Italy for dummies


  • Denominazione di origine Controlla (DOC)
  • Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita (DOCG)
  • Indicazione geografica tipica (IGT) (More relaxed regulations)


Northern Italy



  • Thin calcareous marl and sandstone soils
  • Thin skinned nebbiolo performs exceptionally well. High alcohol, high acid and big tannin
  • Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo
  • Moscato Bianco is piedmonts most planted white grape and key ingredient in the sparkling wines of Asti
  • Cortese, arneis and vermintino
  • 16 DOCG’s – Barolo and Barbaresco most prestigious, located along the tanaro river


Barolo DOCG

  • may be produced from 11 communes however the 5 main ones are ( La Morra, Barolo, Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte d’Alba, Castiglione falletto)
  • La Morra and Barolo have more tortonian soils (More marl and softer wine)
  • Monfrotte d’alba and serralunga d’alba Helvetian soil (more sandstone) more structured wine
  • Barolo must receive a minimum of 3 years of ageing, 2 of which must be in oak


Barbaresco DOCG

3 Towns permitted for production

  • Barabaresco
  • Neive
  • Treiso
  • Aged for a minimum of 2 years
  • Barolo chinato is a curiosity, a DOCG aromatized wine


Roero DOCG

  • opposite Barolo and barbaresco lies on the PO river the reds here are made from nebbiolo while the whites are made from nebbiolo
  • the regions of gattinara and Ghemme are exclusively nebbiolo



2 DOCGs exist for barbera in the monferrato hills east of the langhe

  1. barbera D0asti
  2. barbera del monferrato superiore



3 DOCGS produce wine from 100% dolcetto

  1. Dogliani
  2. Dolcetto di ovada Superiore
  3. Dolcetto di diano d’alba



  • produced from the cortese grape


Asti/Moscato d’asti

  • Sparkling wines from moscato Bianco
  • Brachetto d’acqui – made from brachetto and generally in desert wine style


Piedmont DOCG’s (Barolo, Barbaresco, Ghemme, gattinara, roero, barberra del monferatto superiore, barbera d asti, dogliani, dolcetto di ovada superiore, dolcetto di diano d’alba, brachetto d’acqui, ruche di castagnole monferrato, gavi, erbaluce di caluso, asti, alta langa)


Valle d’aosta

Smallest and least populas region. It is categorized by long cold winters and short summers. It has 1 DOC and that is valle d’aosta. The reds are produced by petit rouge and nebbiolo while the white is produced from blanc de morgex



  • Franciocorta DOCG is the most important DOCG and procers are limited to sparkling wine production
  • Chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot bianco are permitted for use
  • Valetelling sfurzat is produced from dried nebbiolo grapes


Emilia – Romagna

  • albana di Romagna DOCG was italys first white wine DOCG and is produced from the albana grape
  • Collo bolognesi classico pignolleto DOCG produced from the pignolleto grape
  • Lambrusco DOC produce sparkling wines from the lambrusco grape



  • Amarone della valpolicella and recioto della are produced from corvine and blended with rondinella – rasinated grapes. They are the process of appassimento which is drying the graes for 3 months in special huts
  • Bardolino DOC is again produced from the corvine and rondinella grapes
  • Soave DOC is the principal and most important white wine zone in Veneto.
  • Soave are produced from a minimum of 70% garganega plus trebbiano and chardonnay

2 DOCG’s exist for soave

  1. Recioto di soave DOCG
  2. Soave superiore DOCG

–       Recioto di gambellara DOCG is produced from 100% dried garganega grapes


  • Some Veneto wines are sparkling and produced from the prosecco grape

2 DOCG zones exist for prosecco

  1. Conegliano Valdobbiadene prosecco DOCG
  2. Asolo Prosecco DOCG


Fruili – Venezia Giulia

  • Pinot bianco, chardonnay, grigio and sav blanc, Merlot, Cab sav, Cab franc are also planted



  • Home of chianti – bottled in a fiasco (Covered in straw around the bottle to cope with the inferior Italian glass)
  • Sangiovese is the main grape, sometimes cabernet is used to blend or the local corino
  • Sangiovese is the typical grape in the following DOCG’s (Chianti, Chianti classico, carmignano, vino noble di monteplciano, morellino di scansano,montecucco sangiovese)
  • The whites of tuscany are chardonnay, sav blanc and trebbiano


Chianti DOCG

7 Subzones

  • Classico
  • Rufina
  • Florentini
  • Colli senesi
  • Colline pisane
  • Colli aretini
  • Montalano
  • Chianti DOCG calls for 70-100% sangiovese cabernet or other blends may not exceed 15%

Chianti Normale/ Chianti Reserva/ chianti superiore


Chianti Classico DOCG

  • Provides best examples of sangiovese

2 Soil types exist (Marl galestro, sandstone)

white grapes are not permitted, governo process is the refermentation of racked wine


Brunello di montalcino DOCG

  • Most powerful expression of sangiovese
  • Must be 100% sangiovese aged for a minimum of 2 years in bottle. Wine has to be aged for 5 years prior to release


Vino Nobile di montepulciano DOCG

  • Min 70% sangiovese max 30% other tuscan varietal


Morellino di scansano DOCG

  • Aged DOCG on the basis of 85% sangiovese


Bolgheri DOC

  • DOC covers red, white and rose
  • Reds are blends of cabernet. Superior wies are aged for up to 2 years in oak. Vermintino is the white grape of bolgheri


Elba aleatico passito DOCG

  • Red passito wines made from the aleatico grape – genetically linked to Muscat blanc a petits




Orvieto DOC

Wines are produced from the grechetto, procanico and trebbiano grape

  • Sagrantino di montefaico DOCG and togiano rosso Riserva DOCG
  • Sagrantino is produced from 100% sangioves while torgiano is only produced from 70-100%



  • Verdicchio is the most important grape
  • Red wines are produced from a minimum 85% montepulciano and a max 15% sangiovese



  • Montepulciano is the regions most cultivated grape



Trebbiano and malvasia are consumed locally

Frascati DOC is a commune near rome. White and sparkling comprised of malvasia


Southern Italy



  • Comprised of volcanic soil, the reds are produved from aglianico and primitivo. While the whites are produced from the fragrant falanghina grape fiano and Greco
  • Taurisi DOCG – produced from aglianico (Aglianico del taburno DOCG)



  • South of Corsica, the dominant grape varietals are Grenache and carinena whilst the dominant white grape is vermintino
  • Vermintino di gallura is the islands sole DOCG


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