IGT vs. DOC ~ Wrestling with the Question

Adam Lechmere wrote recently in Decanter, “IGT and DOC divide Italian wine world”. It seems the Italian wine world is all a dither over an internal debate over the pros and cons of DOC vs. IGT wines. Bravo, Adam, for reporting this.

I respect Cotarella for what he has done in the Italian wine landscape. Spend a day with him and one realizes here is a man who is deeply respectful of terroir.  Chioccioli and Ferrini are also winemakers who look out over many types of land, with clients both traditional and new age. Years ago when they put Cabernet in with Sangiovese in Carmignano, did that not cause raised eyebrows? Could we imagine Italy without Carmignano today? We’d all be the poorer for it.

Are we not talking about the possibility, the promise of the land? Do we really care what title the wine has after its name?
I recently spent an afternoon with Castello Banfi’s founder, John Mariani ( whose estate makes both IGT and DOC wines at a high level) and one senses the passion this man has also for the land.

Brunello wine, 30 years ago, was a disaster. The fields were in disarray, the hilltop villagers were some of the poorest people in Italy. An American buys up the river bottom land and starts cranking up his dream. Everyone in Tuscany gets all riled up. Then, money and jobs and tourism start infusing the region with energy and life and enthusiasm. It was always there, but it took an outsider to scrape off the barnacles of bias. And folks start looking at their land with new respect, in a new light. 30 years later Montalcino is one of the wealthiest hilltop towns in Italy. And again, Brunello is king.

So someone in Grossetto or Bolgheri sees that their land can make incredible Cabernet or Merlot. Or Syrah. And folks visit and see that this place is like a Santa Barbara in California, it’s gorgeous and filled with potential.

And now a recent traditionalist attitude, similar to one that almost prevented the area where it came from into flowering, now someone there, in Montalcino nonetheless, is saying this can’t be done?

Balderdash! It’s a free market, folks, and it’s part of the progress of progress, you can’t stop it and you can’t put a leash on it. Because it’s coming from the land. The terroir is talking to these winemakers and farmers and it’s a good thing.

This is a bit like the standoff between Fatah and Hamas. Can’t we all get along?
We had better spend more time explaining Italian wines to wine drinkers around the world and not get all caught up with infighting.

IGT, DOC, VDT, BFD. I dont care if it’s in a box with a straw, if it’s well made and honest. I’m looking for Heart and Soil.

To use the words of my friends Iris and David, I’m just saying….

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