First, starting in the 1960s, came the "Denominazione di Origine Controllata" system ("D.O.C." or, in English, "Controlled denomination of origin"), which regulated some of the most traditional wine-producing regions (example: Chianti), and established specific rules about grape content and wine making that producers must follow in order to bear the regional name on the label. More regions were soon added, and a few gained the additional title "Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita" ("D.O.C.G.", denomination of origin controlled and guaranteed").
The purpose behind this, simply enough, was to ensure the quality of Italy's top wines and to enforce adherence to tradition, requiring that Chianti, for example, be made in the same way as it had been since the 1300s. Wines unable to qualify for D.O.C. status are simply labeled "Vino da Tavola" ("table wine"), a catchall category that incorporates not only inexpensive everyday wine but also pricey mavericks (like the so-called "Super Tuscans") whose makers didn't care to be bound by the old ways.
Within the past decade, another category has been added, and it's a useful one for wine lovers who seek quality and value. "Indicazione Geografica Tipica" ("I.G.T."), as you've probably guessed from the lookalike words, means "indication of geographical type." This classification, less strict than the D.O.C. rules, applies to wines made in the general style of specific Italian regions. For a more detailed examination of Italian wine rules, you may enjoy the Italian Trade Commission's "Classifying Italian Wine," http://www.italianmade.com/wine/docdocg/default.htm.
Today's tasting features a Tuscan I.G.T. from a well-known Chianti maker. It very much resembles a Chianti, but it's made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes rather than the traditional Chianti blend.
Mazzei 1997 Poggio Alla Badiola Toscana I.G.T. ($12.99)
FOOD MATCH: Fine with whimsical miniature "pizzas" made with caprese (mozzarella slices and basil on fresh tomato slices) on thin cornmeal pancakes.
WINERY WEBSITE: http://www.fonterutoli.it/index-en.html (English)
Wine 'Toon Calendar 2002!
Friday, July 20, 2001