page created Dec 2009, revised 3/13
The Italian quality wine rules are everything you might expect – complex, a bit bureaucratic and constantly changing. The basic quality pyramid is:
All this is now in some doubt as no one knows yet what the effect of new EU rules will be, even though they came into force for the 2009 vintage. The idea is to have larger, clearer, regional DOPs (denominazione di origine protetta) or IGPs (indicazione di origine protetta) to replace the whole pyramid. There are two main views on these changes: they are either the end of civilisation as we know it with famous names disappearing (eg the sub-zones of Chianti such as Rufina) or, more positively, a bit of bureaucratic nonsense which the Italians will just find a way around. Until things become a bit clearer, here is how the rules stood before the deluge. The whole problem has been put on hold by allowing areas with existing DOCs and DOCGs to retain them alongside the new DOPs and IGPs … I think we will be living in parallel universes for some time!
DOC unless specified as DOCG
|Bolgheri Bianco||Trebbiano toscano: from 10 to 70%;
Vermentino: from 10 to 70%;
Sauvignon: from 10 to 70%.
|Bolgheri Rosso DOCG||Cabernet Sauvignon: from 10 to 80%;
Merlot: up to 70%;
Sangiovese: upto 70%.
|Bolgheri Sassicaia DOCG||Cabernet Sauvignon at least 80%|
|Monteregio di Massa Marittima rosso, riserva, rosato e novello||Sangiovese, at least 80%; up to 10% of other authorised grape varieties (each). For ‘rosso’ a minimum of 11.5% alcohol, for riserva 12%|
|Monteregio di Massa Marittima bianco||Trebbiano toscano, minimum of 50%;Vermentino, Malvasia bianca, Malvasia bianca di Candia e Ansonica, each or together not more than 30%; other authorised white grapes 15% or combinations not more than 30%.|
|Monteregio di Massa Marittima Vermentino:||Vermentino, minimun 90%; other authorised white grapes 10%.
minimum 11.5% alcohol
|Val di Cornia bianco||Trebbiano Toscano: at least 50%
Vermentino bianco: maximum 50%
up to 20% authorised white grapes
|Val di Cornia rosso or Rosso di Val di Cornia DOCG||Sangiovese: at least 40% Cabernet Sauvignon e Merlot: either separately or together, up to 60%
other authorised red grapes, but not Aleatico, up to 20%. For ‘riserva’ two years in oak, 6 months in bottles
|Val di Cornia Suvereto DOCG||Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot up to 100%; for ‘riserva’ two years in oak, 6 months in bottles|
|Val di Cornia single grape varieties||Any of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauv, Merlot, Ciliegiolo, Aleatico, Vermentino, Ansonica etc – each 85% minimum|
|Morellino di Scansano DOCG||Minimum 85% Sangiovese
minimum 12,50% alcohol, for the Riserva 13,00%
For ‘riserva’, the wines must be aged for at least 2 years, one of which must be in wood barrels
|Montecucco rosso DOC||Sangiovese: minimum 60%. other authorised black grapes 40%.|
|Montecucco Sangiovese||Sangiovese: at least 85%.|
|Montecucco bianco||Trebbiano Toscano: at least 60%.|
|Montecucco Vermentino||Vermentino: at least 85%|
|Bianco di Pitgliano||Trebbiano toscano 50-80%; Greco, Malvasia bianca toscana e Verdello, individually or together not more than 20%; Grechetto, Chardonnay, Sauvignon (bianco), Pinot bianco e Riesling italico (bianco), individually not more than 15%, together not more than 30%.
Other authorised white grapes, upto 10%.
|Parrina rosso; rosato; bianco||Rosso or Rosato : Sangiovese: at least 70%; White: Trebbiano toscano (Procanico): from 30 to 50%; Ansonica and/or chardonnay: from 30 to 50;|
|Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario||at least 85% Ansonica B|
|IGT Toscano/a or Maremma Toscana + grape variety||at least 85% of the named variety|
|Resource||The DOCGs can be seen here (in Italian). For the DOCs and DOCGs see here (Italian).|
Other selected TUSCAN DOCs and DOCGs
|Chianti Classico DOCG||Sangiovese at least 80%, other authorised black grapes (either local or ‘international’), up to 20%
From 2006 on, white grapes no longer allowed, as in the past. Riserva: 24 months of ageing
|Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG||Sangiovese (here called Prugnolo gentile): minimum 70%. Cannaiolo nero upto 20%.
Other black grapes up to 20%, white grapes up to 10%. Minimum of 2 years ageing
|Brunello di Montalcino DOCG||100% Sangiovese (here called Brunello). Minimum of 2 years of oak ageing. Released on sale 5 years after the harvest, 6 years for the Riserva|
|Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG||At least 85% Vernaccia di SG (said to be unrelated to all the other Vernaccia); 10.5% or 11% for riserva which also must be aged for 14 months before release (of which three in the bottle)|
|other Chianti subzones, eg Rufina||70-100% Sangiovese, up to 10% white grapes allowed, not more than a total of 15% Cabernet Franc/Sauvignon|