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This Week on Wine Time™ WineGuyMike™ – How to understand Italian Wine Labels

Join me live for Wine Time™ with WineGuyMike™ on ABC Montana. Wine Time airs bi-monthly on Friday’s during the 5:30PM news cast.  The next feature airs on 09/27/2013.

 

 

Today we are going to talk about Italian Red wine and how to better understand what’s on the label.  For many wine lovers this is one of those areas of the world that can be a bit daunting to understand, and that’s where I come in.  It’s my job to help you better understand challenging wine topics so you can enjoy the wine that we talk about here on the show.

Okay let’s get started; Italy has been producing wine for 3,000 years.  It is said that Italy is not a country, just a gigantic vineyard from North to South.  There are over 2 thousand labels of wine in Italy, that’s a lot of bottles to know about.  Did you know that since 2008 Italy reins as the largest producer of wine in the world?

We are not going to tackle all of Italy in one week.  When it comes to red Italian wine there are three main regions to concentrate on first, Tuscany, Piedmont, and the Veneto regions.

There are literally hundreds of indigenous grape varietals planted throughout Italy, many which we have not ever heard of in America.  The main grapes that a person needs to know about to get started with Italian wines from these three regions are; In Tuscany the Italians grow Sangiovese, in Piedmont they grow Nebbiolo, and in the Veneto region a grape known as Corvina is what is grown.

Many grape growers in Italy now are growing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  Many American viticulture areas of America likewise are growing Italian varietals of grapes too.  Just to name a couple; In the Napa Valley some grape farmers are growing Barbara grapes, in Walla Walla some farmers grow Sangiovese grapes.  Grape varietals know no boundaries; the worlds grape farmers now better understand ideal geography, weather, and soil composition that grape varietals thrive in.

Let’s take a look at how the Italian wine laws dictate what ends up in your Italian bottle of wine.  Just like there are three Red wine regions to pay attention to first begin to understand Italian wines there are three Italian wine law designations one should understand as well.

Grape growers are governed by Italian law or what is known as the DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata and DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.  You will see this printed on the label of Italian wines.  There are many Italian wines that do not adhere to wine specifications within particular regions and these wines will be designated on their label as IGT – Indicazione Geografica.

IGT Label

IGT Label

DOC designations on a win bottle are much like that of French AOC wine laws, you will also see this designation on bottles of French wines.  The biggest difference between the DOC and AOC is that the Italian DOC has aging requirements.

The DOC governs:

  • Geographical limits of each region
  • Grapes varieties allowed in wines
  • The percentage of each grape used (Classico must be 80% Sangiovese) If the varietal is specified it must contain 85% of varietal
  • The amount of grapes that can be grown and harvested per acre
  • The minimum percentage of alcohol in a wine
  • Minimum aging requirements.  How much time a wine is aged in barrels or bottles
  • These wine laws became effective in 1963 in Italy

The difference between the DOC and DOCG is that the G in DOCG indicates that a wine is stylistically guaranteed to meet the standards set forth in Italian wine laws for specific regions.

DOCG Label

DOCG Label

Currently there are 35 DOCG wines in Italy, 7 from the Tuscany region and 9 from the Piedmont region.  There are over 300 DOC wines from Italy and many more wines that are designated IGT which just means they do not adhere to the standards set forth for a given region in which they are grown.  There are many great examples of all of these wines and you typically pay for the guarantee.  There are great IGT wines that do not adhere to the wine laws in the region or area in which they are grown, you just have to know what you are buying, but hey that’s why you keep me around.

 

Arrivederci for now wine friends, enjoy the great  valued wine selections at the Market on Front.  You will find these two terrific wine selections there, and many more.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© The Missoula Winery and Event Center

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 11:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast and full length conversation with Kevin Van Dort VP of Sales and Events at the Missoula Winery and Event Center; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/08/wine-guy-mike-for-july-8/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This weeks show and blog post is a best of show from earlier this year.

I had the pleasure of hosting featured guests Frederique Leiritz, aka “Frenchie,” and Kevin Van Dort from the Missoula Winery and Event Center.  The winery is owned by Phillipe and Frederique Leiritz, both whom are from France.  Kevin a very well known local blues musician is Vice President of sales and events.

Frenchie, Kevin, and I sat down in the studio this week and tasted through the flight of Marc Raphael wines, The Missoula Red, and Roller Girl Red.  The Marc Raphael wines are named for the Leiritzes son Marc, while the Missoula Red or as it is better known as “Soul Red” was blended to capture the spiritual soul of the musician and artist.  The Roller Girl Red a wine honoring Missoula’s own all girl roller derby team, the Hellgate Roller Girls, a very popular team and activity indeed.

Sustainability is a core value of the Missoula Winery whether they’re reclaiming lumber from the old Liberty Lanes bowling alley to build the outdoor concert venue at the winery or recycling wine bottles to use to for their own wine bottling.  The Missoula Winery family really is sustainable minded but also applies sustainability in very practical ways.

Family and community are very important to the Missoula Winery.  It’s refreshing to see relatively new members of the Missoula community have such an impact.  The winery frequently has events benefiting people or causes at the winery or they are supporting events happening throughout the community. 

