Tuscan Wine, Part I: Know Before You Go

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*Guest Post by the one and only Amy

I want to preface everything with this:  I am not a sommelier or formally trained, but I really enjoy wine and wanted to try to share a little bit about what to try, and what I like, while you’re in Tuscany!  Most people show up in Italy without realizing that when you get here, your wine lists will be mostly regional or local, and if they are extensive, there will still mostly be only Italian wines! Because, of course, why would you need imported wines when you have such great wine in your backyard!  Also, I will start by saying there are 73 different DOCG wines in 15 different regions in Italy so we are truly just scratching the surface.  As a personal preference, I writing primarily about red wine (vino rosso) because I think that is what Tuscany does best.  In reality, I previously preferred white wine (especially the ever so basic oaky buttery California chardonnay) before moving to Italy, but I wanted to embrace the Italian reds, and now I actually prefer bolder reds, especially when you are cozied up in a local osteria eating a fantastic Bistecca or pasta fresca.  That being said, Italy makes some great whites, bubbles, and roses as well but we will cover those in another post.

Let’s start with a brief chat about what do the letters DOC, DOCG, and IGT mean and why they are important.

  • DOC: Denominazione di Origine Controllata).

The long and short of these first two (DOC and DOCG) classifications is that Italy has protected its wine and wine regions by establishing rules to protect quality and authenticity of its wines.  Of the things included are types of grapes used, alcohol content and how the wine is aged.

  • DOCG: Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita

This designation if given means the wine follows the highest standard and strictest regulations.  This wine is tested by a committee (what I like to call the “wine police”) which guarantees quality and authenticity.  Because of higher standards there are also fewer of these wines that get this classification.

  • IGT: Indicazione Geografica Tipica

An IGT designation was created for growers who were unable to achieve DOC or DOCG standards but still made fantastic wines typical of the region.  By having more inclusivity and less restrictiveness there can be further creativity allowing for more blends and variety in these wines. You will find this designation particularly amongst supertuscan wines.

Ready for more? Read on to Part II: Most Popular Reds

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  1. Pingback: Tuscan Wine, Part II: Mini-Guide to Reds of Tuscany – Italianista

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