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
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
in this category will alwys carry the DOC designation of the label.
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
presigious wines that have been classified as DOC for a minimum of five
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
very good Chianti and Altesino and Il Poggione for Montalcino wines;
Avignonesi for Montepulciano and Teruzzi e Puthod for Vernaccia di San Gimignano