In September 2011 I was lucky enough to be studying Italian in Umbria at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, just a two or three hour train ride from nearly anywhere in Tuscany. One lucky day I got an email from my friend Edoardo Dilaghi, owner of Allegretti, inviting me to help with the harvest. Here's a collection of images from that weekend, mixed with a few from an earlier trip to the vineyard. It was a ton of fun and good hard work. We were all well rewarded with some incredible wines and amazing meals put together by Mama....
I've decided the last post on apellations wasn't fulfilling enough so I'd like to take it a step further and confuse you a bit more. There's just too many countries and too many apellation designations to cover coherently in one brief post so I thought it useful to break it down by country starting with our golden goose, Italy.
Italy is the second largest wine producer in the world, only France produces more juice, and it has it has the most diverse collection of varietals under production of any country. We love Italy.
The Vine Saturated Hills of Piedmont's Langhe Region, Home to Dozens of IGP, DOC, and DOCG Wines
There are four apellation types we'll concern ourselves with here. They are Vino da Tavola, Indicazione Geografica Typica (IGP), Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).
Vino da Tavola: Literally "Table Wine" is an essential part of both Italian and European culture in general. You'll find these on the menus of nearly any restaurant or cafe in Italy as well as the less dominant shelves of Italian markets. You'll often get exactly what you pay for with these local everyday wines that can range in quality from "Two Buck Yuck" to "Ohhhhhh Myyyyy". These have the lowest regulations for grape production density and can include grapes from anywhere in Italy. While we only have one in our portfolio it's a true Italian, with firm tannins, simple fruit complexion, and balanced acidity, it's a perfect food wine and an easy pick for nearly any meal. Here's a link to the Allegretti Rosso da Tavola. From a single vineyard in Chianti, it's an incredible value and perfectly at home on the American dinner table.
IGP: More restrictive than the Vino da Tavola, IGP's have allowed the advent of high value/non-traditional style Italian wines such as the world famous "Super-Tuscan". IGP regulations limit fruit density, define growing areas, and specify quality standards that have propelled Italy's forward thinking and artistic winemakers to new heights. The most essential part of IGP regulation is that it allows non-traditional grape varietals a venue to show their quality in regions generally saturated by typical Italian varietals. In the example of Super Tuscans, you'll see international varietals like Cab Sauv and Merlot or Syrah blended with Sangiovese in fantastic frankenstein wines that stand up against the very best Côtes du Rhône or Bordeaux blends.
Unfiltered Sicilian Chardonnay IGP, Straight From the Fermentation Tank
Because they're a-typical and artistic expressions of the winemakers behind them these IGP's can represent an incredible value for the international wine lover. For the passionate wine explorer I suggest taking a tour of our Super Tuscans page.
Value wines also flourish in this category. Basic varietal-centric wines, like our Sicilian Rilento line, are excellent quality and crazy low-priced representations of international varieties from Chardonnay to Cab Suav for the everyday pallet.
DOC and DOCG: Registered under the EU designation Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), These are the core of classic Italian wine. These wine designations are the pride of Italy and not given lightly to neither region nor producer. The difference between DOC and its big brother DOCG is not small but the idea behind them is essentially the same: Specific classic wine styles from classic regions are regulated and certified to ensure quality and typicality and thus, high market value of those wines. The regulations are stricter than IGP in that they always restrict the grape varietals as well as the winemaking style.
Wikipedia Breaks Down Chianti Regulation
DOC is considered a step below DOCG, not always in quality but at least in terms of regulation. A DOC may be declared in a region after being an IGP style for 5 years and may become a DOCG style 10 years after that. DOCG's take regulation a step further in that wines must pass stricter analysis including expert tasting panel review to verify typical style. According to Wikipedia there are currently 330 DOC and 73 DOCG designations in Italy.
Here's a great example of a recently created DOC from a classic Italian region: Prosecco DOC. Also check out our DOCG Page where you'll find the very best wines in Italy, including Barolo DOCG, Chianti Classico DOCG, Gavi DOCG, and Barbaresco DOCG. Mama Mia.
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