9: Why your new favorite wine might be one you’ve never heard of before

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Podcast | 0 comments

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good Brunello or even a  tannic chianti classico with a huge bistecca, but those wines have their purpose and place. 

Let’s imagine you’re at the store, and you’re trying to pick out the best wine for your evening. 

You might know from time in Italy, that wines with the little sticker DOC or DOCG are some of Italy’s most controlled and protected types of wine ( By the way if you don’t know what DOC or DOCG mean, check out my podcast dedicated to these acronyms). So, back to picking the best wine, are those stickers always a marker of the best tasting wine? I would argue no, and the reason is simple. 

Taste isn’t necessarily one of the factors going into the DOC or DOCG designations. Let me explain, DOC and DOCG wines are absolutely taste tested (by a special commissioner no less) but they are tasted to be sure they aren’t defective and that they meet some standard characteristics of that particular wine. 

Like, for example, that a Chianti is dry and not sweet. But does that mean for you, at home, searching for a good bottle while you watch Netflix, DOC or DOCG are the only ones you should consider?Absolutely not. Yes, it’s true, DOC and DOCG are highly regulated and controlled, but they are not going to be necessarily the best for your taste buds. The reason is simple, there is a certain lack of creativity that comes from wine’s being so tightly regulated. winemakers don’t have the option of blending different varieties of grapes to balance out something else, or create something new.

So what should you do, if for example, you’re not a fan of Chianti and as such, have sworn off Italian wine all together? Try an IGT – aka Super Tuscan. These wines were the winemakers’ answer to their creativity problem with the DOC and DOCG wines. IGT are not regulated in the same way so the winemaker can grow and bottle whatever he feels is best. That means you might find a syrah mixed with a cannaiolo or a bordeaux grown in Chianti mixed with a san sangiovese that takes on a whole new flavor.

Oftentimes, unless I am choosing wine for a specific food, I will go with an IGT for the pure pleasure in the uniqueness of it. So, if you’re unsure about Italian wines, have never tasted one before, or you’re just thinking all Italian wine is the same, try an IGT instead. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, and as a bonus, the price is often much lower.

Alla salute ragazzi!


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Ciao, I'm Rachel

I am obsessed with everything Italian! After years living in Italy, being married to an Italian, getting my Italian citezenship through my Pugliese lineage, a BA in Italian language and literature, then a MA in Italian Art History, I have lots of experience with this country! Hang out with me to learn more!