Super Etruscan Bolgheri

May 28, 2013 / Food & Wine
Bolgheri, Tuscany

Bolgheri SassicaiaIn the heart of the Etruscan coast, only a few kilometers from the seaside, is the medieval village of Bolgheri. Until the late 1960’s Bolgheri was quiet and unassuming, known for the nearby spectacular centuries-old boulevard of cypress trees, the Viale dei Cipressi of poet Carducci fame.

So, what happened in the late ‘60’s? Super Tuscans happened! Feeling that regulations were too restrictive and that their wines were more distinguished than the less expensive vino da tavola, local winemakers started to produce quality non-DOC wines, notably Sassicaia, a Bordeaux-style red.

That was only the beginning. In 1974, when a 6-year old Sassicaia beat Bordeaux wines in a tasting event, Bolgheri gained international celebrity. Today the vineyards of the Etruscan Coast are famous for producing some of Tuscany’s finest wines.

Enoteca in BolghieriDespite its place on the international stage since then, Bolgheri maintains its friendly, unassuming charm. The ancient castle owned by the Gherardesca family since 1200, dominates our attention as we pass through the medieval archway. We are immediately transported and invited to meander, linger, savor.

Local shops, enoteche, and ristoranti with shady patios and luscious views overlooking Piazza Belvedere and the hills of the timeless Etruscan coast tempt us with their famous wines and prodotti tipici. Surely there’s time for a tasting… or two?

Then, enjoying a gelato, find a bench seat and join Carducci’s Nonna Lucia in the shade of Bolgheri’s piazza. So many delights, we realize that perhaps an afternoon wasn’t enough time to enjoy them all.

Nonna Lucia, Carducci's grandmother
Nonna Lucia, Carducci’s grandmother
Charming tavernas offer local fare.
Charming tavernas offer local fare.
Wine tasting is a must here!
Wine tasting is a must here!
The charming village of Bolghieri.
The charming village of Bolghieri.
Gherardesca family crest
Gherardesca family crest
Bolghieri's Medieval Castle
Bolghieri’s Medieval Castle

Nearby Cypress Alley made famous by Carducci.
Nearby Cypress Alley made famous by Carducci.

Victoria De Maio

by Victoria De Maio

Victoria is a lover of all things Italian! A travel advisor, blogger, writer, tour leader, and published author, she is passionate about traveling to and writing about Italy.

Her book, Victoria’s Travel Tipz Italian Style, is available on Amazon.

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10 Responses to “Super Etruscan Bolgheri”

  1. D. Bianchi

    This is how I envision heaven. Thank you for the wonderful photos and article. Meraviglioso indeed.

    Reply
  2. louise

    Shhhhh, Victoria. You’re giving away one of the best secrets in Italy. SUPER table wine, delicious food, all in a charming and affordable setting.

    Reply
  3. Darn it Victoria, now we have another “must see” on our return to Italy. Thanks for a very enticing description of this beautiful town.

    Reply
  4. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    As most italians I enjoy un bicchiere o due vino da tavola,
    ma no, today we must be sophisticated and to quote Dr. Vinny,the wine expert, this is what we are being led to…yes higher quality and higher prices. Now our riposo is less restful!
    Today, most super Tuscans use the legal appellation of IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), which gives producers more flexibility than Chianti and other Tuscan DOCs and more prestige than vino da tavola. The wines tend to be modern, big and rich—and often carry a price tag of $100 or more a bottle.

    Some super Tuscans do contain Sangiovese, either 100 percent or in blends. But others are made solely from Merlot (such as the famous Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Toscana Masseto), from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (Riccardo Baracchi Toscana Ardito), or from even more unusual blends, like an amalgamation of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot (Argiano Toscana Solengo).salvarci Maria!

    Reply
  5. Laura Morrison

    The Della Gherardesca family usually hosts the British Royals when they visit
    central Italy. Princess Diana and Prince Charles were their guests, passing through to inaugurate a music program they were sponsoring at the University of
    Perugia.

    Reply
  6. Grazie to all for your comments and notes…Bolgheri is definitely worth a “side trip”!
    Victoria

    Reply
  7. Colleen Simpson

    Victoria: Fine note packed with description and tempting me to take this side trip soon from our home in Umbria! Bolgheri is now on the “list”! Grazie mille!!

    Reply
  8. Mary Jane

    Loved this spot! Charming and memorable. Thanks Victoria for sharing its history and photos!

    Reply

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