If you see IGT on an Italian wine, it means that the wine came from a specific region but used non-traditional winemaking. It has nothing to do with the wine’s quality. There are no other production regulations governing these wines.
Italy offers a huge array of wine styles and quality categories; here’s what IGT wine in Italy means.
IGT Wine Meaning Explained
Producers use the IGT Italian wine category for wines made in a specific region, but that don’t follow other production regulations to fall under a controlled category (DOC and DOCG).
Helpful Tip: Here’s an in-depth explanation of all Italian wine classifications – DOCG, DOC, IGT, VT… Whew!
Italian winemakers use the IGT category for any non-traditional wines that they make. For example, all of the wines in the Chianti DOC must be red, Sangiovese-based wines. If the winery in the Chianti region wants to produce white wine (because people do like drinking white wines, too), then they can still do this using the Tuscana IGT Italian wine category.
IGT wines are not necessarily lower in quality than their DOCG or DOC counterparts. IGT only means that the wine in your bottle is non-traditional for the region where it was made.
The producer didn’t want to follow the traditional (and stricter) DOC or DOCG classifications either with grape varieties, wine styles, winemaking practices, or all three.
Famous IGT Wines
Tuscany is a hotbed of winemaking innovation, and you’re likely to find many examples of Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) Tuscan wines. Famous Italian IGT wines include:
Solaia is a great example of an IGT Italian wine that isn’t classified as a DOCG, but still commands impressive sums.
You’ll find current releases of Solaia wines for +$300 USD per bottle. So remember, an Italian wine with IGT status isn’t necessarily lower quality than a DOCG or DOC Italian wine.
Many of the red IGT wines coming out of Tuscany use mainstream international grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah.
If you enjoy Bordeaux or Napa reds, then these IGT wines can be delicious discoveries.
Italian Wine Classifications Breakdown
The three main classifications for Italian wine you should know are:
- Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)
- Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)
- Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT)
Italy established a quality ranking system for its wines back in the 1960s as a way to help consumers identify what was in their bottles. Italian wine producers label their wines by region, not necessarily grape variety.
Some umbrella regions, for example, the uber-famous Chianti, can be subdivided further into geographical areas known to grow higher-quality grapes, and, by extension, make better wines.
This is the origin of the Italian wine ranking system.
So while it may seem complicated, once you understand the three main Italian wine classifications, the Italian wine labeling system becomes an easy way to help you decide on the wines you want to drink.
Final Thoughts – Italian Wine Classifications
If you see IGT or Indicazione Geografica Tipica on an Italian wine label, then it means you should expect a delightful – if non-traditional – bottle of wine worthy of your attention.
Personal Note: If I see IGT on a bottle of wine I always check it out. I try to be open-minded when exploring IGT wines.
Thirsty for More?
The single best way to learn about the differences between DOC, DOCG, and IGT wine is to do side-by-side comparisons with wine flights. Check out this post I put together to get you started with wine flights.
Aaaand… If you’re just getting started out with wine, I put together this helpful overview of food with wine pairing to get you started. Side note – I spend just as much time thinking about food with wine pairing as I do deciding what I’m going to eat every night. Utter hedonism. What can I say?
If you’re just getting into Italian wines, may I suggest exploring Friulano wines, a lesser-known white wine that will absolutely enchant you. You’ll find it right next to the Chianti in your local wine shop.
Here’s a post on Nebbiolo wines, Chianti’s northern neighbor, some of the most age-worthy Italian wines.
If you’ve never tried Negroamaro, then you’re missing out on this delightful Italian red. Go find out why.