Producer: Marchesi Antinori
Region/Appellation: Toscana IGT
Country Hierarchy: Tuscany, Italy
Grape/Blend: Cabernet – Sangiovese
Food Suggestion: Beef and Venison
Wine Style: Red – Bold and Structured
Alcohol Content: 12 – 14%
Notes: Indicative blend: 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc.
Toscana IGT Wine
Toscana IGT is the most famous – and the most commonly used – of Italy’s Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) titles. The geographical region it indicates is, in short, Tuscany. Toscana IGT wines can be made in any village in any of Tuscany’s 10 provinces (Arezzo, Firenze, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena).
Free from the stylistic constraints imposed on DOCG and DOC wines, Toscana IGT wines can be made in almost every form imaginable, from bone-dry whites to sweet reds and sparkling rosés. Naturally, given Tuscany’s longstanding success with dry red wine, this style is by far the most common.
The coat of arms of Toscana
Tuscany is the home of Italy’s most famous IGT category not just because it produces more IGT wine than any other region, but also because it was the famous ‘Super Tuscan’ wines made here that led to the creation of the category.
When the Italian DOC system was introduced in the 1960s, it proved less efficient than the French system on which it was modeled, and it was certainly less well-received. Many Italian wine producers found the new rules too restrictive and openly criticized the system. A number of these, most notably in Tuscany, chose to continue making their wines as they saw fit, focusing on quality and individuality rather than conforming to their local DOC laws. The price of this freedom was having to label their wines as Vino da Tavola (‘table wine’), the lowest tier in Italy’s wine classification system.
During the late 1960s, a number of these rebel producers began making modern-styled wines of very high quality – which later became known as the ‘Super Tuscans’. These soon gained international acclaim and respect and began increasing dramatically in price. The result was that some of Italy’s very finest and most respected wines were being labeled and sold as Vino di Tavola. In 1984, one of the most famous Super Tuscans – Sassicaia – was granted its very own DOC title, DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, but further measures were required to address the other wines.
To bring a degree of balance to the situation, in 1992 the Italian government introduced a new wine classification category: Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). This has successfully introduced a mid-ground between the highly regulated DOCG and DOC classifications and the lowly, unregulated Vino di Tavola one. IGT wines are created with the bare minimum of restrictions required to ensure quality wine production: they bear a vintage statement and producer name, they must be made from at least 85% of the grape variety, and the region of origin must be stated on the label. Almost every other restriction placed on IGT wine production falls back to generic regulations in force for all wines made within the EU.
The IGT category is used only in Italy; its equivalent in France is VDP (Vin de Pays). At a European Union-wide level, these two correspond to IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée/ Indicazione Geografica Protetta).
The range and diversity of IGT wines continue to expand and evolve in the early 21st Century. The category has freed Italian wine producers from the constraints of tradition, allowing them to produce wines for the modern palate and – arguably more important – for global export markets.
Cabernet – Sangiovese blended wines are one of the success stories of 20th-Century Italian winemaking. In the 1960s and 1970s, enterprising producers from Tuscany began to experiment with the Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (as well as Merlot), blending it with the region’s staple Sangiovese variety. Nowadays, the blend represents modern Italian winemaking, making up some of Italy’s most famous wines.
The blend balances the distinctive black-cherry and wild-berry flavors of Sangiovese against the structure and power of Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc also occasionally appears in the blend, adding depth and spicy elegance. Acid and tannins are seldom lacking in these wines and, with appropriate barrel maturation, they can age well for many years.
Cabernet and Sangiovese blends
Sangiovese is one of Italy’s most famous (and widely planted) varieties, used in the revered Brunello di Montalcino wines as well as in the popular wines of Chianti. Cabernet Sauvignon, a native of France’s Bordeaux region, arrived in northern Italy sometime in the early 19th Century, during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, with initial plantings located near the French border in Piedmont and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. A few decades later, when phylloxeraravaged many of Italy’s vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon was often used to replace lost native vines.
Cabernet – Sangiovese wines are produced extensively as IGTs in Tuscany, and are known under the famous (if unofficial) title of Super Tuscan. This particular blend (often with the inclusion of Merlot) changed the face of Italy’s appellation system: as the Bordeaux varieties were not permitted in any of Tuscany’s DOC and DOCG level wines, they were labeled as Vino da Tavola, or table wine. This situation led to the development of the IGT system (which is closely aligned to France’s IGP category). In 1994, the Bolgheri DOC was established, giving Cabernet – Sangiovese wines their first DOC.
The blend has its roots in Italy, but has proven so popular that it has spread across the world, particularly into the vineyards of Australia and the US. The blend is used most prominently in California, but Cabernet – Sangiovese wines are also made further afield in Texas, Arizona and Washington.
Food matches for Cabernet – Sangiovese wines include:
- Classic lasagne
- Texan barbecue
- Slow-roasted pork with white-bean mash
(sources : wine-searcher)