I posted awhile back on DOCs in Argentina and since then we’ve had a good response in the shop about it. So this time its the turn of Italy. Italy’s classification system is a modern one that reflects current realities of wine production in modern Italy. It has four classes of wine, these are divided based on where the wine is produced and what grapes are included in the blend. An example would be a wine produced in the Chianti region in Tuscany using only the Sangiovese grape would be recognised as DOCG Chianti, however it the same wine contained a small amount of Merlot it would have to be reclassified as IGT Tuscany, as Merlot is not permitted in the Chianti DOCG. Being of a specific DOCG does not imply that a wine is of greater quality than that of an IGT merely that it comes from a specific growing area and uses the grapes traditionally grown in that region.

The four classes are:

Vino da Tavola (VDT) – Denotes wine from Italy. NOTE: this is not always synonymous with other countries’ legal definitions of ‘table wine’. The appellation indicates either an inferior quaffing wine, or one that does not follow current wine law. Some quality wines do carry this appellation but most are found in the following class.

Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) – Denotes wine from a more specific region within Italy. This appellation was created for the “new” wines of Italy, those that had broken the strict, old wine laws but were wines of greater quality than ordinary table wine. Before the IGT was created, quality “Super Tuscan” wines such as Il Poggione’s ‘San Leopoldo’ and very famous, Sassicaia wines were labeled Vino da Tavola. Presently, there are 120 IGT zones.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)

Many of the well known Italian wines fall into this category,include Valpolicella and Saove, at present there are 311 DOCs. These DOC wines require the wine to be produced in the a specific region or area and to only use certain grapes in the production of wine. The amount of grape varieties and the percentage that can be used changes greatly from DOC to DOC.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)

The highest category that an Italian wine can attain it is reserved for a small amount of traditionally recognised wine regions including Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Chianti. There are only 32 DOCG in all of Italy and some of Italy’s most famous wines don’t make the cut Amarone della Valpolicella is only a DOC, like Valpolicella.