For those that follow me, you already know that I LOVE Italian wine, specifically Tuscan reds. So, it is with great pleasure that I speak to this delicious topic. I drink red wine year round, and that is typically all I drink with the exception of the occasional glass or bottle of sparkling. Natalie on the other hand tends to stick with sparkling when it is warm and switches to red when it turns cooler.
What is with all those letters on a bottle of wine?
If you drink Italian wine, I am sure that at some point you have noticed a seal with letters. Such as DOC or DOCG. These are formalized grading standards for Italian wine. In a nutshell, you have IGT, DOC and DOCG. IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica ) is the lowest formal standards and has loose standards with regards to the grape varieties that are allowed from the area that the wine comes from. DOC (Denominazione Origine Controllata ) is the next step up. And at the highest level is DOCG (Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita). DOCG is meant to represent the most legendary wines in Italy.
There are way too many types of Tuscan wine to discuss each one, so I will touch on a few of my favorites. Now, to decide on a few favorites – This is a very difficult decision. I love the king of Italian red, the Brunello di Montalcino but I equally love Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and a of course a good Chianti. I could probably list about 4 more very easily, but I will stick to these for this series.
Brunello di Montalcino-
Brunello is a medieval village in the province of Siena, and the winemaking region is to the Northeast. Brunello tends to be more expensive than most other Italian reds. This is primarily due to the smaller production area. The Brunello di Montalcino area is roughly 3,000 acres while Chianti has about 40,000 acres. Brunello di Montalcino is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, which is also the dominant grape in Chianti. The difference in these grapes is that due to the higher and dryer climate, the grapes ripen at a more consistent rate. This wine also must be aged for 5 years after harvest. Because this is a heavy red, it is an amazing wine to pair with the king of steaks, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina.