Can you guess which two Italian wines are most likely to be found in a wine shop or store? If you said Chianti and Pinot Grigio, bravo! Let’s take a look at what makes these two wines so popular.
Pinot Grigio in Italy: Look for DOC
Pinot Grigio—love it or hate. It may have gotten a bad rep from the mass-produced, bottom-shelved, boxed displays, but I invite you to reconsider! Did you know that in 2017, Pinot Grigio was promoted for IGT level to DOC? Indeed, a vineyard area covering the Veneto, Friuli, and Trentino-Alto Adige is now called Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC. This is the second-highest ranking level in Italy, guarantees quality, and greatly reduces the possibly of poor quality when sporting the DOC label.
You can expect beautiful citrus and stone fruit notes, minerality and mouth watering freshness. Pinot Grigio is easy-drinking and pairs perfectly with a poolside day of sunshine as well as a divine plate of seafood. See the photo below to know how to identify the DOC quality level on the label.
Tell your friends! You are now a Pinot Grigio pro. Now, let’s talk about Chianti.
Chianti: the Classic Tuscan Wine
Chianti is a region in Tuscany, Italy—the land of spaghetti, lasagna, and Sangiovese! Chianti DOCG must be at least 70% Sangiovese. We can expect red fruit notes of cherries, cranberries, and strawberries, dried herbs, spice, and earthiness. These wines are refreshingly lighter in weight on the palate with a full-bodied tannin (dryness) structure. Chianti typically has quite a bit of acidity (mouth-watering sensation) which makes it the perfect partner for tomato-based dishes.
Italians love to pair Chianti with classic dishes like the Tuscan chicken pictured above and, of course, pizza! You should know that in 1996, Chianti DOCG became official, which is even higher ranked than DOC. There are many sub-regions, categories, and aging requirements in Chianti, but what’s most important is that you enjoy the wine! Next time you cook up an Italian dish or order a pizza from your favorite local spot, open up a Chianti. You won’t be disappointed!
Read more about the hubbub surrounding one of Tuscany’s Chianti labels here: Debunking Gran Selezione