Tuscany and Umbria form Italy’s geographic heartland. And the wines from these regions are just as central to Italian wine culture.


Traditionally, the Tuscan coast was not considered prime vineyard land. But visionary producers such as Sassicaia and Ornellaia have demonstrated the area, particularly the Bolgheri zone, is capable of producing world-class wine, notably using Bordeaux varieties. Aia Vecchia is a newer winery established in 1996 by the Pellegrini family, who have grown grapes in the area for several generations. Its entry-level 2012 Lagone ($15) is a delightful blend of 60 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet franc and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon offering layers of fruit in a velvety texture. The 2011 Sor Ugo ($40) – 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 30 percent merlot, 15 percent cabernet franc and 5 percent petit verdot – is bigger and riper, showing savory notes and slightly astringent tannins in the finish.


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