The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a year.
There are a few things you will notice right away in this section. First, our wine list may seem rather big and complex for such a small restaurant. We are proud to be able to offer such an extensive selection of wine and we strongly believe that the most complicated wines are enjoyed best with the simplest of food. Second, there is nothing on the list from California or anywhere other than Italy (except for a Napa Valley wine, sent to us courtesy of Francis Ford Coppola, who asked if we could include it on our wine list...and, Francis is as Italian as an American can get!) Don't fear long tongue twister looking names. Every server in our restaurant is very well versed in our list and Italian wine in general. Please ask them questions, they are more than happy to help out. Make them earn their tip! Often times, they can steer you towards the little gems that unfortunately get buried. You might discover a new favorite!
We have tried to make our wine list easy for you. If you aren't feeling up to perusing the whole thing, we have a special section, Frank's Choices, that provide you with a smattering of wines from all over Italy. Beyond that, the choice is yours.
For almost as long as there has been Italy, there has been Italian wine. And for almost the same amount of time, the main purpose of that wine was as an accompaniment to food. Families would produce their own wines and, in the same tradition that recipes were passed down from generation to generation in the kitchen, so were the many secrets associated with each family vineyard.
In 1963, the Italian government drew up guidelines stipulating formulas and regions that winemakers had to adhere to in order for their wines to be classified as specific "types" of wine. This came to be known as the Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or the DOC. The DOC regulations help create a formal identity for Italian wine, as well as guarantee the consumer that they were purchasing a specific product from a specific place.
In the wake of the DOC designations came several other levels of distinction. The Deniminazione di Origine Controllata Garantita (try saying that three times fast, or better yet, three times fast after three glasses of wine), or DOCG, goes one step further adding the word guaranteed to the end. Vino da Tavola, table wine, is considered the entry level. It is followed by Indicazione Geografica Tipica, or IGT, which simply means that the wines are typical examples of wine produced from a certain geographic area. However, just because a wine does not carry a DOC or DOCG classification, does not mean that it is not a quality (or expensive) wine. It only means that these wines are not produced following the guidelines to qualify for it. Some of the most celebrated wines ever produced in Italy have been designated as Vino di Tavola.
Each region in Italy produces different wines and these wines are often times indicative of the region itself. There is a very symbiotic relationship between soil and culture and people and food. Each region has different weather, different soil conditions, different elevations, different everything. All of these differences allow each region to have individual expressions in their wine.
Italian winemaking has a long standing and very close knit tie to what was going on both socially and historically at the time the wine was made. To have a detailed account of all of this, please come in and visit us. We have maps and charts and books and are more than happy to sit and talk about it.