The natives

Single-varietal labels to try this summer

Helen Farrell
July 6, 2017 - 12:00

Native grapes have become a thing on the Italian wine scene, even if they have been around longer than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. “Ah, it was made in purezza”, a wine lover sighs, as if Tuscany’s finest wines have always been made from 100% Sangiovese and blending was so last century. Producers like a challenge, better still if there’s a market, which explains the brilliant single-varietal labels now available in the region. Drink native this summer with these interesting takes on Tuscany’s age-old, indigenous uve.

Il Ciliegiolo 2015 Maremma Toscana DOC, Val delle Rose Famiglia Cecchi


“The name comes from the cherry-like shape of the grape,” explains winemaker Andrea Fioriello at Cecchi’s Val delle Rose winery, in the wilds of Maremma. The flavour’s there too, cherries and plums, with a brackish hint of the Mediterranean sea breeze. Try Il Ciliegiolo at Val delle Rose's wine and concert series on Saturday nights during the summer - July 29, August 19 and September 2.

Pugnitello 2011 Rosso Toscana IGT, San Felice



On the brink of extinction, this fist-like bunch of grapes was rescued by Castelnuovo Berardenga winery San Felice, which has been producing it since 2006. Deep purple, super smooth and super fruity with a heady allspice mix on the nose.

Belrosso 2015 Rosso Toscana IGT, La Querce



Usually playing a supporting role to Sangiovese in Chianti blends, Impruneta producer La Querce’s 100% Canaiolo Nero is like eating grapes. Seriously. Crunchy and undemanding, it’s one of those ideal summer reds.


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