If you like music and wine, the Missoula Winery is the place for you.  This family friendly atmosphere is a great place to bring the family, enjoy some wine and listen to great music.  For a schedule of the excellent entertainment and events going on at the winery please visit the wineries website; http://www.missoulawinery.com/ .  The tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 2-7 PM and Sunday’s 2-5 PM, these are their summertime hours.

Wines at the Missoula Winery are very good.  I have been tasting wines that winemaker/owner Frenchie has made over the last three years and the wines have evolved significantly.  It was a real treat to taste through the flight of wines from the Missoula Winery this week.

Please stop out and visit the Missoula Winery which is located just six minutes from downtown via I-90.  You can taste all of their wines while enjoying a barbeque, game of French Bocce Ball (Petunque), or taking in a wide array of musical talent performing regularly at the winery.  

I want to thank Frenchie and Kevin for joining me on the show this week to share their wines and passion for the community we call home, Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

Some of the wine selections from today’s show are available today at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week On The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Learn About Champagne And Sparkling Wine

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast on Champagne and Sparkling Wines; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/11/11/wine-guy-mike-for-november-11/

Youtube preview from this week’s show;

Last week’s podcast on Merlot and  The Connoisseurs’ Classic & Auction; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/11/04/wine-guy-mike-for-november-4th/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link; http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhee

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week WineGuyMike™ is going to be talking about the differences between Champagne and Sparkling Wine as a prelude to next week’s show.  Next week I will be joined by my special featured guest, Jamie Stewart, who is the Brand Ambassador for Ferrari Sparkling wines.  Ferrari began with a man, Giulio Ferrari, and with his dream of creating a wine in Italy inspired by the very finest French Champagne and Jamie will be sharing that story with us on next week’s show.

What is the difference between Champagne and Sparkling wine?  Well let’s take a look and find out.  Sparkling wines and champagne are still wines that have been infused with carbonation. True Champagne is made in France will be noted by the capital letter “C”on the label.  Other sparkling wines called Champagne will by designated as “champagne”, notice no capitalization. Three grapes are used in Champagne, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.  It’s white because only the juice of the grapes is used.

There are four methods of Sparkling wine production:

1. Carbon Dioxide Injection – soft drinks and inexpensive sparkling wines are produced using this method.  It produces large bubbles that dissipate quickly.

2. Charmat Process – wine undergoes a second fermentation in large bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.  Prosecco and Asti are produced utilizing this method, smaller longer lasting bubbles result from this method.  Many Sparkling wines are made using this method.

3. Méthode Champenoise – this process takes place in the bottle and requires hands on attention.  During the second fermentation the carbon dioxide stays in the bottle and this is where the bubbles come from.

4. Transfer Method – the cuvee is bottled for the second fermentation which adds complexity.  But the wine is then removed and stored in large tanks after it has spent the appropriate amount of time on yeast.

Champagne: The Champagne region of France not only produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world, but some of the finest wines in the world too.  Typically there is three grapes used in the blend for sparkling wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.  Different vintages are used to create the blend or better known as the “Cuvee”.

Champagne is expensive due to the traditional method of how it is made, Méthode Champenoise and techniques known as second fermentation.  This process takes place in the bottle and requires hands on attention.

Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins, truly a delight.  Méthode Champenoise is the true French fermentation process, this wine is fermented twice, once in an oak barrel, and it is during the second fermentation that the wine develops carbonation in the bottle and is aged for a minimum of one year.

Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape using the Méthode Champenoise process, producing white Champagne.

Designations of quality:

Prestige cuvee; This Champagne is the highest priced and is available only in small quantities.  It is designated “Prestige” because the grapes come from the best grapes from the highest rated villages, it is made from the first pressing of the grapes, produced only as a vintage, and will have been aged longer than vintage and non-vintage Champagnes.

Vintage Champagne; Some select years produce an outstanding grape harvest.  The Vintage Champagnes are aged for at least three years.

Remember a Vintage Champagne will be identified by an actual year marked on the label, but expect to pay a premium for this.

Non-Vintage Champagne; The majority of Sparkling wine on the shelf of a store is non-vintage.  These are a blend of wines aged for two years.

How to Select your Champagne

Brut is Dry, Extra Dry is Semidry, Sec is Semisweet, and Demi-sec is Sweet.

Other sparkling wine Regions:

Loire Valley of France produces Crémant, while the Asti region of Italy produces Asti Spumanti, and Prosecco comes from the Veneto region.  The Catalonia region of Spain produces the world’s most popular sparkling wine, Cava.

Prosecco is an Italian wine, generally a dry sparkling wine, usually made from grape variety Glera, which is also known as Prosecco.  The Veneto region of Italy is where Glera/ Prosecco is grown and produced.

Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either the fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) styles.  Prosecco spumante, which has undergone a full secondary fermentation, is the more expensive style.  The various sparkling wines may contain some Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio wine.  Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle consequently the wine goes off or gets old quickly and should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within one year.

Prosecco is Italy’s answer to refreshing, well-made, sparkling wine that is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent by volume.  Created from predominately Prosecco grapes in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps.  Prosecco is light, affordable, and fun.  This Sparkling wine is aromatic and crisp, with nuances of yellow apple, citrus, pear, white peach, and apricot.  Today’s Proseccos tend to be  dry and very bubbly and typically will present itself as light, fresh, with an initial intense bouquet/aroma, but simple and straight forward compared to Champagne.

Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method, the French method of making sparkling wine.  The Charmat method is a second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in individual bottles.  The shorter, tank fermentation is preferable for Prosecco because it preserves the freshness and the flavor of the grapes.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine with a mellow effervescence.  It is produced in the province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has low alcohol content usually around 8%.  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and for my palette I find these wines to be more refined than the Asti Spumante.

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Originally the wine was known as Champaña until Spanish producers officially adopted the term “Cava” (cellar) in 1970.  Cava wines are fermented and aged in the bottle in underground cellars.   Today 95% of Spain’s total Cava production is from Catalonia.

Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  Under Spanish Denominación de Origen laws, Cava can be produced in six wine regions and must be made according to the Traditional Method with second fermentation in the bottle.  The grapes used to produce Cava are Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Malvasia.  The Chardonnay grape is a late comer to the scene despite being a traditional grape used to produce Champagne.  It was not introduced in the production of Cava until the 1980s.

In order for the wines to be called ‘Cava’, they must be made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise.  Wines made via the low-cost Charmat process may only be called ‘Spanish sparkling wine’.   A rosé style of Cava is also produced by adding in small amounts of red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha or Monastrell to the wine.

Cava made by the Champagne method, is a very acceptable alternative to French champagne.  Cava is usually made by the Coupage method, whereby must, a.k.a(grape juice) from different grape varieties is subjected to the first fermentation which is blended until it  is consistent with the wine that the winemaker wants to produce .  After the Coupage, the wine is put into bottles and yeast and sugar added.  It is then cellared for the second fermentation and aging.

Crémant is produced in the Loire Valley of France and is the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region.  Crémant has to be aged for at least one year and it is handpicked.  The producers are also limited as to how much can be harvested, this all according to the French A.O.C.

Crémant de Loire’s are a blend of the Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. In Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne, must be composed of at least thirty percent Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris while Aligoté is often used to complement the blend.  The Languedoc region in the south of France produces Crémant de Limoux.  This Sparkling wine is produced from the indigenous grape Mauzac, with Chenin blanc, and Chardonnay rounding out the wine in small amounts.

The Crémant Sparkling Wines are pressurized less than Champagne and therefore have a larger looser bubble but are still terrific to drink.

Thank you for joining me once again and be sure not to miss next week’s show as Jamie Stewart the Brand Ambassador for Ferrari Sparkiling Wines joins me live on the Trail 1033 & u 104.5 FM, you can also live stream; http://bit.ly/pVLaBr

In the meantime please try these nice wines that I recommend, affordable wines for value minded wine lovers. Cheers!

Be sure to visit Liquid Planet, “The Best of Beverage”, in the heart of downtown Missoula, a great selection of wines and wonderful wine shopping experience.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Merlot and The Connoisseurs’ Classic & Auction

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast on Merlot and  The Connoisseurs’ Classic & Auction; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/11/04/wine-guy-mike-for-november-4th/

Youtube preview from this week’s show;

Last week’s podcast Wines From the Veneto Wine Region Of Italy; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/28/wine-guy-mike-for-october-28/ 

Recent week’s podcast The Big Red Wines of Piedmont; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/21/wine-guy-mike-for-october-21/

Recent week’s podcast The Great Wines of Tuscany, Part 2 Italian Wine Series; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/14/wine-guy-mike-for-october-14/

Recent podcast; Understanding the Italian Wine Label Part 1 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/09/wine-guy-mike-for-september-9/

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link; http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhee

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©. This week I’m talking a little bit about this and a little bit about that, just mixing things up.  Each year there is a very important benefit event that occurs in Missoula, Montana, the Connoisseurs’ Classic & Auction.  This year’s benefit marks the sixth annual star-studded event, and when I say star-studded I’m talking about the beverage lineup.  Attendees travel from around the United States to attend this event and when you see the beverage tasting list below you’ll understand why.

I also have a short commentary on one of my favorite grape varietals, Merlot.  Yes the much maligned varietal is making a comeback and I will be sharing my thoughts about this classic underdog that is beginning to trend in the hands of very good winemakers.   In the spirit of the upcoming Presidential election, I’m WineGuyMike and I approve this message.

This year’s Connoisseurs’ Classic & Auction will be held November 9, 2012 at the Sister Rita Mudd Activity Center in Missoula, MT.  Ticket prices are $175 for those of us who will be imbibing but for designated drivers or attendees not consuming alcohol, ticket prices will be $40.  Purchase tickets by calling Child Care Resources at 406.728.6446 or online at; http://www.childcareresources.org/cca  

This annual benefit for Child Care Resources, a nonprofit dedicated to helping kids, fosters their growth into successful adults by enriching the learning environment of their crucial early developmental years.  Proceeds from this event fund CCR’s Hand Up Scholarship, which helps families with otherwise unmet child care needs.  This is a great organization and benefit event that I support each year.

The Connoisseurs’ Classic & Auction is hosted by my friends Kevin Head and Charlie Brown, both experts and connoisseurs’ of wine and Scotch.  Both of these men work diligently throughout the year assembling the star-studded line up of beverages and with the assistance of the staff at Child Care Resources present an amazing array of treasures for the live and silent auction.

