This week we had a wine tasting in Montepulciano, a region famous for its wine. It was the first region to get a special licensing known as DOCG which stands for "Designation of controlled and guaranteed origin". This specific type of wine is called Nobile di Montepulciano. This designation has very strict guidelines through every stage of the wine making process until the wine is finally bottled. Throughout the process the wine is referred to as "on its way to Nobile di Montepulciano". If any errors occur then the value of the wine drops steeply and may not be sold as Nobile di Montepulciano.
The facility used to store and age the wine was formerly a castle owned by a rich family. The cellar deep below the surface is ideal for storing wine barrels because it retains nearly the same temperature all year around. The cellar has incredibly high gothic ceilings which the owners believe was a private church for the inhabitants.
At the wine tasting we tasted four wines. Traditional wine & cheese tastings go from lightest flavors to most intense. For this reason the wine was served white first, lightly aged red, well aged red, and then sweet dessert wine. The first was a Chardonnay which was followed by a Sangiovese. The third was a reserve wine which was well aged and tasted very oaky. The dessert wine served was a Vin Santo, a classical sweet Italian wine with a very high sugar content.
Wine is a subject that Italians take very seriously and it is an important part of everyday Italian life. From the farming of the grapes to the aging and bottling processes winemaking can be a highly regulated venture. Italians want to retain the integrity of their ingredients and processes and because of this we have the regulations in place today.