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Chianti of Fattoria Belvedere - Wine Guide - Italidays

Wines of Tuscany

The best known of all Tuscan wines is of course Chianti. Less well known perhaps is that Chianti has undergone something of a revolution in the last few years. No longer is it the "bistro plonk" of memory but a sophisticated blend of Sangiovese grape often with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for added depth, and no longer diluted with white grape juice.

However the story of Chianti is not the whole story of Tuscan wine; there is much more to enjoy than that.

Italian wines are accorded one of four possible classifications;

Vini da Tavola

This simply means table wine and is the classification for all wines that are not recognised as belonging to any of the other three categories. Some wines of excellent structure, offering very good value fall into this category simply because they are made by methods outside of the DOC guidelines.

IGT Indicazione Geographica Tipica

This classification was intorduced to allow producers to experiment with new grape varieties and production methods without sacrificing the hard-won status of their wine.

DOC Denominazione di Origine Controllata

To be accorded the status of a DOC wine it must be made within a clearly defined region and to strict rules which regulate the entire production process. Wines in this category will alwys carry the DOC designation of the label.

DOCG Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita

This is the highest quality designation an Italian wine can be awarded, and there are only some two dozen wines in this category. It is reserved for presigious wines that have been classified as DOC for a minimum of five years.

In addition to the familiar name of Chianti look for Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Producers to look out for are Cecchi and Rocca delle Macie; both produce good value wine of consitent quality for the mass market. Try Fonterutoli for very good Chianti and Altesino and Il Poggione for Montalcino wines; Avignonesi for Montepulciano and Teruzzi e Puthod for Vernaccia di San Gimignano white wines. Salute!

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