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Italian Wine Classifications
by Anthony Parente
Which country is the largest wine producer in the world? That's right the answer is Italy. In fact there is in excess of 3,800 different varieties of wine produced by all 20 regions of Italy. It's no wonder that Italy is the largest producer in the world. There are currently four different classifications that all of the wines produced in Italy fall within.
The highest classification is the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita = Certification of Controlled and Guaranteed
Origin), which was established in 1980. At the beginning five wines were promoted to DOCG status. They were Barbaresco, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montelpulciano. Today there is currently 25 wines that have been given this highest classification. These particular wines must follow strict procedures. They have to be classified as a DOC for at least five years and they must surpass all other DOC wines in quality and characteristics. They must have characteristics related to the culture, environment, and climate. As you can see the guidelines for this classification are very strict.
The next classification is the DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata = Certification of Controlled Origin), which was created in 1963. There are approximately 300 wines classified as DOC located throughout Italy. This particular classification designates the production area. These wines must have attributes that are significant to the area they are from. These wines have similar characteristics and guidelines as the DOCG wines.
This most recent classification is IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica = Typical Geographic Indication). As the acronym suggests these
wines are related to the particular production area. This classification was introduced in 1992 and it approximately has 120 areas in its
classification. Since this is a recent classification these numbers should increase.
The last classification is VdT (Vino da Tavola = Table Wine). This classification is where most of the wines fall into. This basically means that these wines do not have any designation. The labels on these wine bottles are not permitted to list the vintage or grape variety. This doesn't
mean that these wines are not extraordinary in quality. In fact these wines are excellent wines to drink. It is unfortunate that many wines in this classification can only be found in Italy and have not been exported to other countries.
In addition to these classifications all wine bottles must contain the name, producer's name and location, alcohol by percentage, and the
contents in milliliters. D.O.C.G. wines must have a paper strip seal of guarantee.
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