Montescudaio is a classic DOC of Tuscany, central Italy, and was granted its title in 1976. The vineyards which produce Montescudaio wines are located among the low, rolling coastal hills of western Tuscany, between Siena (Sienna) and Livorno (Leghorn).
© Giacomo Panicacci
The DOC covers red and white wines, sweet and dry, blends and varietals. Standard red Montescudaio Rosso, the bread-and-butter wine of the DOC, is made from a 50% base of Sangiovese and any combination of other red-wine varieties sanctioned under Tuscany's wine production laws. Sangiovese is also covered for use as a varietal wine under the Montescudaio title, as are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds, and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino for whites. To qualify for the right to a varietal label, a Montescudaio wine must contain at least 85% of the variety stated on the label. As in so many other Italian DOCs, varietal wines are a relatively new addition to producers' portfolios. They mark a step into the future and a recognition of the demands of modern wine consumers for greater communication of variety and provenance.
The sweet vin santo wines which so excellently complement Tuscany's portfolio of dry reds and whites are also present in Montescudaio. They are made here, as is almost every other vin santo, from Trebbiano Toscano, Tuscany's favorite white-wine grape variety.
The communes covered by the Montescudaio DOC are Casale Marittimo, Castellina Marittima, Guardistallo, Montecatini Val di Cecina, Riparbella and Montescudaio itself. As might be inferred from the names Casale Marittimo and Castellina Marittima, these villages are close to the coast. From east to west, the DOC catchment area spans roughly 15 miles (24km), and is buffered slightly from the coastal winds by a range of low hills which channel freshening breezes inland. This makes for a sunny, warm but moderated climate, in which the grapes can make the most of an extended growing season.