate success. Merlini, Serra del Pino, Ferrari Iris and Santa Maria are some of the traditional ones which have also increased their quality. Three wine makers who certainly got a leadership place at the market are: La Regola, of Riparbella; La Nocera, of Casale Marittimo and L’Aione, of Montecatini Val di Cecina.
The echo of Sassicaia has reflected much more on the Val di Cornia and Elba wines, produced at Campiglia Marittima, Suvereto and Piombino. The planting of new vineyards after the II World War has given space for new varieties among them Cabernet, Merlot and even Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Other Tuscan varieties have been introduced like the Ciliegiolo from Maremma, Aleatico (Elba) and Vermentino for the white wines. Elba is a very interesting wine, with personality and character derived from the land where is produced, its micro-climate and local kind of cultivation.
To travel through a wine trail in Tuscany is also a great opportunity to visit many interesting places, not only wineries and their vineyards but also the local towns, medieval fortresses and villages among the hills. The “Costa degli Etruschi” trail starts at Montecatini Val di Cecina or at Cecina and goes down until Piombino, following the coastline, passing through many beautiful towns and wine areas, among them: Guardistallo, Casale Marittimo, Montescudaio, Bolgheri, Castagneto Carducci.
There are so many wineries in each zone, and so many wines to taste and to learn about. For one day-trip we recommend a stop by 4 towns and by 3 or 4 wineries, among them you can visit only by appointment:
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia - tel. 0039 – 0565718242
Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) – tel. 0039 - 0565-762003
Castello del Terriccio (Montescudaio) – tel. 0039 050-699709
L’Aione (Montescudaio) – tel. 0039 0586-682698
Tenuta Casa Dei (Val di Cornia) – tel. 0039 0558300800
Agricoop Isola d’Elba (Elba) – tel. 0039 0565-987035
For more detailed information about all wines and estates along this route please visit the Official Website “La Strada del Vino Costa degli Etruschi”.