Be familiar with these italian wine indications:
VDT (Vino da tavola). Just what it sounds like – a simple table wine. The label can’t have a vintage year nor name the grape used to produce it. IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica). The label will have a broad geographic designation and may indicate a year and/or grape variety. DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata). By law, the label will indicate that the wine comes from a specific place and made from specific grapes, in accordance with rules governing planting, cultivating, and fertilizing. The maximum yield of grapes/hectare is specified, and there are specifics about alcohol level and ageing of the wine. DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). The most stringent of the categories. A DOCG wine includes all the DOC attributes, but the producer is also required to guarantee everything stated on the wine’s label. The bottle carries a gov-ernment seal of approval. Remember, the DOC/G system is about authenticity, not quality. When you buy one of these wines, you are buying ‘the real thing.’ Whether it tastes better than a specific IGT or VDT, is up to you to decide. Feste, feste everywhere and such a lot to drink! This is harvest season in Tuscany, which, of course, means harvest festivals. The weekend of Sept. 8-10 offers two opportunities Although there is also an artisan’s market on Sept 7, which makes an overnight stay in Greve in Chianti even more attractive, the 16th Rassegna di Chianti Classico / Chianti Wine Festival takes place September 8-10. Greve is in the heart of Chianti country, just 30 kilome-ters south of Florence, and can be easily reached by car on state road 222 or by 45-ride on the SITA bus. If you go by bus, be aware the last bus leaves Greve at 4:30pm. The event takes place in Piazza Matteotti, the main square. Like most of these events, you purchase a souvenir wine glass; then try out the wines. There are several nice trattorias and restaurants around the square, and, during the festival, there will be food stalls as well, where you can try traditional dishes, local cheeses and salamis. In Fiesole on Sept. 9 and 10, Slow Food Firenze and the City of Fiesole have teamed up for a weekend that will be fun as well as educa-tional. On the morning of Sept. 9, there will be a seminar called ‘Good to drink, good to think’. What is the future of quality wine?’ This event will be held in the auditorium of the Consiglio Regionale della Toscana, Via Cavour, 4 in Florence. In the afternoon, the festivities start in the Roman Amphitheater in Fiesole at 3pm. There will be lots of opportunities for tasting wine and food – including the famous ribollita and papa al pomodoro – plus book signings and a guided tour of the Museum. Fiesole is 4 kilometers north of Florence; be-cause of limited parking, the ATAF bus number 7 is your best choice. On Sunday, the Campionato di Vino wine championships will be held. Beginning at 11am, individuals and teams of experts will have blind tastings of wines at Fiesole’s Basilica Sant’Alessandro. Prize winners will be announced at the Amphitheater at 7pm. The wine and gastronomy booths will re-open from 3pm to 7pm. There will be tours of the grounds and a special wine laboratory at 5pm. Although the tasting area in the Amphitheater is open to all, many events require a reservation. For more information, contact Slow Food Firenze by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by telephone Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm, 055.684.405. The next weekend, head south again to Impruneta, Panzano, or both. This year the Vinoteca al Chianti is holding its 6th Vino é piacere festival. Some 800 wines will be offered as well as olive oils and artisan-made food products from throughout Italy. The festival takes place Friday from 3pm to 10pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 10pm. The venue is the Cloister of the Basilica of Impruneta. Again, a small fee is charged for your tasting glass. Impruneta is an easy drive by surface streets and is just 5 kilometers from the Certosa exit of the A1; or you can take a CAP bus from Florence. A little farther south, you find the charming village of Panzano. Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday, you will be able to taste the wines of many Panzano winemakers, enjoy some good music by a local band, stop in at the world famous butcher shop of Dario Cecchini, have a pleasant walk in the country or all of the above. The center of town is closed to traffic for the festival. The booths are simple and it gets very crowded. But, if you love the Sangiovese grape and Chianti wines, this is the place to be. A small fee for the tasting glass.You can take the SITA bus that continues from Greve or the 222, otherwise known as the Chiantigiana or ‘Strada del Chianti’.