A successful wine label isn’t just about outstanding grapes; producing a great wine is a matter of passionate people, land and tradition. And here we don’t miss any of these. Cortona wines and wineries are quickly emerging in the Tuscan scene and if you visit the area you must absolutely try the local specialty, the Cortona Syrah.
Wines in Cortona
When it comes to wine production, every region has grapes that grow best on that soil and wine techniques that have been refined and improved over the years. The combination of these two factors usually leads to the creation of famous wine labels and high quality standards. Who doesn’t know Brunello di Montalcino or Chianti? These are certainly the most popular Tuscan wines, but did you know that Cortona has its own wine production and appellation? This is the news: the best wine in Cortona is the Syrah. An international grape variety that found here the perfect climate and soil and is giving delicious red wines.
Cortona Syrah and Cortona DOC Appellation
In the valley below Cortona, passionate people have always produced wine, but mostly for home consumption. Over the last 20 years, professional wine production started to grow, after the discovery that the syrah here was growing better than probably anywhere else in Italy (only Sicily compete!). It was Massimo D’Alessandro (now Tenimenti d’Alessandro winery) who had the first, brilliant intuition to start growing Syrah grapes in the area and studied its results in the 90s, with the help of the best wine professionals of Italy. A few years later the first producers of the area joined in a consortium to protect and guarantee quality standards, which soon led to the creation of a specific appellation, the Cortona DOC label. DOC means “Denominazione di Origine Controllata” (controlled designation of origin) and it’s a quality assurance label that is given to many Italian food products, especially wine.
The DOC consortium sets the rules on how to make the wines. The regulations include how and where exactly cultivate the grapes, how to make the vinification and ageing process, and how the final product (the bottled wine) should taste. Every DOC in Italy (or DOCG, an even more restrictive label) has its own rules, and that’s what makes a Brunello different from a Chianti or from a Nobile di Montepulciano.
Wines and Wineries in Cortona
The Cortona DOC consortium, according to their website , includes about 60 wineries and producers. Among them are a number of winemakers that are deeply-rooted in Cortona area like family-run businesses, while others are young and new passionate producers. There also a couple of well-known wine brands that have decided to invest in Cortona wine production for its quality and fast-growing reputation.
Visit any of these wineries for a wine tasting or a tour of their cellar. Usually they are open on appointment so make sure you contact them in advance. They will give you a passionate explanation of how much work and love they put into each label and each bottle. It will be an unforgettable experience off the beaten paths of the most famous, big and sometimes impersonal winery tours in the rest of Tuscany.