Valdinievole DOC is located in north-west Tuscany for red and white wines from the Valdinievole or ‘the valley of the river Nievole’, whose name derives from ‘nebbia’ meaning fog in Italian (or ‘nebula’ in Latin). The region lies between Pistoia and Lucca, but in Pistoia province. The original denomination dates from 1967 and was called Bianco di Valdinievole DOC, and was solely for white wines. In 2010 when red wines also became part of the DOC its name was changed to Valdinievole DOC.
History: In the historical bibliography of Valdinievole wines there are many references to the wines of this area as important wines, not only locally, but also for trade in other Tuscan cities and Italy, so much so that in 1300 the wines of Valdinievole entered in Florence without paying customs duties, to favor its exclusivity to the Florentine territories.
From the writings of a Prato wine merchant, Francesco Datini, who operated his trade between the 1300s and 1400s, it appears that Pescia was one of the most important food markets in existence between Florence and Pisa, that the wines, both white and reds, in the Valdinievole area, were able to obtain high prices, slightly lower than the wines of the upper Valdarno, and this means that they were very appreciated wines. In the Florentine land registry of 1427, the territory of the Pescia and Valdinievole hills for white wines is defined as the “kingdom of the vine”.
Looking at the registers of traders, transporters and even the rich local families, who kept written accounts of sales, trade, etc. there is a trace of the production of both white and red wines. Evidence of the quality of Valdinievole wines is present throughout the economic history of the area, up to the present day.
The appreciation of Valdinievole wines also emerges from the writings of some original authors of the area. Famous is the composition by Paolo Francesco Carli from Montecarlo, who lived in the eighteenth century, author of a famous playful idyll entitled “La svinatura in Valdinievole” where the wines of the region are spoken of as “honor of Valdinievole”.
Another compomimento (ditirambo), containing references to the wines of Valdinievole, is that of Francesco Redi who wrote in 1685: “… I of Pescia the Buriano / trebbiano, the Colombano, / I am full-handed …”, These lines were chosen by Carlo Palamidessi, for the cover of his book “Wines of Valdinievole, Chemical study and considerations relating to their industry and their trade” (1887). In the territory, after the advent of phylloxera, which led to the need to replace vines with a European foot with those grafted onto an American foot, specialized cultivations became more and more established compared to the promiscuous cultivation of vines (traditionally present in this territory). , which testify to the recognized quality of local wine production.
Terroir: The Valdinievole DOC wine region covers the entirety of the following townships (‘commune’) in the south-western part of the Province of Pistoia (PO): Buggiano, Chiesina Uzzanese, Lamporecchio, Larciano, Marliana, Massa e Cozzile, Monsummano Terme, Montecatini Terme, Pescia, Pieve a Nievole, Ponte Buggianese and Uzzano.
The main settlements are Montecatini (a spa town) and Monsummano, greatly developed in the last part of the 20th century, and Pescia, the historical capital, which hosts renowned flower market, and is the Catholic Bishop’s seat. The production area also includes the Municipality of Marliana, which, although not part of the list of municipalities historically belonging to the Valdinievole, is linked to the Valdinievolino territory as it belongs, in part, to the same river basin; furthermore the Municipality of Marliana is adjacent to the municipalities of Pescia, Massa and Cozzile and Montecatini Terme; for this reason it has always been part of the territory of production of the present denomination of origin.
The Nievole river flows in the eastern part of the valley, although the main river is the Pescia Maggiore or Pecia di Pescia which, as the Pescia Minore (Pescia di Collodi), flows in the western part of Valdinievole. All the streams and rivers of Valdinievole flow into the marsh (and nature reserve) called, Padule di Fucecchio, the southern border between Valdinievole and the Arno valley in the province of Florence. On the northern and eastern sides of the valley there are hills, part of the lower Appennines and of the Montalbano.
The plain of the Valdinievole is constituted in a substantially homogeneous way, by alluvial filling soils, transported by the watercourses that cross it. The whole Valdinievole is rich in water and its climate is characterized by the presence of the Padule di Fucecchio basin which receives the waters from the southern slopes of the hills that overlook the valleys of Pescia, Collodi and Marliana.
The evolutionary history of the territory has determined a remarkable geological uniformity, in particular in the hilly-mountain area, where the skeleton of the reliefs is almost everywhere made up of sandstone “sandstone” type of tertiary age. The hilly orography that degrades in the alluvial plain of the production area, the exposure of the open area to the south-west sea winds that mitigate, together with the Padule di Fucecchio basin, the Valdinievole climate, creating optimal climatic conditions for the viticulture, the pedological nature of the soils devoted to the cultivation of the vine, combine to create favorable conditions for the maturation of the grapes.
