You’ve probably seen the terms D.O.C.G., D.O.C., or I.G.T. listed next to most of the wines on our website. If you already know what they mean, you’re an Italian wine expert! If not, that’s okay – you will by the end of this blog.
Italian wine laws, modeled after the French appellation contrôlée (A.O.C.), separate Italian wines into four tiers – Vino da Tavola, Indicazione Geografica Tipica (I.G.T.), Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G.). Modern Italian wine laws regulate many aspects of wine production, such as grape varieties grown and used, viticultural practices, crop yields, and barrel aging, in the hopes of delineating a wines’ quality.
Vino da Tavola
Vino da Tavola, or table wine, is the lowest level of classification for Italian wines. Meant for everyday drinking, these wines are subject to fewer regulations and account for 40% of all Italian wine production. Currently, we don’t import any wines with this designation.
Driven by the Super Tuscan movement, the I.G.T. classification, or indicazione geografica tipica, was developed in 1992 for quality wines that didn’t meet the criteria for the next tier of classification, D.O.C. For example, wines that use a grape variety that is not approved for that region or have a modified blend other than that approved for the region must be classified as an I.G.T. wine.
Le Senate is one such winery. Giulio Visi planted Bordeaux varietals in his vineyard in Marche because he believed that the soil and terroir were ideally suited for them. Because modern Italian wine laws don’t govern Bordeaux varieties, all Le Senate wines carry the I.G.T. classification, but they’re deserving of D.O.C., in our opinion!
D.O.C., or denominazione di origine contrallata, is the third tier in Italy’s hierarchy of wine classification. Wines awarded this classification are subject to specific standards that ensure the wine’s quality, such as using specific grapes in specific regions, yield limits (or the number of grapes grown in a vineyard), alcohol levels, and wine aging requirements. Currently, there are 330 D.O.C. wines in total.
The highest tier in the Italian classification system is D.O.C.G. or denominazione di origine controllata e garantita. To be considered for the D.O.C.G. classification, wine must be classified as D.O.C. for at least five years, guaranteeing the wine’s quality. If successfully evaluated, the wine will bear a unique, numbered government seal over the cork. The first wine awarded D.O.C.G. was a Brunello di Montalcino in 1980. Now, there are 73 total D.O.C.G. wines.
You’re now equipped with the tools to scroll through our wines and make decisions based on the classification! However, the best way to truly understand it is to try the different tiers side-by-side. Browse our wines and select your favorites to create this tasting for yourself. When you purchase six bottles, shipping is included! If you aren’t sure which wines to try, email me at email@example.com and I’ll happily put together a classification tasting for you!