Bolgheri is a small village located a few km north-west from Castagneto Carducci at the heart of the Maremma Livornese.
This old village is built around the medieval castle (renovated through the years) and can be reached through the picturesque Viale dei Cipressi, an almost 5-km long driveway leaving Via Aurelia just in front of the Oratorio of San Guido (1700); its fame comes from the 1874 poem ‘In front of San Guido’ written by Giosuè Carducci. Noteworthy is also the monumental cemetery, where Carducci’s grandmother Lucia is buried and the old fortified settlement of Castiglioncello Bolgheri with its church dedicated to San Bernardo (400 mt above sea level).
Bolgheri is one of Italy’s most prestigious vineyard areas. Its winemaking zone is made up of sloping coastal vineyards at the foot of the hills between the town of Bolgheri, after which this DOC is named, and the southern part of Castagneto.
The main focus of the Bolgheri DOC is the importance of terroir and for this reason, the Bolgheri Rosso and Bolgheri Superiore wines are labeled without the mention of grapes, as terroir is considered more significant than grape varieties. It is also why Bolgheri wines are reputed for their true expressions of terroir.
Nevertheless, the varieties that put Bolgheri on the wine map are the Bordeaux trio Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, which are the main ingredients in the superiore wine. Syrah and the traditional Tuscan red grape Sangiovese may comprise up to 50% of the wine each, as can a maximum 30% of Petit Verdot. The plain rosso must be aged for at least ten months, while the superiore must mature for 24 months before release.
The wines from this area are incredibly compact, dark and ruby red in color, which suggests great ageing potential. The heady bouquets are reminiscent of ripe berries, with hints of Mediterranean maquis (the main vegetation along the Mediterranean coastline) and spicy oak. They are characterized by their powerful structure, elegant poise and smooth, rounded natures. A sweetness of fruit on the palate is backed by layers of velvety tannins, a lively, fresh acidity and a long, lingering finish.
In addition to its iconic reds, the Bolgheri DOC title also covers white and rosé wines. The key white wine grape used in Bolgheri Bianco is Vermentino, sometimes with an addition of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. There are some examples of barrel-matured whites which display more complexity. Rosato di Bolgheri can be made from a combination of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and other Tuscan grapes – this produces fresh, fruity and savory rose wines.