Considering DOCG, DOC and IGT wines, the designation of origin certifications for Italian wines are now over 500. In almost sixty years of existence, the law that established them way back in 1963 has produced a mapping of the national territory which has involved all the regions and all the provinces, so much so that today there are those who argue that mergers and cuts would be necessary to simplify an all too rich picture.

A further DOC, precisely in Tuscany, where there are dozens of them, would therefore seem apparently redundant or unnecessary, and in any case against the trend. However, this is probably not the case. At least, if we refer to Valdarno di Sopra DOC, which was established a few years ago.

There are numerous sources that attest that the cultivation of vines and the production of wine were widespread practices in this area since ancient times. In fact, around 390/370 B.C., in Southern and Central Etruria, the Etruscan populations were capable of carrying out an archaic process of vinification of the grapes.

Wine production in the area between Arezzo and Florence is documented in the 1st century A.C. by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, which indicates this territory among the best for wine production of the time, with references to the numerous varieties of grapes grown.

References that can be connected to Valdarno di Sopra can be found in the Florentine Land Registry Decree of 1427, which is not only an index of technical / land-registry and geographical statements, but also includes evaluations of merit on the quality of the product obtained in the various areas and on its prices, effectively drawing up a ranking of merit and price of the wines of the time.

But it is with the agricultural transformations that took place in the period of the 16th / 18th century that a first shift towards specialized or closed vineyards takes place and a more scientific and entrepreneurial viticulture develops, with the increase in vine cultivation, also as a consequence of the great demand for some renowned Tuscan wines and in particular typical of the Valdarno area.

And the main reason for the appropriateness of this Designation dates back to this historical period and in particular to the famous classification with which the Grand Duke of Tuscany – Cosimo III De’ Medici – tried to regulate Tuscan wine production in 1716. His very famous edict was in fact an anticipation of modern designations of origin. In particular, he wanted to cite and regulate those areas that were the best known at the time and essentially consisted of four wine-growing areas: Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Valdarno di Sopra.

The announcement of 1716 indicated the delimitation of the Valdarno territory, including the areas to the left and right of the Arno river, located approximately between the Casentino valley and Chianti, assigning to our territory the recognition of area destined for the production of quality wine. The wines produced here could therefore be exported with the indication of its origin (ante litteram example of registered designation of origin – DOC). Furthermore, the fact that Ponte a Buriano, a Romanesque bridge over the Arno river from the 13th century, over which the ancient route of Via Clodia passed, and which is in the heart of Valdarno di Sopra, was also taken up by Leonardo Da Vinci as the background of the Monna Lisa, easily makes us understand the centrality that area has had since the Renaissance.

The first three territorial indications of that historic list were then almost immediately included among the Registered Designations of Origin established between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the following decade, while we lost track of Valdarno di Sopra.

These are the most famous reasons – but not the only ones – which have allowed the best wine producers of Valdarno di Sopra to take a leap of pride, thus allowing in recent years to bring this ancient Tuscan sub-region to the attention of the general public. In fact, the resulting wines enjoyed a well-known reputation among experts, above all the great producers of Tuscany who, to produce their wines, including the so-called “Super-Tuscans”, normally bought grapes in that area, making use of an excellent quality offered at affordable prices.

Parallel to the increase in awareness about the value and potential of the territory, for at least fifteen years a large group of producers has begun to produce wines of a high quality profile, with Sangiovese, for the most part, and other autochthonous wines such as Pugnitello, Trebbiano, Malvasia Nera or Malvasia Bianca, but also with allochthonous vines, such as Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and, among the white grape varieties, Chardonnay.
A production which, at that point, deserved a different and more specific “focus”, as moreover already widely granted since the eighteenth century. And it is on this enological history that since 2011, our Valdarno di Sopra DOC has finally been grafted, as a further qualification of a territory with strong and homogeneous characteristics, in which the close connection and interaction existing between human factors, environmental ones and the resulting quality, makes the characteristics of the wines of Valdarno di Sopra peculiar.