Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world with the highest consumption as well. In Italy, wine production is 4,000 years old, there are 1,000 plus wine varieties, 4,200 wine styles and over 2 million wine producers. Since production of wine in Italy is spread all across the country, and since the climate characteristics from the cold north to the warm south tends to vary, as well as the terrain and the exposure to the sunlight, it results in many wine varieties and styles. In order to fathom the world of Italian wines at least a little, we offer the following information which can come in handy when deciding which wine to buy.
The classification of wines in Italy:
Vini (wines)- all wines that are produced in EU, no indication of geographic origin.
Vini Varietali (Varietal Wines)- Wines produced in EU that are made of at least 85% of authorized grape variety or entirely from two or more of them.
Vini IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)- These are wines with protected geographical indication that are produced in Italy and which follow a set of specific regulations.
DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata)- wines with protected designation of origin. DOC wines must have been IGP wines for at least 5 years and they usually come from the specific area of IGP regions that is specifically renowned for its geological and climate characteristics.
DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita)- wines with Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin. DOC wine can be promoted to DOCG if it has been DOC for at least 10 years and if it passes the tasting test by a specifically appointed committee.
The DOP category “Classico” denominates wine that is produced in the historically oldest part of the protected area, whereas “Superiore” stands for wines that are produced with at least 0.5% of alcohol more than the corresponding regular DOP wine with a smaller amount of grapes per hectare allowed.
Label example: Pieropan, Soave Classico, Veneto, 2013
Family Pieropan- is the producer.
Soave Classico- is the wine type, soave in the “Classico” zone.
Veneto- region where it is produced.
It is important to mention that somewhat looser regulations do not mean lower quality. There are many IGP wines (Supper Tuscans) that are considered top level products of superb quality.
“Supper Tuscans” are wines that are produced in Tuscany that do not adhere to the traditional DOC and DOCG regulations, because these regulations state that wines from Tuscany should be made from native grapes, mostly Sangiovese. These wines usually blend Sangiovese with other international varieties, blend only international varieties or use a single international variety.
Prosecco- It is a very famous white wine that is made from the Glera grape, primarily grown in the eastern part of Italy's Veneto region. There are three varieties of Prosecco:
Fully sparkling (spumante)
Its fine reputation, however, comes from the sparkling versions. Even though they can be sweet, they are more often found dry.
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