This year’s Connoisseurs’ Classic wine tasting list:

•Paul Hobbs, Nico Cobos, 2006, Blend

•Chris Ringland, Premier Three River, 2002, Shiraz

•Chris Ringland, F.U., 2004, Shiraz

•Tenuta De Biserno Bolgheria, Coronato, 2005, Blend

•1996 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto Di Serra Lunga, Nebbiolo, 1996, Nebbiolo

•Hill Family Estate, Double Barrell, 2005, Cab Sav.

•Penefold Grange, 2004, Shiraz

•Molly Dooker, Velvet Glove, 2009, Shiraz

•Schramsberg, Blanc de Noirs, 1998, sparkling

•Spottswoode, Cabernet, 2008

•Aldelsheim, Bryans Creek, 2008, Pinot Noir

•Lokoya, Howell Mountain vineyard, 2007, Cab Sav.

•Colgin, Proprietary Red Estate, 2005, red blend

•Sassicaia Proprietary Red Estate, Tenuta San Guido, 2005, Red Blend

•Harlan Estates, Bond De Vecina, 2006, Red Blend

•Achaval Ferrer, Finca Altamira la Consulta, 2009, Malbec

•Turley, Petite Syrah, 2005

•Trespass Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2009

•Drew Family Cellars, Weir Vineyard, 2009, Pinot Noir

•Guidalberto, 2006 Blend

•Salanquez 2003, Priorat

•Y Rousseau, Milady, 2009 Chardonnay

This year’s Connoisseurs’ Classic Scotch tasting list:

•Aberfeldy, Single Cask, Cask# 3698, 14 year

•Ardbeg 1990, Cask# 86, 16 year

•Arran 1997 Single Cask, Cask# 719

•BenRiach, 30 year

•Bowmore Oloroso, Black 1964, 42 year

•Bunnahabhain, Douglas Laing, 34 year

•Brora, 32 year

•Glenallachie 1972 Directors’ Cut 40-year-old

•Glendronach Grandeur 31-year-old

•Glenfarclas, 40 year

•GlenGloyne, Cask # 354, 24 year

•Glen Moray 1991, 16 Year

•Highland Park Thor, 16 year

•Nikki Single Cask, Coffee, 12 year

•Of Probably Speyside, Douglas Laing, 40 year

•Spirit of Unity 2011, Numerous, Blend

•Springbank 1970, Signatory, 37 year

•Strathisla, Gordon and MacPhail, 30 year

•Wemyss Malt 1990, Mocha Spice, Blend

In August of this year I hosted two of the most charming guests that I have had on one of my WineGuyMike radio shows, Julia McIlvaine and John Colella http://wp.me/p2JY6W-Ny .  Both of these actors starred in the lead roles of “Sideways The Play”.   Yes that Sideways, the movie that literally sent merlot wine sales spiraling downward globally, -2%, and lifted the global sales of pinot noir to the heavens with an increase in sales of 16%.

For the savvy wine consumer this smacks of opportunity, great merlot winemakers didn’t quit making merlot throughout the world just because a movie had tremendous physiological impact on the wine industry worldwide.  What this did mean is that poorly made merlot that would no longer sell was purged from the market place.

Merlot is a classic wine varietal that is medium-bodied, very expressive of its terroir that it is exposed to and grown in.  The merlot grape is very fruit forward and truly express’s nuances of red or dark fruits depending on where it is grown, and how it is made.  The merlot varietal is used as a primary blending grape in Bordeaux wine where it has gained its notoriety worldwide.

Merlot is a very fruit forward grape that is very soft with supple mouth-feel texture.  As a Bordeaux blend this exquisite wine is excellent to drink alone or as an amazing companion to a wide variety of foods. California winemakers are also learning to blend this classic grape too, and I emphasize the word learning.  While they have long produced merlot as a single varietal wine they are now blending with other varietals such as syrah, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon.  There are some very good wines being produced but they are centuries behind the winemakers of Bordeaux and the special touch they have in producing classic Bordeaux wines of incredible quality.

Merlot is making a comeback and you will see more on the shelves of your favorite wine store.  This morning I leave you with two very nice wines that are of exceptional quality, one a blend from Napa Valley and a single vineyard 100% organic merlot from the Columbia Valley of Washington State.  Please enjoy both of these luscious wines from Whitehall Lane and Hedges Estates.

Be sure to visit Liquid Planet, “The Best of Beverage”, in the heart of downtown Missoula, a great selection of wines and wonderful wine shopping experience.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Wines From The Veneto Region Of Italy

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast Wines From the Veneto Wine Region Of Italy; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/28/wine-guy-mike-for-october-28/ 

Last week’s podcast The Big Red Wines of Piedmont; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/21/wine-guy-mike-for-october-21/

Recent week’s podcast The Great Wines of Tuscany, Part 2 Italian Wine Series; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/14/wine-guy-mike-for-october-14/

Recent podcast; Understanding the Italian Wine Label Part 1 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/09/wine-guy-mike-for-september-9/

YouTube preview of Wines From The Veneto Region Of Italy;

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link; http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhee

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to this week’s show and the continuing series of The Great Wines of Italy Part 4.  Last week I shared with you “The Big Red Wines of Piedmont”, we covered a little bit of history of the Piedmont wine region, the indigenous foods, and the various styles of wines the regions produced by  winemakers and the grapes used in making these glorious wines.  If you have missed any of the previous shows of this Italian wines series you can visit my blog at WineGuyMike.com to read the blog posts or listen to the show podcasts.

