For those of you who have tried many Italian wines, red or white, chances are you probably have encountered a label or two with these words on it: Indicazione Geografica Tipica. This classification, IGT for short, simply refers to the second level of four different classifications of Italian wines. The first, VdT or Vino da Tavola (Table Wine) designates the lowest rung of the ladder quality wise and tend to be more of a local regional wine, rarely exported. Second, and as the name implies, Indicazione Geografica Tipica refers to geographically delineated local wines typical of a certain region. But wait, that sounds like a VdT, so what’s up with that? Well, you’re right and the difference in quality can range from indiscernible to huge!
To understand how this all fits together we need to go back to 1963 when the DOC, or Denominazione di Origine Controllata, was established. This classification elevated wines to a higher standard of quality as well as status over a Vino da Tavola, requiring more stringent adherence to traditional varieties and methods of production within a specific region. And even more so, the DOCG, or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, classification was established to “guarantee” the proper grapes, region, stringent rules, generally lower yields, plus a requirement to submit wines for tasting analysis. This, of course, was all well and good for the reputation of the wine as well as a supposedly higher quality product for the consumer. But what if you were a wine producer, let’s say in the region of Tuscany, and you believed you could make a very fine wine that could even compete at a very high level on the international stage. Well, fine, but it could only be classified as a simple table wine, or Vino da Tavola, if you are producing something other than what the DOC or DOCG rules allowed.
The most famous example of this situation is the Chianti producer, Piero Antinori, who back in the 1970′s, wanted to produce a wine that was a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, a combination that could not be a Chianti under DOC laws. He called the wine Tignanello, and it became one of the most internationally known and sought after wines from Tuscany. Soon after, other producers in Tuscany followed a similar path and the wines began to be referred to as “Super Tuscans,” even though they were still officially classified as Vino da Tavola. So, the question remained, should there not be some way of legally classifying these types of wines and confer upon them a more legitimate status, especially since many would most likely be exported.
Finally, in 1992 there were a number of newly instigated wine laws that were created along with the classification, IGT . The Indicazione Geografica Tipica called for wines, either red or white, to represent more specific regions and presumably higher quality. It was basically an ”upgraded” Vino da Tavola classification and in many cases, such as the “Super Tuscans,” the quality could be superb. However, both small and large scale production of generic and, in some cases, very mediocre wines were allowed to enjoy the IGT status and that is still true today. So, just keep in mind that the IGT on the label does not necessarily translate to a high quality wine, and that’s why at Beltramo’s we taste and bring in the wines that are of top quality in their category.
Here are twelve I highly recommend from Tuscany, where it all began. These red wines are made from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah in some form or another. And, although you don’t hear the name “Super Tuscan” used that much anymore, you could definitely say these are “Super Wines from Tuscany!”
2009 Argiano Non Confunditur Rosso – $15.99
2008 Querciabella Mongrana Maremma – $18.99
2009 Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia Le Volte - $21.99
2008 La Massa – $22.99
2007 Cerbaiona Toscana IGT – $44.99
2008 Orma Toscana – $59.99
2008 Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione – $59.99
2007 Vignamaggio Cabernet Franc – $64.99
2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno - $$69.99
2008 Antinori Tignanello – $84.99
2007 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve – $109.99
2008 Montepeloso Nardo – $119.99
Gary Mulleneaux, Beltramo’s Wine Consultant