Last week we explored the Barolos and Barbarescos of the Piemonte region in NW Italy. Today, I thought we’d keep the Italian theme going by looking at the more central wines of Tuscany.

Here the Sangiovese grape is king, although you also get producers who blend in Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon to make ‘Super-Tuscans’. These wines are massively popular and massively expensive, and names such as Sassicaia or Tignanello are worth seeking out for a very special treat.

Chianti is the big name in Tuscany, but you have to be careful when choosing your bottle to take home. There’s an awful lot of bad Chianti out there which should be avoided at all costs. Don’t be disheartened though, there are also good and great bottles which will match your food and delight your dinner guests.

Look for Chianti Classico (adorned by a black cockerel on the neck of the bottle), or Chianti Rufina for some of the best bottles. You’ll also occasionally see ‘Riserva’ on the label which suggests that you’ll be taking home the estate’s best wine.

Chiantis are very food friendly, working with anything in a tomato-based sauce (pizzas, lasagne, etc) as well as cold meats and cheese, or a nice plate of barbecued sausages. The posher Classicos are very good with roast pork or a rare fillet steak.

Further south, you’ll find Rosso di Montalcino and (its big brother) Brunello di Montalcino, and to the east, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These are also excellent Sangioveses, and the Brunellos are particularly good with rich game stews with lots of mushrooms.

Here are a few to find this weekend…

Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Berardo 2012 (M&S, £38). Yes ok, this is definitely expensive but it is one of my favourite Sangioveses of all time. I recently tasted the 2007 vintage and it was still as fresh as a daisy.

Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico (Waitrose, normally £13.49 currently £9.99). You should definitely take advantage of this offer as the Cafaggio is wonderful even at the full price. I’d advise phoning ahead to make sure they still have some left.

Lay & Wheeler Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (Majestic, £32). This is just lovely, and the ideal partner to the rich game stew mentioned above. Cheers!