Spotlight on: Bolgheri … A Super Etruscan Village

Bolgheri, Livorno, Tuscany

In the heart of the Etruscan coast of Tuscany, only a few kilometers from the seaside, is the medieval village of Bolgheri. Until the late 1960’s – early 1970’s Bolgheri was quiet and unassuming, known for the nearby spectacular centuries-old boulevard of cypress trees. Viale dei Cipressi was immortalized in the poem “Davanti San Guido” by the famous poet, Giosue Carducci, who lived in Bolgheri from 1838 and 1848.

Bolghieri introduced Super Tuscans to the wine world.

Bolghieri introduced Super Tuscans to the wine world and put this region and Tuscan wines into the spotlight.

So, what happened in the late ‘60’s and 70’s? Super Tuscan happened! Feeling that the DOC regulations were too restrictive and that their wines were more distinguished than the less expensive vino da tavola, local winemakers started to produce quality non-DOC wines, notably Sassicaia, a Bordeaux-style red. In 1968 the new style was called Super Tuscan.

That was only the beginning… in 1974, when a 6-year old Bolgheri Sassicaia won over Bordeaux wines in an event sponsored by Decanter, Bolgheri gained international celebrity and put Tuscan wines back on the map. Today the vineyards of the Etruscan Coast are famous for producing some of Tuscany’s finest wines. In 1994 Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC were born and Bolgheri’s fame now includes other Bordeaux varietals.

Nonna Lucia, Carducci's grandmother, keeps us company in the local piazza.

Nonna Lucia, Carducci’s grandmother, keeps us company in the local piazza.

Despite its place on the international stage, Bolgheri maintains its friendly, unassuming charm. The ancient castle  owned by the Gherardesca family since 1200, dominates our attention we pass through the medieval archway. We are immediately transported and invited to meander, linger, savor. Local shops and enotecas tempt us with their  typico products and famous wines. Surely there’s time for a tasting…or two?

Hearty local Tuscan fare is offered at taverne and ristoranti with shady patios and luscious views overlooking Belvedere Square and the hills of the timeless Etruscan coast. Then, enjoying a gelato, find a bench seat and join Carducci’s Nonna Lucia in the shade of Bolgheri’s piazza.

So many delights, we realize that perhaps an afternoon wasn’t enough time to enjoy them all.

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