About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Italian IGT's Are Worth Exploring

Italy is the world’s largest wine producing country and is the number one supplier of wine imports to the U.S. (Italian wines count for about 1/3rd of all U.S. wine imports). It is the home of The Wine Guy’s favorite wines and you’ll almost always find about a dozen different Italian selections in my wine stocks. The range of Italian wines I keep on hand will range anywhere from a highly rated Brunello di Montalcino (always at least one of those!) to an everyday affordable Pinot Grigio. The selections always include a fair number of IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wines.

As a case in point, the photograph above is of the current IGT wines that were in my on-hand stock as I wrote this blog. The Indicazione Geografica Tipica classification for Italian wines was introduced in 1992 as a supplement to the established D.O.C. (Denomiazone di Origine Controllata) and D.O.C.G. (Denomiazone di Originine Controllata e Garantita) classifications. Prior to that time, non DOC or DOCG wines from Italy were Vino Da Tavola, a generic description given to wines made without any controls or quality requirements other than the simple fact that they are produced in Italy. The DOC and DOCG classifications were begun in the 60’s and were patterned after the French appellation system. Wines in those classifications must be made in specified government defined zones and in accordance to particular regulations (inclusive of varietals permitted) that strive to preserve each individual region’s wine characteristics.

The impetus for creating the IGT classification principally came from quality producers who were utilizing foreign grape varietals to broaden the export appeal of their local wines. The region most associated with that effort was Tuscany, where the utilization of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as blended additions to Sangiovese wines gave rise to the consumer-marketing term “Super-Tuscans”.
It should be noted, however, that some DOC,s in Italy (the Sant Antimo DOC, for one) DO permit international varietals but have very specific restrictions on what can be utilized, on permitted yields and specific controls on production and bottling). It is more accurate to characterize IGT wines as wines that reflect the character of an Italian wine region but for various reasons , do not fully meet the stricter requirements of the D.O.C. or D.O.C.G.s in the that region. Wines included in an IGT wine must be from an approved list (currently more than 3 dozen international varietals are on the list in addition to the varietals already approved for established DOC or DOCG). IGT wine labels may contain the name of the region, grape varieties and vintage year. In a couple of area’s toward Italy’s northern border regions, the terms Vin de Pays and Landwein (corresponding to the regional wine terms utilized in France and Germany) are permitted to be substituted for the IGT designation.

The original intent of the IGT classification was to create a higher quality classification that would segregate these wines from the often common and lesser desirability of the vast number of vino de tavola wines produced in Italy. However, there are now so many that the classification covers wines that range from being barely marketable to classically-rated and collectible wines. Much as with our U.S. wines, the classification itself does not insure a satisfactory nor satisfying purchase. Here, you will either have to rely upon reliable recommendations from trusted sources or your own due diligence and exploration. Don’t let that deter you, however, from trying wines with the IGT designation. There are numerous excellent, even superb wines to be found and many are excellent bargains.

Here’s a recap of the ones pictured above in The Wine Guy’s current inventory:

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT:

Allegrini’s use of Sangiovese instead of Molinara in the region’s traditional blend of Corvina, Rodinella and Molinara as well as his 70/30 blending of conventionally fermented grapes with “late harvested grapes for refermentation “Ripassa” style makes this an IGT wine but doesn’t halt its critical accolades which include having been named to Wine Spectators Annual Top 100 list five times in the past eleven years. It’s ability to pair wonderfully with food and to develop a plethora of nuances, as well as its under $25 affordability has made it among The Wine Guy’s top ten favorite Italian wines for a long time (see “An Old Friend Comes To Dinner” in the blog archives, 8/4/09).

Selvagrossa Muschen Marche IGT:

Relative newcomers Alberto and Alesandro Taddei began their Selvagrossa vineyards and winery in 2002 on an estate inherited from their grandfather and it was the grandfather’s nickname for Alberto, Muschen (“Little Fly”), that gave the name to this blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Nice fruit flavors with soft round tannins that come stainless steel aging are highlights of this wine that pair beautiful with almost any red pasta sauce.

Antinori Tormaresca Neprica Puglia Russo IGT:

From the world’s sixth largest but one of its most overlooked wine regions comes this bold and beautiful blend of Negramaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Antinori family has been producing wine for 26 generations. You usually find this proud example of their efforts priced under $15.

Tenimente Angelini Tutto Bene Toscana Russo IGT:

Tutto Bene translates as either “Everything is Good” or “”All is Well” from the Italian and that comes pretty close to describing this under $10 bargain. You’re likely to find some unfiltered sediment in this Merlot, Caniolo and Sangiovese blend and it’s not a strong candidate for developing in the cellar but it’s an affordable, fair, everyday Russo that you can easily enjoy with your favorite pizza. The Angelini’s also bottle a Tutto Bene Toscana Bianco IGT which blends Chardonnay, Trebbiano and Vermentino.

Banfi CentineToscana IGT:

A conventional “Super-Tuscan” from Montalcino blending Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aging the blend in oak barrels for six months. A great wine for your next grill-out that’s affordably priced under $15. Mrs. Wine and I were fortunate enough to first enjoy this wine several years in our visit to Castello Banfi.

These are just a few of the hundreds of IGT wines from Italy awaiting your inspection and approval. Let me know if you would like to see more featured on Roger’s Grapevine or feel free to add a comment with some of your recommended favorites. Enjoy your search.


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