The wines of the Bolgheri DOC growing area
The wines of the Bolgheri denomination are produced in the commune of Castagneto Carducci, in the province of Livorno on the Tuscan coast; they are named for one of the villages (frazioni) included in the commune’s territory, Bolgheri. The denomination, famed above all for its production of prestigious, long-lived red wines, is quite small—just over a thousand hectares—but of superb quality. For centuries, wine has been an integral part of the history of this area. But its potential for quality winegrowing was developed to its fullest only following the mid-20th century, which led to the emergence of the Bolgheri wines that the entire world knows today and to its recognition as a DOC in 1994.
This area, the Alta Maremma Toscana, or Upper Tuscan Maremma, comprises a band of hills facing the Tyrrhrenian Sea. In between is a gently-descending strip of plain that in antiquity, in its lowest sections, was a swamp. Millennia ago, the Etruscans, and then the Romans, lived in these hills and on the plain, which they partially reclaimed, where they cultivated the grapevine, the olive, and grain. With the breakup of the Roman Empire, the area lost its population and the swamps returned. For centuries, the populations settled on the hills, which saw the rise of the medieval villages of Castagneto and Bolgheri. Only at the end of the 19th century was the swamp again, and permanently, drained. Populations and crops returned and spread out over the plain once more, and the hills became largely wild again.
In the early 20th century, Castagneto added the word Carducci to its name, in honour of Nobel Prize poet Giosué Carducci, who had spent his childhood here and later dedicated to the area some of his finest poems. One of the most famous celebrates the Viale dei Cipressi, the cypress-lined road that leads from San Guido to Bolgheri.