The Veneto is one of Italy’s largest wine producing regions.  In fact you may have enjoyed some of the wines from this area and not even known it.  Winemakers from this region produce many wines that adorn many of our American dinner tables.  These Veronese wines like Soave, Bardolino, and Valpolicella are very easy drinking wines that are budget minded, just what we love on the WineGuyMike radio show.

The Romans arrived in this area in the second century B.C. and quickly organized it by dividing tracts of land which were then given to locals to then be cultivated.  Romans founded the cities of Padova, Vicenza, and Verona, and named the region Venetia.

The Venetian trade routes connected Asia with Europe created great wealth and spread prosperity throughout the region.  Growing Mulberries and breeding Chinese Silkworms brought prestige and affluence to the locals of this area.  A strong economy in this region allowed Venice to put in place an amazing infrastructure and undertake its great building project that still in place today.

With the Suez Canal opening between the 19th and 20th centuries Venice became an important modern day port city and with vastly improved communications and technology Venice is now a highly sought tourist destination.  The area in and around Venice is known for its outstanding artisan craftsmanship in fabrics, glass, jewelry, wood, and ceramics.

There are 20 DOC’s within the Veneto wine region which is known for quality and quantity both.  The Bardolino, Soave, and Valpolicella are the best known wines from this prolific wine region.  Valipolicella Superiore is produced using the Ripasso winemaking method; this involves adding back the grape skins of one of my favorite Italian wines Amarone to the Valpolicella wine.  This imparts a rich body, texture, and sturdy framework to the Valpolicella Superiore.  Did you know that when you see a bottle of wine designated as Superiore it has been made with special attention, longer aging, and will have more body due to a higher alcohol content in the wine?

I mentioned one of my favorite Italian wines, the Amarone.  What is an Amarone wine?  Amarone is a style of Valpolicella wine made by a special process, using only the ripest Molinara, Corvina, and Rondinella grapes from the top of grape bunches.  When the grapes are harvested they are spread out on straw mats left to raisinate or dry and shrivel.  This is a process similar to that used to produce French Sauternes and German Trockenbeerenauslese wines.  The difference between the French and German dessert and aperitif wines and the Italian Amarone wine is during fermentation the most of all the sugar is fermented.  The result is a very special wine that is full, rich, with a lush mouthfeel, and a higher alcohol content.  The Amarone wine is very special indeed which you are quick to discover when shopping, yes these wines are expensive but for special occasions are very worthy wines. 

Remember when looking at an Italian wine label will note that the label will provide you with three critical pieces of information in the way an Italian wine is named; the grape, the village or the district, and the proprietary name.  this is different from California which provides a grape variety on their label, and a French wine label that classified by region and quality designation.

Decades ago wine that was made in Italy was produced to be consumed locally with the foods common to those areas and regions.  Today with the incorporation of modern winemaking technology Italy is in the business of making and exporting their beautiful wines.  I hope after this series of four shows on Italian wines you will be encouraged to get out of your box and try some Italian wines.  As it has been said way to many times, try it you’ll like it.

I leave you this Sunday morning with some great Italian wine suggestions that are favorites of mine, check them out by visiting my blog at WineGuyMike.com and be sure to visit Liquid Planet, “The Best of Beverage”, in the heart of downtown Missoula, they have a great selection of Italian wines.

An Italian toast to all of you, Salute, my fellow wines lovers, I’ll see you on the radio.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© The Big Red Wines of Piedmont

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast The Big Red Wines of Piedmont; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/21/wine-guy-mike-for-october-21/

Last week’s podcast The Great Wines of Tuscany, Part 2 Italian Wine Series; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/14/wine-guy-mike-for-october-14/

Recent podcast; Understanding the Italian Wine Label Part 1 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/09/wine-guy-mike-for-september-9/

YouTube preview of The Great Wines of Tuscany;

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

My apologies for the delay in today’s post as my internet was down and has just now been restored, thank you for your patience.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  Last month I began a series on Italian wine basics, in Part 1of the Italian wine series began by dissecting Italian wine labels. http://wp.me/p2JY6W-O7 Last week’s radio show explored the Great wines of Tuscany, you can read about it right here; http://wp.me/p2JY6W-Wd

Today as I continue with the series on understanding Italian wines this show focuses on “The Big Reds of Piedmont”.

Piedmont, in Italian, means at the foot of the mountain.  This region located in the northwestern corner of Italy was originally inhabited by Celtic tribes, and later overthrown by the Romans.  Hannibal destroyed the Celtic capital of Taurasia, the Romans then rebuilt the city in the same location.  Today that city is known as Turin.

Piedmont was one of the first Italian regions to embrace the industrial revolution, home to Italian automotive giant Fiat which was founded there in 1899.  Did you know Vermouth was also first introduced in Piedmont?  The classic American martini cocktail takes its name from the best known Italian producer of dry vermouth, Martini & Rossi.

