Toscana IGT is the most famous – and the most commonly used – of Italy's Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) titles. The geographical region it indicates is, in short, Tuscany. Toscana IGT wines can be made in any village in any of Tuscany's 10 provinces (Arezzo, Firenze, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena).
Free from the stylistic constraints imposed on DOCG and DOC wines, Toscana IGT wines can be made in almost every form imaginable, from bone-dry whites to sweet reds and sparkling rosés. Naturally, given Tuscany's longstanding success with dry red wine, this style is by far the most common.
Tuscany is the home of Italy's most famous IGT category not just because it produces more IGT wine than any other region, but also because it was the famous 'Super Tuscan' wines made here that led to the creation of the category.
When the Italian DOC system was introduced in the 1960s, it proved less efficient than the French system on which it was modelled, and it was certainly less well-received. Many Italian wine producers found the new rules too restrictive and openly criticised the system. A number of these, most notably in Tuscany, chose to continue making their wines as they saw fit, focusing on quality and individuality rather than conforming to their local DOC laws. The price of this freedom was having to label their wines as Vino da Tavola ('table wine'), the lowest tier in Italy's wine classification system.
During the late 1960s, a number of these rebel producers began making modern-styled wines of very high quality – which later became known as the 'Super Tuscans'. These soon gained international acclaim and respect and began increasing dramatically in price. The result was that some of Italy's very finest and most respected wines were being labelled and sold as Vino di Tavola. In 1984, one of the most famous Super Tuscans – Sassicaia – was granted its very own DOC title, DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, but further measures were required to address the other wines.
To bring a degree of balance to the situation, in 1992 the Italian government introduced a new wine classification category: Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). This has successfully introduced a mid-ground between the highly regulated DOCG and DOC classifications and the lowly, unregulated Vino di Tavola one. IGT wines are created with the bare minimum of restrictions required to ensure quality wine production: they bear a vintage statement and producer name, they must be made from at least 85% of the grape variety, and the region of origin must be stated on the label. Almost every other restriction placed on IGT wine production falls back to generic regulations in force for all wines made within the EU.
The IGT category is used only in Italy; its equivalent in France is VDP (Vin de Pays). At a European Union-wide level, these two correspond to IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée / Indicazione Geografica Protetta).
The range and diversity of IGT wines continue to expand and evolve in the early 21st Century. The category has freed Italian wine producers from the constraints of tradition, allowing them to produce wines for the modern palate and – arguably more important – for global export markets.