Colli dell’Etruria Centrale DOC is a Tuscan DOC for wines of all three colours, including Vin Santo, which came into effect in the 1991 vintage.
The name: Colli dell’Etruria Centrale translates as ‘Central Etrurian Hills’, Etruria being the land of the Etruscans from which the term Tuscany derives (as well as settling there from the 9th-century BC onwards, the Etruscans also colonised the neighbouring territories which are now Umbria and Lazio).
The denomination: The idea behind Colli dell’Etruria Centrale was to give Chianti DOCG producers another denomination which would sit alongside the latter whilst also allowing the production of light, fresh, dry whites and pink (‘rosato’) wines, early-released reds (‘novello’) and Vin Santo DOC wines in a territory that overlaps much of the Chianti DOCG in the provinces of Arezzo, Firenze, Pistoia and Siena (Burton Anderson, 1990, p200).
However the rules for Colli dell’Etruria Centrale’s red wines, at least, are ‘not so very different from Chianti – prompting the question why use it?’ asks Nicolas Belfrage, who adds the aim was to bring Tuscany’s straggling red [non-DOC or DOCG] vini da tavola of superior quality – sometimes known as SuperTuscans – within the [DOC] system (Belfrage, 2003, p.35). The Rosso covers everything not already covered by Chianti: minimum 75% Sangiovese, plus up to 25% Canaiolo and a maximum 10% Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Belfage says the white wine version of Colli dell’Etruria Centrale is ‘slightly less pointless’ than its red counterpart, ‘giving producers the option of reducing Trebbiano to a minimum of 50% of the blend (the rest being made up, generally, of the French white varieties eg. Chardonnay); most quality growers would reduce it [meaning Trebbiano] to zero,’ (Belfrage, 2003, p.35).
Certified organic: Buccia Nera (Arezzo).
Burton Anderson, The Wine Atlas of Italy (Mitchell Beazley, London, 1990).
David Gleave, The Wines of Italy (Salamander Books, London, 1989).
DWWA, Decanter World Wine Awards.
Nicolas Belfrage MW, From Brunello to Zibibbo–The Wines of Tuscany, Central and Southern Italy (2nd edition, London, 2003).
Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015).