Altitude: The altimetry in the more depressed areas of the plains, near the catchment area of the Padule di Fucecchio, is around 13-20 meters above sea level, while on the highest peaks of the foothills common we get to just over 800 meters above sea level. The flat areas with greater diffusion of the cultivation of the vine have altitudes around 50 meters above sea level; climbing on the slopes of the hills surrounding the Valdinievole, it is difficult to exceed 500 meters above sea level. The zone of the territory with the maximum concentration of the cultivation of the vine is the band that goes from 50 to 300 meters on the level of the sea.
Climate: The climate of the Valdinievole is milder than other areas of the Province of Pistoia and neighboring, both because of the presence of the Padule di Fucecchio that acts as a thermal flywheel, and because the Valdinievole is positively affected by the influences of the winds coming from the sea that stop at the chain del Montalbano, with beneficial effects for agriculture. The area is characterized by a substantially uniform rainfall that varies between 800 and 1,000 mm of water / year for the plain and 1,000-1,400 mm for the hilly area.
Viticulture: New vines must be planted with a minimum vine density of 3,300 vines per hectare/1,336 vines per acre. Irrigation is permitted but only if the vines’ survival is at risk. Yields can be raised by 20% in exceptional years. The wines must be fermented and aged in the region of production but can be bottled [anything else?] in municipalities which touch the production zone, namely: Pistoia, Piteglio, Porcari, Serravalle Pistoiese, Quarrata, Vinci, Cerreto Guidi, Fucecchio, Altopascio, Montecarlo, Capannori, Villa Basilica, Bagni di Lucca.
Valdinievole Bianco & Superiore DOC: Valdinievole Bianco is made from a minimum 70% Trebbiano Toscano. Upto 30% other permitted white wine varieties are allowed, with Tuscan grapes like Canaiolo Bianco, Verdea, Malvasia Bianca, Verdicchio and others said to have a strong historical presence locally. Yields are set at 11.5 tonnes per hectare (4.65 tonnes per acre) or 3.5kg per vine. If yields are no more than 10.5 tonnes per hectare (4.25 tonnes per acre) or 3kg per vine and the wine is not sold before 1st March in the year after harvest it can be labelled Bianco Superiore. The minimum potential alcohol levels are 10% for Valdinievole Bianco and 11.5% for Valdinievole Bianco Superiore. The finished wines must contain 11% for Valdinievole Bianco and 11.5% for Valdinievole Bianco Superiore.
Valdinievole Rosso DOC: Valdinievole Rosso is made from a minimum 35% Sangiovese and a minimum 20% Canaiolo Nero, and together these two varieties must comprise at least 70% of the wine (having traditionally provided the backbone to the local red wines). Upto 30% other permitted red wine varieties are allowed, with Tuscan grapes like Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Bonamico, Foglia Tonda, Malvasia Nera and others said to have a strong historical presence locally. Up to 10% can come from permitted white varieties. Yields are set at 10 tonnes per hectare (4.05 tonnes per acre) or 3kg per vine. The minimum potential alcohol level is 10.5% for Valdinievole Rosso and the bottled wine must contain 12% alcohol. The wine can be labelled Valdinievole Rosso Superiore if yields are no more than 8.5 tonnes per hectare (3.44 tonnes per acre) or 2.6kg per vine, the grapes contain a minimum 11% potential alcohol and the finished wine contains at least 12.5% alcohol. The governo method (‘governo all’uso toscano‘) is allowed for all Valdinievole red wines.
Valdinievole Sangiovese DOC: 85% Sangiovese minimum. Other grapes allowed in Tuscany (with the exception of Aleatico and Moscato) may comprise the other 15%. Up to 5% can come from permitted white varieties. Yields are set at 10 tonnes per hectare (4.05 tonnes per acre) or 3kg per vine. Valdinievole Sangiovese must contain a minimum 10.5% potential alcohol and the finished wine contains a minimum 12.5% alcohol. It can be sold from 1st March in the year after harvest.
Valdinievole Vin Santo or Vinsanto DOC: 70% Trebbiano Toscano minimum. Up to 30% can come from other permitted white varieties. Yields are set at 10 tonnes per hectare (4.05 tonnes per acre) or 3.5kg per vine. After drying the grapes must contain 28% sugar. The drying of the grapes must take place in suitable environments and can be carried out with the aid of environmental conditioning systems provided that they operate at temperatures similar to those found during the traditional drying processes, excluding any dehumidification system operating with the aid of heat. Minimum total alcohol content by volume: 17.00% vol. Minimal total acidity: 4,5 g/l. Maximum 1,5 g/l of volatile acidity. Minimum total extract: 21,0 g/l.