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 is a small and splendid reality of just over a thousand hectares, today famed above all for its production of prestigious, long-lived red wines.
The wine has accompanied the history of this territory for centuries, starting from the Etruscans, the first winemakers in Italy (about from the twelfth century BC). However, the development of the territory has been heavily influenced for centuries by the presence of a vast swampy area towards the sea, the Maremma. The only living areas were the hills.
The swamp was partially reclaimed by the Etruscans and then by the Romans. With the breakup of the Roman Empire, the area lost its population and the swamps returned. For centuries, the populations settled again on the hills, which saw the rise of the medieval villages of Castagneto and Bolgheri. For centuries the territory was poor and backward, with an agriculture (and viticulture) little more than subsistence.
The first viticulture development took place in the late eighteenth / early nineteenth century, with the birth and enlargement of hill farms dedicated to the production of wine and oil (one of which included the current Guado al Melo). The real turning point for the territory could only be with the complete reclamation of the swamp, which took place in the second half of the nineteenth century. In the course of the twentieth century, the development of the area began, first in the agricultural sphere and, later, in tourism sectors.
His great vine-growing vocation emerged more and more, thanks also to the identification of the most suitable varieties for the territory and the general improvement of production, with an increase in the vines especially from the 60s onwards. In 1983 the first Bolgheri Denomination was born, reflecting wines and traditional varieties, with Bolgheri Bianco (Vermentino, Trebbiano toscano and others) and Bolgheri Rosato (Sangiovese, Canaiolo and others).
From the '40s of the twentieth century, varieties of French origin had also been introduced, especially Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc and, later, Merlot. These varieties increasingly showed a perfect union with the particular soil and micro-climate conditions of the territory, capable of producing a refining red wine of great personality and value. More and more producers followed this path, especially since the '80s, giving rise to the need for a revision of the Denomination.
The review process was linked to the in-depth study of the territory, implemented in the period 1993-2004 by the University of Milan, coordinated by prof. Attilio Scienza. In 1994 the Bolgheri DOC Disciplinary was updated (with a change also in 2011), highlighting the production of the great reds for which today Bolgheri is famous in the world.