Monday, December 26, 2011

Monte Antico Toscana (2007)

IGT.  If you google that acronym, you are most likely find the American company that specializes in developing, manufacturing and distributing gaming equipment.  All of that is fine and good if you are looking to buy slot machines.  However, if you are like me and are trying to learn more about wine, then IGT means "Indicazione Geografica Tipica," one of the classifications established by the Italian government.   

These wines got this classification because of a "failing" on their part, namely, the wines fail to qualify for one of the two big classifications (DOC and DOCG) for Italian wine.  This failing is usually because of the blend of grapes used to produce the wine or because of where those grapes are grown.  Despite such a "failing," if you can really call it that, some of these wines are of high quality and are much more than any Vino da Tabola or red table wine.  (Personally, I think some of these wines are better than some DOC and DOCG wines out there.)  Therefore, in 1992, the Italian government created the IGT designation to give these particular wines their proper due.

One such "IGT" wine is the Monte Antico, which is a blend produced in Italy.  According to the label, this blend is the "result of the synergy" between Italian wine dspecialist Neil Empson and renowned winemaker Franco Bernabei.  Empson and Bernabei say that they pick the finest grapes from the best Tuscan hillsides.  The wine is aged 1 year in oak barrels and then six months in the bottle.

The Monte Antico is an interesting blend of fruity grapes, like Sangiovese, with darker, earthier grapes such as Cabernet Savignon.  In fact, the exact blend of the wine is 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot grapes.  these proportions have a lot to do with the appearance, aroma and taste of the wine.  The wine pours a dark crimson red. The wine has aromas of red cherries, with a little floral element to it.  These aromas clearly remind the drinker that the Sangiovese grapes are the predominant grape in this blend.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes contribute to the taste of the wine, providing some additional layers beyond the cherry flavors provided by the Sangiovese grapes.  There is a little earthiness in the background.  

Given the high percentage of Sangiovese grapes, this wine could be paired much like a Chianti.  More specifically, this wine could be paired with pastas with red sauces, as well as roasted chicken and pork dishes.   The Monte Antico could also be paired well with any of the hard cheeses from Tuscany, such as the Pecorino Toscano. 

The magazine Wine Enthusiast gives this vintage a score of 88, which is very respectable. This wine is available at most wine stores and grocery stores for about $8.99 to $10.99 a bottle. 


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