|Classifications for Italian Wines|
As overseen by Italy's minister of agriculture, there are now four official classifications of Italian wine. Vino da Tavola or VdT (the most generic of the group), Indicazione Geografica Tipica or IGT (Typical Geographic Indication meant to be a step up from table wine), Denominazione di Origine Controllata or DOC and finally Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita or DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, reserved for wines considered to be of exceptional pedigree).
An abbreviation of Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Guarantita, Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, the highest level Italian wine classification. Although this was created in 1963 along with DOC, it was not made official until 1980. The best explanation of DOCG is that it is a designation reserved for the most exceptional and historic wines in Italy. The 'G' which stands for garantita, or 'guaranteed' indicates that this is the highest, most rigidly controlled designation that an Italian wine can carry.
An abbreviation of Denominazione di Origine Controllata, Denomination of Controlled Origin, an upper level Italian wine classification. The most important thing to remember about this designation and also DOCG is that it is both a place name and a production formula. A DOC discipline not only outlines exactly where the grapes are grown, but which grapes are to be used and how long some wines must be aged before release. Most DOCs further stipulate that a wine must be vinified in the same place where the grapes are grown and most set limits on the production of grapes. Producers are required to send samples of each year's production to tasting committees so that the wines can be certified as DOC. The DOC law was created in 1963 however the first actual zone was not declared until 1966.
This classification was created in 1992, with most appellations drawn up in 1995, partly as a way of bringing the Italian wine industry in line with the rest of Europe. It is considered as a sort of middle ground between VdT and DOC, intended to create a larger population of 'classified' wines and therefore a greater confidence among consumers. An IGT designation indicates that the wine is from a particular geographic region. Most IGT wines carry the name of the grape variety used, but the production methods are not as closely prescribed as in DOCs.
This wine may come from anywhere in Italy, from any grape or combination of grapes. Some VdT wine is sold in bulk as sfuso (wine that is poured on tap in local restaurants) or as blending wine. However, there are always exceptions. Many excellent wines, sometimes the best in a producer's range, are labelled as VdT because they are made from grapes not allowed (because of either their type or provenance) under the strict DOC or IGT regulations.
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