CLASSIFICATIONS IN ITALY: DOC AND DOCG
To better understand the Dogliani denominations and their peculiarities we must be clear about Italy’s classification system and wine legislation. This nationally recognized system can be imagined as a pyramidal structure with the most restrictive classification being at the top and with the others becoming more flexible and having a wider territory of reference as we progress towards the base. The most restrictive classification is the DOCG (“Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita”), immediately followed by the DOC (“Denominazione di Origine Controllata”) which can scale down to broader appellations such as Langhe or Piemonte, then by the IGT classification (“Indicazione Geografica Tipica”), and, finally, by “Vino da Tavola”. The Piedmont Region has chosen to not have a “Piemonte IGT” designation in order to have more control over the varieties used in a wine, however, over the years, the region’s name has become associated to different varieties with their own specific appellation rules.
DOC Denominazione di Origine Controllata
With the DOC system, all vineyards are recorded in a special viticultural registry. To each specific area within a DOC, determined by overlapping aerial photos with cadastral maps, must correspond the production of a specific quantity of grapes as dictated by the appellation’s guidelines. These guidelines are, in fact, a system of rules and parameters that determine and guarantee the place of origin of the grapes as well as the quality and the characteristics of an appellation. For example, for each hectare of Dolcetto di Dogliani Doc that was cultivated when this appellation was still active, it was possible to produce 8000kg of grapes, the equivalent of 56 hectoliters of wine. Today, the appellation Dolcetto di Dogliani Doc no longer exists, but its parameters and productions have become those of Dogliani Docg.
DOCG Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
DOCG, which stands for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita” meaning “controlled and guaranteed designation of origin”, implies an additional set of stricter standards that limit, for example, the actual number of bottles that enter the market. Each of these bottles is then marked with a numbered neck seal that certifies its validity. Unlike with DOC wines, whose certification of validity lasts 5 years, to obtain DOCG status a wine must be examined through chemical and sensory analysis in order to receive a certification of validity that only lasts for 3 months. After these 3 months, each batch of wine must then undergo further testing to qualify for bottling, after which a precise number of neck seals will be provided for the amount of bottles that may be obtained from that batch.