Some of Italy’s best red wines are produced in Piedmont.  Most of the regions grapes are grown on the hillsides of small family estates.  This mountainous and landlocked region is known for big bold red wines. Typical of Old World winemaking the wines of Piedmont are perfect complements to the indigenous foods of the region.  Hearty dishes featuring white truffles, fonduta, a Swiss cheese fondue, pastas, meats, rice, and vegetables are main staples of the Piedmonteses’ diet.

There are 46 different DOC and four DOCG areas within Piedmont which are the Italian wine laws we have talked about in the Part 1 & 2 of this series on Italian wines. The region produces many different styles of wines such as Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Grignolino, Nebbiolo, Malvasia and Asti Spumante.  There are three main grape varietals grown in Piedmont; the Dolcetto, Barbera, and the Nebbiolo.

The Nebbiolo is the main focus of grape growing within the Piedmont region.  Nebbiolo is the main varietal of the famed Barolo, Barbaresco and Gattinara wines.  The derivative word nebbia which means fog is how Nebbiolo received its name.   The Nebbiolo grape develops native yeast that appears as a velvety, whitish coating on the grape skins.  The terroir of the Nebbiolo experiences heavy morning fog and humidity providing ideal growing conditions for this well known grape of Piedmont.

Barolo and Barbaresco are the real power house wines produced in this region, both are made from the Nebbiolo grape but are stylistically different and thus must adhere to D.O.C.G. requirements.  The Barbaresco wine and Barolo must both have a minimum of 12.5% alcohol.  Babaresco is lighter in body and requires two years of aging, one in wood, while the Riserva must have four years of aging.  Barbaresco is an elegant drinking wine.

The Barolo style of wine is much heartier than its Nebbiolo counterpart the Barbaresco.  Barolo wine must be aged at least three years with one of those years in wood.  As a Riserva designated wine Barolo must have five years of aging.  The Barolo style of wine is fuller bodied than a Barbaresco delivering more complexity and flavor to the nose and palate.  The Italian’s do not produce large quantities of either of these Nebbiolo wines, the quantity amounts to a similar production by a mid-sized California winery.

Like other regions of Italy the wines are changing to meet consumer demands.  Many of the wines from this region need five to ten years of aging depending on the wine, wine style, and producer.  Recognizing the world of instant gratification we now live in the winemakers of Piedmont are beginning to produce wines that can be enjoyed at a younger age, I’m not sure this is a good thing but it is what it is.

Here is a great tip from me to you on the best way to experience the wines of Piedmont; start with the lighter style wines like the Barbera and Dolcetto, next move on to a fuller body Barbaresco.  This will then prepare you for the powerful Barolo.  The late great vintner Renato Ratti believed that once you have experienced a great Barolo wine you have arrived as a wine drinker.

Arrivederci for now wine friends, enjoy these great Italian wine selections  at Liquid Planet, “The Best of Beverage”, located in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© The Great Wines of Tuscany

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast The Great Wines of Tuscany, Part 2 Italian Wine Series; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/10/14/wine-guy-mike-for-october-14/

Recent podcast; Understanding the Italian Wine Label Part 1 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/09/wine-guy-mike-for-september-9/

YouTube preview of The Great Wines of Tuscany;

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  Last month I began a series on Italian wine basics, in Part 1of the Italian wine series began by dissecting Italian wine labels. http://wp.me/p2JY6W-O7

There are over 2,000 labels and different bottles of Italian wines, too many bottles to ever wrap our heads around.  By understanding the Italian wine label and all that it represents is a great starting point to come to grips with Italian wines.  But what do we need to know about Italy, the regions, and the grapes so that we can make sense of the label on an Italian bottle of wine?

There are many wonderful wines throughout the world that many wine drinkers never venture out and try.  Why is that?  Wine can be intimidating just trying to read and understand a label; Italian wines are a good example of labels that are not easily understood.  Here is a quick review of some of the basics I shared with you in Part 1 of this Italian wine series last month:

  • Tuscany, Piedmont, and the Veneto are the three main Italian wine regions
    • Tuscany the Italians grow Sangiovese
    • Piedmont they grow Nebbiolo
    • Veneto region a grape known as Corvina
    • Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are now also grown extensively
  • Three wine laws became effective in 1963 in Italy are
  • DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata
  • DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
  • IGT – Indicazione Geografica.

The DOC governs:

  • Geographical limits of each region
  • Grapes varieties allowed in wines
  • The percentage of each grape used (Classico must be 80% Sangiovese)
  • If a varietal is listed on a label it must contain 85% of that varietal
  • The amount of grapes that can be grown and harvested per acre
  • The minimum percentage of alcohol in a wine
  • Minimum aging requirements.  How much time a wine is aged in barrels or bottles

The difference between the DOC and DOCG is that the G in DOCG indicates that a wine is stylistically guaranteed to meet the standards set forth in Italian wine laws for specific regions.

There are many Italian wines that do not adhere to wine specifications within particular regions and these wines will be designated on their label as IGT – Indicazione Geografica.

Whether the bottle you are looking at has the Italian wine law designation IGT, DOC, or DOCG there is still much more to learn about so you can better understand Italian wines.

