Wine and Culture: Carmignano DOCG

Carmignano

In the previous posts, we mentioned many superb Tuscan wines but there are still so many more worth mentioning.

One such is the excellent Carmignano DOCG Tuscan wine, the favourite of Cosimo III de’ Medici (1642-1723).

The Carmignano wine region is located about 16 kilometres northwest of Florence, around the city of Carmignano.

Wine has been produced in this region since Etruscan times, and it has been noted for the excellent quality of its wine since the Middle Ages.

The first written document to mention Carmignano dates back to 1396, and it pertained to a large order of this great wine.

In the 17th century, Carmignano was also mentioned by the famous poet Francesco Redi (1626-1697) in his ‘Bacco in Toscana’ in which he compliments its quality.

But I think the most interesting fact about this excellent wine is that it can be considered a precursor to the Super Tuscans, as wine makers began to blend the Tuscan Sangiovese grape with Cabernet imported from France by the Medici family from the 17th century onwards. Up until today the Cabernet is still called ‘uva Francesca’ – ‘French grape’ – in this zone.

The year of 1716 was important for Carmignano wine, as this was when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’ Medici, issued an edict identifying the areas of Tuscany (Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Val d’Arno di Sopra) that produced the highest quality wine and determined the boundaries within which these wines could be produced. This edict can be considered a forerunner to the concept of the future DOC classification.

On 28 April 1975, Carmignano wine was awarded an autonomous DOC – as the first case when the use of Cabernet as a blend was officially sanctioned – and in 1990 it was upgraded to a DOCG wine.

According to the regulation of production of the Consorzio Carmignano, a Carmignano DOCG wine must be made of at least 50% Sangiovese grape, and it can comprise a maximum of 20% Canaiolo Nero, 10-20% Cabernet Frank and/or Cabernet Sauvignon, a maximum of 10% Trebbiano Toscano and/or Canaiolo Bianco, and/or Malvasia del Chianti.

The aging period for Carmignano DOCG is 1 year, and it needs at least 2 years for Riserva.

The Carmignano DOC still exists, but it is used for Vin Santo and Rosé wines.

 

Picture:

Camignano, Italy- flickr

MyWineTour App is available

 

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In the first blog post, we mysteriously referred to the fact that the MyWineTour team was working on something special to help you during your wine region holiday.

So now, we can proudly announce that the MyWineTour App is available for download on the App Store.

MyWineTour is a unique, innovative app that has been specifically designed for you when visiting wine regions.

MyWineTour is your personal wine expert, tour organiser and navigator all in one mobile app that will take you on personalised wine tours according to your taste and preferences.

MyWineTour contains up-to-date winery and wine information, including news about awards or recent vintage releases. Simply set your preferences (varietals, price level, spoken languages and others) and MyWineTour will show you the best-suited wineries near you and recommend personalised wine tours within seconds.

MyWineTour currently brings you the Tuscany region in Italy, but new countries and regions will be added on an ongoing basis.

So are you planning to visit a wine region? Or do you just love wine and technology? Download MyWineTour, meet with friendly winemakers, try lovely wines and have fun! And give us your feedback please, because your opinions and suggestions are precious for us!

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Happy Tasting!

MyWineTour Team

Wine and Grape: The Sangiovese

Sangiovese

In the previous posts we discussed at length about Tuscany’s most significant wines – Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti Rufina and the Super Tuscans; now, let’s see the most fundamental component of these superstars – this most excellent grape and Italy’s pride – Sangiovese.

The Sangiovese grape is one of the most famous and most popular grapes in Italy, and is, in fact, the most widely planted grape variety on the Peninsula. It is mainly cultivated from central Italy to Rome and Lazio, and it is the traditional grape variety in Tuscany.

The origin of Sangiovese is uncertain. It is likely that the Etruscans were already familiar with this grape variety and they spread it through their trading routes; later on, it became a cultivated grape for Roman winemaking.

The most popular theory suggests that the name Sangiovese refers to the Roman God Jupiter. According to legend, the name ‘sanguegiovese’ (Sangue di Giove) meaning ‘Blood of Jove’ was given by a Capuchin monk of Santarcangelo monastery in Emilia-Romagna.

However, the first official records dates back to the 16th century, when the Florentine agronomist, Giovanni Vettorio Soderini (1526-1596) identified the grape as ‘Sangiogheto’ in his ‘La coltivazione dell viti’.

The Sangiovese grape only began to gain widespread attention and recognition throughout Tuscany in the 18th century, when it along with other varieties such as Malvasina and Trebbiano became the most widely planted grapes in Tuscany.

In 1872, the late prime minister and wine maker, Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880) created the first modern recipe of the Sangiovese-based Chianti wine, blending 70% Sangiovese with 20% Canaiolo and 10% Malvasia or Trebbiano.

Other excellent Sangiovese-based wines, such as Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, also began growing in popularity from the end of the 19th century.

The quality of Sangiovese wine was variable, but the quality has increased significantly since the 1980s thanks to improved winemaking techniques; also, the introduction of the DOC classification in 1963 made the regulations clear.

After an interesting historical past, by the 1980s more and more Tuscan winemaker began their own experiments on their Sangiovese wines outside of the DOC/DOCG regulations. We now call those wines Super Tuscans and we can consider them as the Sangiovese’s modern incarnations. Since 1992, the Super Tuscans have been labelled IGT wines, which gives a certain freedom to the winemakers.

The Sangiovese grape was also brought to California in the late 19th century, and it has also now become more and more popular there, partly due to the international success of the Super Tuscans.

Wine and Info: VdT, IGT, DOC and DOCG Italian wines

Valpolicella DOCG wine

If you pick up a bottle of Italian wine, you’ll likely find one of these designations somewhere on the label. But what do they mean?

Back in the 1960s, some Italian winemakers followed their French counterparts and took their first steps towards determining quality standards for Italian wines and classifying regional wines according to the local wine making traditions. Thanks to their efforts, a 4-class wine ranking system was introduced by the Italian Government.

The DOC category was introduced in 1963 – as was the DOCG though it only began to be used from 1982 – followed by the IGT category in 1992.

DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) means controlled and guaranteed designation of origin. DOCG represents the highest classification for Italian wines. It ensures controlled production methods, guaranteed wine quality and geographic authenticity.

There are severe rules to be adhered to in producing DOCG wines such as the grape variety, winemaking procedures and barrel/bottle maturation.

Every DOCG wine is tested officially and the bottles have a numbered government seal across the neck.

There are fewer than 80 DOCG Italian wines; among them we can find some of Italy’s top wines, such as Barolo, Brunello or Chianti Classico.

DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) means controlled designation of origin. Wines marked with DOC are analysed and produced in a specific region in Italy according to the local winemaking rules and traditions.

In Italy, there are around 330 individual DOC titles. Those that are of a consistently high quality become eligible for promotion to DOCG status.

IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) means typical regional wine. The IGT classification focuses more on the wine’s region of origin than the grape varieties or wine style. The IGT designation was created to give a certain freedom to Italian winemakers who couldn’t meet all the DOC or DOCG regulations but were still producing excellent wines. The Super Tuscans are characteristic of IGT wines.

VdT (Vino da Tavola) means Table Wine and represents the lowest and most basic level of Italian wine.

This category had a certain prestige in the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to the experimental and professional winemakers who produced top quality red wine outside of the official classification system, under the VdT title. After the introduction of the IGT category, the VdT returned to its original status in signifying the lowest level of Italian wines.