Castello Banfi - Sommelier Corner
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Sommelier Corner

Italian wine laws

The discipline of the Designation of Origin wine in Italy dates back to 1963, in particular the law 930/1963, which identifies for the first time the quality levels of the pyramid, placing at the top of the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG).


Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG)

In fact you had to wait until 1980 to finally see the new DOCG operating. In 1980 alone, in fact, after Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Brunello di Montalcino and Barolo and Barbaresco born. They were 10 DOCG in 1992, when the law 164 has reorganized the discipline, on the basis of Regulation EEC Nr.823 of 1987. We come to 2011, when with the DM 30/11 / 2011 the specifications established for all appellations of Origin Italian are published, amended to conform to the EC Reg. no. 1234/2007. This event led to the approval of 17 DOCG in 2011 only, which followed 13 approved in 2010. For comparison, consider that in 2009 only 2 were approved, and in 2008 only 4. Today (31 / 07/2014) there are 73 DOCG.

The region with more DOCG is Piedmont, with 16 DOCG, followed by Veneto (14) and Tuscany (11). At the bottom, Sicily, Sardinia and Basilicata count one DOCG and Trentino-Alto Adige, Valle d'Aosta, Molise and Calabria Liguria none. In the latter regions some DOC would have unlimited features for maximum qualifying, so we expect that these gaps will be filled in the near future. 


Appellations of Controlled Origin (DOC)

The DOC, in addition to the requirements for IGT, have to come from more demarcated areas, they can not be produced with grapes for wines IGT, they must be subjected to physico-chemical and organoleptic examination during the production. They can also be characterized by sub-areas or smaller areas depending on the regulations. They can mention specifications of the product (ex. Classico, Superiore) if required by the regulations.

The first DOC were established in 1966, Ischia DOC (03/03/1966), Frascati DOC (03/03/1966), Bianco di Pitigliano DOC (3/28/1966) and Arpilia DOC (13/05/1966). So the palm of the First Italian DOC is shared by the Frascati DOC Ischia.

Later it has been noted a progressive increase in the number of names, undoubtedly due to the increasing interest in the identification and discovery of products and especially of their quality. In 1992, time of re-ordering of the names in the Italian EU regulation of 1987, the DOC were already 193.

With the evolution of the international wine market, there has been an explosion of the "marketing" of the names that are still created in order to "distinguish" a particular area by its "competitors" or "enhance" a territory or a product. The result are DOC 330 (30/11/2011) of which at least fifty marginal, little or no significant or even superfluous, since in many cases comprising whole regions and / or uneven areas in terms of cultivation and tradition.

At that time, with the DM 30.11.2011, the specifications established designations Italian are deposited, in compliance with the EC Reg. No. 1234/2007. From that date on, the introduction of a new name is subject to approval by the European Union and indeed the spread of names appears to have stopped, except of course the updates due to bug fixes or whatever.

However, with regard to the understanding of a complex subject such as enography, the system of Appellations of Origin, of which the DOC area represents by far the biggest group, make us the great service of being able to organize and catalog Italian wines according to regions, provinces, varieties and types, living us a complete picture of national production that eventually allowed to build the rational infrastructure of this site. 



Typical Geographical Indication (IGT)

The D.P.R 930 of 12/7/1063 envisage three types of designations of origin for wine: the terms "simple", the terms "controlled" and the names "guaranteed". As a result, the Law Nr.164 of February the 10th, 1992 stated that the so-called names "simple", ie designating the wines made from grapes "by the traditional grape varieties of the corresponding production areas, vinified in accordance with local, fair and consistent of those areas” without further checks, were renamed as IGT, namely wines with Typical Geografical Indication.

Even if these denominations are less "strict" then those of DOC and DOCG wines, and then placing much larger limits of the area and the range of varieties, looser regulation in terms of viticulture, winemaking, bottling and labeling, since there is no obligation to chemical physical control or sensory examinations, and not allowing the transfer directly to their DOCG wines, these names are useful, however, to define and classify the wines according to the Italian territory.

With DM 30.11.2011, the consolidated disciplinary Italian designations are deposited, in compliance with the EC Reg. No. 1234/2007. At that time there are 118 IGT therefore, unchanged in number until today(07/31/2014). From that date onwards, the introduction of a new name is subject to approval by the European Union and indeed the spread of names appears to have had a set back.

More than once the IGT offer producers the option to "interpret" the wine and the territory without strict constraints in the specification with a designation. This has meant that, despite the lower position in the so-called "quality pyramid" more than a few important noble wine fall under this classification.



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