Tuscany

Tuscany is the region of Italy in which Chianti is produced; remember Sangiovese is the main grape varietal used in a Chianti wine.  Within Tuscany lies the Chianti and Chianti Classico grape growing and wine producing areas.

Chianti is made predominantly from the Sangiovese grape.  Sangiovese produces wines that can be spicy, medium bodied, and with nuances of cherry and raspberry flavors.  The Sangiovese grape is a warm weather varietal that thrives in the Tuscany region of Italy.

As you look at the label on a bottle of Chianti it will be designated one of three things.

1.Chianti – a basic table wine from a broad general area within the Tuscany wine region.  This is the least expensive Chianti.

2.Chianti Classico – this wine is more expensive and comes from the inner historic district of Chianti.  This is a better quality wine that has been given more attention in the winemaking process.  The grapes come from better vineyards that produce wines with a sense of place.

3.Chianti Classico Riserva – these are the finest Chianti’s made the very best grapes,  are a result of the most laborious winemaking attention, and are aged for a minimum of two years and three months.  These Classico Riserva’s also come with the highest price tags.

Chianti is great wine to drink with an Italian meal.  Because of the natural acidity in a Chianti wine you are assured that your wine pairing will bring out the all flavor in your meal.  Chianti is a medium bodied wine that will not compete with your meal.  Remember with big robust foods you do not want a wine that is equally robust or they will simply nullify one another.

Some winemakers in Italy wanted to make wines that do not adhere to Italian wine laws; they wanted produce wines that are stylistically different.  In Tuscany there is a style of wine that is referred to as “Super Tuscan”.

Super Tuscan is a term that was coined by Robert Parker in the 70’s; he was a fan of these signature wines and brought them to the world’s attention.  Sassicaia is an artisan “Signature Wine” crafted by Marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta who owns an estate on the coast of Tuscany, Tenuta San Guido in Bolgheri.

The first Sassicaias were produced in the 40’s and had become a more finely tuned version by the 60’s thanks to Marquis persisitance.  Piero Antinori who owned an old winery in the Chianti Classico region and was related to the Incisa della Rocchetta was familiar with the Saccicaias.  Antinori produced Tignanello in 1971 and this wine was modeled after the Saccicaia except it was made with Sangiovese and aged in oak barrels.  In later years Cabernet Sauvignon was also blended in the Tignanello.

A couple of the best known “Super Tuscans” are Tignanello and Summus, these wines are bold, robust, tannic, and have a mighty personality.

There are other styles of wines made from the Sangiovese grape of Tuscany too.

  • Brunello di Montalcino
  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
  • Carmignano

Brunello wines are made from 100% Sangiovese and are not blended with any other grape varietals.  The wines from Brunello are big full bodied and bold wines that typically need a minimum of five years of aging and sometimes as much as ten years before they reach peak drinkability.  The winemakers of Brunello are trying to make their wines more accessible and approachable.  In 1995 Brunellos were only required to be aged two years in oak rather than the previous vintage requirements requiring three years in oak.  The best Brunello wines can be expensive because of their limited supply.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is also made from Sangiovese grapes but is blended with the Canaiolo grape varietal.  Unlike a Brunello this wine style is medium bodied and easier drinking at a much younger age.  The Vino Nobile di Montepulicino wines are also more readily available than Brunellos making them less expensive for the wine drinker.

In 1975 after much campaigning Carmignano winemakers were able to achieve their very own D.O.C.  The Carmignano wines are dry reds based on a standard modern Tuscan blend of Sangiovese (at least 50% of the final blend), Canaiolo Nero (up to 20%), Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (10–20% each). The wine is similar in style to Chianti, which may now also be made using a portion of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Well wine friends this is all WineGuyMike has time for this week, stay tuned for part 3 of this Italian wine series as I’ll be talking about the Big Reds of Piedmont.

Arrivederci for now wine friends, enjoy these great Italian wine selections  at Liquid Planet, “The Best of Beverage”, located in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Understanding Italian Wine Labels Part 1

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; Understanding the Italian Wine Label Part 1 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/09/wine-guy-mike-for-september-9/

YouTube preview of Understanding an Italian wine label Part 1;

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  In recent weeks we have had the opportunity to have many terrific guests on the show.  This morning though it is time to get back to what we love most and that is wine.

Today we are going to talk about Italian Red wine and how to better understand what’s on the label.  For many wine lovers this is one of those areas of the world that can be a bit daunting to understand, and that’s where I come in.  It’s my job to help you better understand challenging wine topics so you can enjoy the wine that we talk about here on the show.

Okay let’s get started; Italy has been producing wine for 3,000 years.  It is said that Italy is not a country, just a gigantic vineyard from North to South.  There are over 2 thousand labels of wine in Italy, that’s a lot of bottles to know about.  Did you know that since 2008 Italy reins as the largest producer of wine in the world?

We are not going to tackle all of Italy in one week.  When it comes to red Italian wine there are three main regions to concentrate on first, Tuscany, Piedmont, and the Veneto regions.

There are literally hundreds of indigenous grape varietals planted throughout Italy, many which we have not ever heard of in America.  The main grapes that a person needs to know about to get started with Italian wines from these three regions are; In Tuscany the Italians grow Sangiovese, in Piedmont they grow Nebbiolo, and in the Veneto region a grape known as Corvina is what is grown.

