Italian Appellation System (Italian Wine Classification)
Italy is home to some of the oldest and most charming wine producing regions in the world.
Italian wine is unique and made with not only the best grapes in the world, but also involves an intense classification system which was initiated by the Italian Government in 1963.
The legislation has been modified and many additions have been made which has led to establishment of four basic categories.
- DOCG - Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
- DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata
- IGT - Indicazione di Geografica Tipica
- VdT - Vino Da Tavola
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Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) Appellation of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin
This classification denotes the highest quality recognition for Italian wines. It is comprised of a relatively limited number of first-class wines.
DOCG wines must meet all of the label requirements that the DOC wine must maintain with added caveats indicating stringent vineyard yield, grape types grown within precise boundaries, specific alcohol levels, and minimum ageing requirements. Tuscany and Piedmont carry the most DOCG wines in Italy.
Government seals have different colours according to the type if the DOCG wine:
- Light pink identifies sparkling wines
- Light green identifies white wines
- Magenta identifies red wines
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Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) Appellation of Controlled Origin
DOC appellation is basically the equivalent of the French wine classification, Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC). Wines that fall under the DOC category must be made in specified, government-defined zones and in accordance with particular regulations that are intended to preserve the wine's character that is uniquely derived from Italy's individual regions.
There are currently over 300 DOC wines in Italy, all adhering to specific vineyard trellising, irrigation and vinification requirements that detail which grapes may be grown where and also specify ageing requirements and alcohol limits.
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Indicazione di Geografica Tipica (IGT) Typical Geographic Indication
These table wines are often ubiquitous wines that are grown in specific geographical growing regions. However, there are exceptions -- some of Italy's best wines (aka the "Super Tuscans") do fall under this category, to avoid more stringent regulations associated with DOC or DOCG, and allow for more vineyard experimentation.
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Vino Da Tavola (VdT) Table Wine
This designates wines that reside firmly on the "low end" of the totem pole. Comprised of Italian table wines, whose only criteria is that they must be produced somewhere in Italy.
Italian wine terms
Information sourced from Wine Searcher