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Wines of Tuscany
In Italy, wines are labeled DOCG,DOC,IGT, or VDT (Vino da Tavola/table wine). In theory, these are descending quality levels with the most restrictions applied to DOCG winemaking and fewest to Vino da Tavola. However, an increasing number of respected Italian winemakers—particularly in Tuscany— avoid government regulations by making topquality wine but labeling it IGT or Vino da Tavola.

Wines of Tuscany
Supertuscan wines are an interesting recent phenomenon. In the 1970s, some modern-thinking winemakers in Tuscany began making wines using grape varieties and methods that didn't meet the DOCG or DOC requirements.They labeled them table wine (VDT). Despite this traditionally lower classification, these wines took the world by storm, stirring enthusiasm that exists to this day, and fetching high prices.

Wines of Tuscany
Supertuscan wines are usually blends of French and Italian grape varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. They are also frequently matured in small oak barrels to create more complexity.

Wines of Tuscany
Though you will never see the word Supertuscan on a label, wines known to be of this genre include Sassicaia, Tignanello, Siepi, Vigna d'Alceo, and Masseto.

Wines of Tuscany
I was blown away the first time I tasted Tignanello, which was at La Famiglia restaurant in London. This wine is a rich, smooth, mouth-coating elixir of black cherry, vanilla, chocolate, and earth. Delicious with a plate of angel hair pasta, Parmesan Reggiano, and freshly grated white truffle. Yum.

Wines of Tuscany
Chianti is a region in Tuscany that makes a wine by the same name. It's always made from Sangiovese grapes and tastes of cherries.A wine labeled Chianti Classico means the wine comes from grapes grown in the original center of the Chianti region, recognized for having the best soils for growing Sangiovese.

Wines of Tuscany
In 1716, the Grand Duke of Tuscany issued an edict officially recognizing the boundaries of the Chianti district.This proclamation was the world's first legal document defining a wine production zone. Chianti Classico is therefore the world's first ever legally demarcated wine region and the original boundaries remain today.

Wines of Tuscany
Chianti Classico's wines are identifiable by an image of a Black Rooster on the bottle.The Black Rooster guarantees the wine's authenticity and verifies that it has passed strict quality controls.

Wines of Tuscany
Chianti Classico's black rooster symbol dates back to the Middle Ages. Legend has it that the behavior of a black rooster decided the zone's political fate. The Chianti territory fell between to the two medieval republics of Florence and Sienna. Both places wanted control of the region so it became a theater of almost continuous clashes. Tiring of the turf wars, the two cities agreed to define their boundaries via an unusual contest between two horsemen, one from each city. The frontiers would be drawn at the point where the riders met after setting out at cockcrow from their respective cities. Each city selected a rooster as their "starter pistol." Sienna selected a pampered white rooster plump from its rich diet and used to the usual dawn crowing; Florence chose a black rooster that was fed very little and kept in darkness so it was unaware of sunrise or sunset. On the appointed day, the black rooster awoke long before dawn with a rumbling stomach to crow for its breakfast. As a result the Florentine rider set off early and met the Sienna horseman at Fonterutoli, just a few miles from Sienna, thereby earning the largest share of the Chianti Classico region for Florence.

Wines of Tuscany
The unique terroir of Chianti Classico gives the wine a distinct violet aroma. The violet characteristic is found most prominently in the more premium Chianti Classico Riservas such as those from Vicchiomaggio, Fontodi, Barone Ricasoli, or Castello di Fonterutoli.

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