Many grape growers in Italy now are growing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  Many American viticulture areas of America likewise are growing Italian varietals of grapes too.  Just to name a couple; In the Napa Valley some grape farmers are growing Barbara grapes, in Walla Walla some farmers grow Sangiovese grapes.  Grape varietals know no boundaries; the worlds grape farmers now better understand ideal geography, weather, and soil composition that grape varietals thrive in.

Let’s take a look at how the Italian wine laws dictate what ends up in your Italian bottle of wine.  Just like there are three Red wine regions to pay attention to first begin to understand Italian wines there are three Italian wine law designations one should understand as well.

Grape growers are governed by Italian law or what is known as the DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata and DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.  You will see this printed on the label of Italian wines.  There are many Italian wines that do not adhere to wine specifications within particular regions and these wines will be designated on their label as IGT – Indicazione Geografica. 

IGT Label

IGT Label

DOC designations on a win bottle are much like that of French AOC wine laws, you will also see this designation on bottles of French wines.  The biggest difference between the DOC and AOC is that the Italian DOC has aging requirements.

The DOC governs:

  • Geographical limits of each region
  • Grapes varieties allowed in wines
  • The percentage of each grape used (Classico must be 80% Sangiovese) If the varietal is specified it must contain 85% of varietal
  • The amount of grapes that can be grown and harvested per acre
  • The minimum percentage of alcohol in a wine
  • Minimum aging requirements.  How much time a wine is aged in barrels or bottles
  • These wine laws became effective in 1963 in Italy

The difference between the DOC and DOCG is that the G in DOCG indicates that a wine is stylistically guaranteed to meet the standards set forth in Italian wine laws for specific regions.

DOCG Label

DOCG Label

Currently there are 35 DOCG wines in Italy, 7 from the Tuscany region and 9 from the Piedmont region.  There are over 300 DOC wines from Italy and many more wines that are designated IGT which just means they do not adhere to the standards set forth for a given region in which they are grown.  There are many great examples of all of these wines and you typically pay for the guarantee.  There are great IGT wines that do not adhere to the wine laws in the region or area in which they are grown, you just have to know what you are buying, but hey that’s why you keep me around.  

Arrivederci for now wine friends, enjoy these great wine selections especially priced at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Author of Daily Decadence The Art of Sensual Living

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s full unedited podcast with author Sherri Dobay; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/01/wine-guy-mike-for-september-2nd/

Recent Podcast with Halter Ranch head winemaker, Kevin Sass; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/19/wine-guy-mike-for-august-19/

Recent podcast with Author Becky Sue Epstein; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/12/wine-guy-mike-for-august-12/

YouTube preview of this week’s show with Sherri Dobay; http://youtu.be/qgWNP1_fGZs

Recent Podcast with head winemaker of Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Mr. Anthony Beckman; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana

Author Sherri Dobay joined me in the studio this week on the WineGuyMike Radio Show to talk about her book Daily Decadence The Art of Sensual Living.  Dobay is a women of wit, wisdom, humor, and experience which she shares with the reader in her book. 

As I read Dobay’s book I was struck by the transparency of her vignettes. Her stories of trysts are scintillating and take you on a contemplative journey that is like a retrospective vacation.  Dobay then takes you a step closer to her soul by sharing a recipe and wine pairing that was deeply meaningful to the story. 

Daily Decadence The Art of Sensual Living exceeded my expectations and I have really enjoyed reading this book, I find it very soothing almost as if I have taken a long weekend trip.  Dobay’s objective in writing her book was to encourage the reader to enjoy the moment, appreciate that which is simple, stop and smell the roses.  It is my opinion that she has more than accomplished this and she has insightful experience to share as well.

Readers will really enjoy this book of beautiful and sometimes sensually scandalous tales that Dobay has to share, but make no mistake this author is not one dimensional by any means.  Dobay takes time to indulge just as she recommends the reader too do.  Sherri Dobay is an accomplished artist, Chef du Jour, and loves to ride horses.  If you need a bit of Daily Decadence in your life get a copy of Dobay’s book and infuse a little art of sensual living into your life, Sherri will show you how.

Foodies and wine lover won’t be disappointed either, Dobay’s wine and food pairings are elegant.  Remember the inspiration for the pairings are stirred by her soul as she shares the intimate experiences of her life in such an authentic way.  Not sure what’s on your table tonight, Dobay inspires the Chef du Jour within.

I want to thank Sherri Dobay for joining me in the studio this week.  I would like to congratulate and wish she and Mark well as they tie the knot and marry this month.  It makes one wonder what wine and food will be served at this not so daily but decadent event….Learn more about Sherri Dobay on her website at http://www.daily-decadence.com/

Today’s unedited podcast with author Sherri Dobay, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/01/wine-guy-mike-for-september-2nd/

This week WineGuyMike™ has two wonderful wines to share with you for a little dose of Daily Decadence.  Both are available especially priced at Liquid Planet, Missoula’s “Best of Beverage”, located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

Perfect Patio Wine – KECI NBC Montana Today and WineGuyMike

This mornings KECI Montana Today Feature with Rob Hudson and WineGuyMike; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html