Argiano 2013 Solengo Red Wine (94JS)
- Size: 750ml
- Item Code: 716898940082
- Vintage: 2013
Solengo is a modern, well-balanced and full-bodied wine. It is deep, dark purple in color with a bouquet of ripe fruit, such as blackcurrants and blackberries, with a hint of toasted oak. It is smooth on the palate, with a great concentration of excellent fruit, nicely balanced with delicate, soft tannins. The structure and complexity in the mouth are outstanding, tempered by excellent tannic extracts. This high-profile blend has evident Mediterranean characteristics and a sunny nature. Its grace and delicacy mean that it can be drunk while young, yet it also has a remarkable ageing capacity.
I have been a fan of Solengo since the mid-1990s. The 2013 vintage shows great generosity in its ripe fruit, with currant and stone character, a firm undertone of tannins and a flavorful finish. Try in 2018 but already very attractive to taste. (JS)
Tuscany is one of the first wine regions in Europe. It is also one of Italy’s top wine producing regions (after Piedmont). Despite producing many wine varieties, Tuscany is best known for: Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, and Carmignano.
Chianti Classico is also the region where most Super Tuscans are produced. SuperTuscans are the untraditional Italian wines that use Cabernet Sauvignon as a blend. The IGT classification was created to recognize their quality.
Italy is the home to many grape varietals including Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Corvina, Garganega, and Trebbiano. Italian wines are distinctive in that their reds carry a salivating sweet-sour or even bitter taste. Their whites are bone-dry and neutral.
Being the most diverse wine producing country, Italy has thousands of wine varieties and over 300 DOGs. We will focus on the three key regions: Piedmont in the northwest, Veneto in the northeast, and central Tuscany. We will also take a quick look at Southern Italy. Just like Southern France, it is a region with potential.
Italian Wine Regions:
- Piedmont – Nebbiolo
- Tre Venezie (Veneto) – Many including Garganega, Trebbiano & Corvina
- Tuscany – Sangiovese
- Southern – Many regional grapes
Italy’s quality designation system is similar to France’s. It classifies wine into 4 levels of quality:
- Vino da Tavola: Literally means “table wine”. This is the lowest quality category. Minimal (or no) regulation is imposed on this category. For example, vintage date is not required. Also, there can be no association to region.
- Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT): Like the French’s Vin de Pays — takes the characters of a specific region. This category was created to include quality wine produced in a DOC region but does not comply with its criteria. For example, SuperTuscans (Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon) would fall under this category.
- Denominazione D’Origine Controllata (DOC): Wine subjects to rigid regional regulations on grape variety, yields per hectare, aging requirement, and vinification methods.
- Denominazione D’Origine Controllata E Garantita (DOCG): A category for the most prestigious subregions in the DOC. Distinctive style, appellation reputation, and commercial success are the additional criteria.
Italian classification system has gone through rounds of improvement. Compared to France where one-third of the wine produced falls into the AOC category, only 14% of Italian wine is qualified DOC/DOCG. There are 300 DOCs and ~32 DOCGs. The majority (over 75%) of Italian wine falls in the vino da tavola category.
Useful Wine Label Knowledge
There are different ways to name an Italian bottle. Good to know when reading Italian wine labels:
- DOC and DOCG wines can be named in two ways:
- By appellation; for example Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino.
- By varietal (or color for blends) plus the region of origin. For example, “Nebbiolo d’Alba” is the label name for a wine made from the Nebbiolo grape in the Alba region. Likewise “Rossi di Montalcino” is a red wine made from blended grapes in Montalcino.
- A wine label with minimal information (just a brand name and color) hints that it is a basic table wine.
- Classico indicates a more prestigious region for the grape. Valpolicella Classico, for instance, is the region known for superior Valpolicella.
- Riserva and Superiore do not assure quality. Riserva implies additional aging and superiore means higher alcohol level. Given that Italy has 300 DOCs, these words are informative but definitely not indicative on the quality of wine.