Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Villa Antinori Toscana IGT 2005

This wine, or rather this producer, has a bit of a story behind it to understate the matter. They are one of the innovators of the "super tuscan" style of wine.

A quick summary: a super tuscan is a wine of Tuscan origin that doesn't (or didn't used to) conform to the Chianti DOC or Chianti Classico DOCG standards. The point of contention is usually the grape composition. Super tuscans normally contain one or more non-indigenous "international varieties", such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, etc. As a result, they are not allowed to be labelled and sold as Chianti, but instead as IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica). The IGT designation was created to allow wines such as super tuscans to be produced and sold.

From what I can gather, in 1994 the Chianti Classico DOCG rules were relaxed to allow the introduction of foreign grape varieties in Chianti Classico. Some producers, although now allowed to label their super tuscans with the DOCG designation, still market their wines as IGT. Perhaps this is to preserve any brand recognition that has built up. It's not clear to me whether or not Villa Antinori (the wine we're discussing here, in case you've forgot) is one such wine. Its foreign grape composition of 45% seems to be above the DOCG maximum limit of 20%, so perhaps it can only be classified as an IGT wine.

To me, this wine tastes like a Chianti, and a good one at that. It has a rich, fruity nose with the familiar tar scent common to many (quality) Italian wines, and has a sort of full palate that makes the less expensive supermarket Chiantis I've blogged about (i.e. Piccini) on here seem lightweight by comparison. Although robust, this is still a fairly easy drinking wine and I would have it with the usual sort of pizza/pasta type food.

Villa Antinori Toscana IGT 2005
Tuscany, Italy

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