Italian Wines

Did You Know?
Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine. With a wine history dating back more than 4,000 years and a climate ideally suited to viticulture, Italy is also one of the most diverse winemaking countries in the world. An impressive range of red, white and sparkling wines are made in every style from traditional to ultra-modern and enjoyed throughout the world.
Across many of Italy’s vineyards, sustainable farming practices are being used to protect the land and optimize the wine’s quality. Grapes are grown without artificial or synthetic chemicals, and rather than spray plants, organic farmers work with nature to protect against pests and plague.
In 1963, a series of laws were passed to control wine quality and labeling. As a result, today, the label on an Italian wine is your guide to drinking in the whole Italian wine experience.
Three Tiers of Wine Quality

Typical Geographical Indication (TGI), represents the base of a three-tiered quality wine pyramid. The IGTs delle Venezie, Puglia, Terre Siciliane, Toscana and Veneto represent some of the finest Italian wines on a quality versus price ratio.

Controlled Designation of Origin (CDO), represents the middle tier. It’s a wine of origin scheme governing more than 300 regions, explaining how each wine comes from these specific grapes and this particular place.

Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin (CGDO), is the designation for Italy’s best bottles. The top classification covers 74 regions, including global favourites Amarone, Barolo and Brunello. A blind tasting is the final quality check to ensure the wine lives up to the region’s reputation.


Other Terms to look for:

Classico, means the wine is produced in the original historic centre of the protected territory. Take special note of Chianti Classico and Soave Classico.

Riserva, means the wine enjoyed extended aging under specific conditions to deliver more complexity and character. The length of time varies with (red, white, Traditional-method sparkling, Charmat-method sparkling).

Superiore, typically denotes a little higher in alcohol (0.5 to 1 percent), meaning riper fruit was used, which makes for more powerful expression. Superiore wine is produced using a smaller allowed quantity of grapes per hectare, generally yielding a higher quality.

Source: The Extraordinary Italian Taste and Chris Waters, editor of Vines Magazine.