BEST DOCG WINES ITALY
When the Greek conquered south Italy, they found many vine plants and called the peninsula Enotria, the land of Wine (from oinos=wine). The history of Wine in the world is linked with the Roman Empire.
Nowadays in Italy there are at least 600 different varieties of grapes, 35 DOCG and about 350 DOC wines. Italy is proud of its indigenous grapes and wine tradition. Every region has its own grapes and its own wines.
The regulations in Italy classify the wines in DOCG (guaranteed origin), DOC (controlled origin), IGT, Vino da Tavola. When you read DOC on an Italian bottle it doesn’t always mean quality. It is more an identity card which guarantees that the bottle has followed certain regulations and was verified by a competent external society. The guaranteed origin DOCG is of higher level and consists of 35 DOCG varieties.
Some producers don’t make wines with regional grapes and don’t follow the DOC regulations but reach excellent results also with the label Igt. This is the case of the famous Supertuscans such as the Sassicaia and Ornellaia which were originally classified as Igt wines.
Here we did our list with the best DOCG Italian wines: enjoy and salute!
BEST DOCG WINES ITALY
- Barolo is also known as the wine of the kings and the king of the wines. It was the favorite wine of the Savoia family, the first Italian royal family. It is produced with the Nebbiolo grape in the Langhe area in the Piedmont region. The name of the grape Nebbiolo comes from Nebbia which means fog. In fact the harvest of the Nebbiolo grape usually takes place in October/November when the hills are covered with fog. The Barolo wine can be aged for many decades and give its best after many. It has tertiary aromas of Cocoa, licorice and coffe but you can find many different varieties of Barolo with different characteristics. The traditional match is with the Truffle from Alba which has a persistent flavor and with the brasato al barolo, typical plate of the region.
- Barbaresco. If the Barolo can be considered the king, the Barbaresco is for sure the queen. More elegant and fine but less strong and powerful than the Barolo. The Barbaresco wine has not a very rich color because the Nebbiolo grape has a low level of Malvidina, the substance contained on the skin of the grapes, which gives color to the wine.
- Brunello di Montalcino is one of the most famous wines from Tuscany. It is produced in the Montalcino area in the Val d’Orcia, which belongs to the unesco list. It was produced for the first time by the family Biondi Santi in the 19th century with a variety of Sangiovese called in this area Brunello. The Brunello Biondi Santi riserva can cost also more than 500 euros a bottle. The regulation of the Brunello is quite strict: 100% Sangiovese grapes, it has to age at least 3 years in oak barrels, no artificial irrigation must be used, and the grapes have to be picked manually. The perfect match is with a Florentine steak because the tannins dries out the juice inside the steak or with a persistent truffle plate or paired with aged cheese.
- Nobile di Montepulciano is another wine made with Sangiovese grapes but it can also be mixed with other varieties such as the canaiolo nero. The Sangiovese grape is the most planted red grape in Italy. It is mostly used in central Italy, Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. The name Sangiovese means Jupiter’s blood and comes from the mount Giove in the Emilia region. It is one of the most famous wines from Tuscany. Contact our guide if you want to organize a wine tasting in Tuscany.
- Amarone is produced in the Valpolicella area with indigenous grapes Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara. It is made with dried grapes but it doesn’t have a sweet taste because all the sugar is transformed into alcool. The wine was called amarone, which means still, bitter in contrast with the Recioto which is made in the same way but still contains some sugar in it. The Amarone has at least 14% percentage of alcool and suites well with steaks, stews and ribs or just for meditation in front of the fireplace during winter.
- Taurasi is the Barolo of South Italy. It is made with Aglianico grape, an ancient grape coming from Greece as the name refers (Aglianico=Ellenico). The Taurasi has a very late maturation and is full of tannins, which need time to be rounded in oak barrels. After 5 years the Taurasi is ready to drink but the elder the better. 2000 years ago the Romans already used to age it many decades as it is attested by many roman writers. The ancient Roman’s favorite wine was Falerno del Massico, first wine of the history to be classified by its region.
BEST DOCG WINES ITALY
- Franciacorta is the Italian Champagne. Its is produced in the Lombardia region with the method Champenoise, in Italian called metodo classico. It is made with Pinot bianco, pinot nero and chardonnay grapes. The second fermentation is made directly in the bottle. In the nose it has the typical scent of bread crust. The name Franciacorta probably comes from Curtes Francae, which were tax-free (Francae) religious communities (curtes) during the Middle Ages. Another famous sparkling wine produced with the metodo classico is the Trento DOC.
- Prosecco is one of the most exported Italian sparkling wines in the world. It is fresh and perfect for the Italian Aperitivo. It is made with Glera grapes re-fermented in big stainless steel tank (Charmat method in contrast with the Champenoise method which has the second fermentation directly in the bottle). In the nose the prosecco has typical scent of pear and apple. This grape is originally from a little town near Slovenia called Prosecco. The wine made with Glera grapes was the favorite wine of Livia, the emperor Augustus wife, as it is written in De Rerum Natura by Plinius the elder, the first book which described the different varieties of wine-grapes.
BEST DOCG WINES ITALY
- Verdicchio is a great Italian white wine produced in many regions of Italy. The most famous is the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from the Marche region. The name comes from the green tonalities (verde in Italian) of the wine. When aged in oak barrels it gains scent of almond, sage and spices. The Verdicchio is often sold in a typical bottle that reminds an ancient Anfora.
- Vermentino is a semi-aromatic grape produced on Sardinia, Tuscany and Liguria on the Italian west coast. The most famous is the Vermentino di Gallura (Sardinia) which is stronger than the Vermentino from Tuscany. Probably the name is coming from Vermena, a delicate and small twig. The notes on the nose are of citrus and fresh fruit which evolve into more mature and mineral notes after ageing.
- Greco di Tufo is a wine produced in south Italy with a very ancient grape. As the name recalls, the grape was introduced to Italy from Greece. Other grapes from Greece are Aglianico (from Ellenic), Fiano di Avellino and Falanghina. These grapes are all produced in the Campania region, a volcanic area where still an active volcano is. The Vesuvius is the only active volcano on the Italian mainland. The other famous volcano in Italy is Etna on the island Sicily. At the slopes of the volcano Etna superb wines are produced. Mineral taste and sapidity are the characteristic of volcanic wines. The Greco di Tufo is perfectly matched with seafood, spaghetti with clams and fish.
- Trebbiano is the second most widely planted grape of Italy. It is known in France as “Ugni blanc”. It can also age in oak barrels and gain a stronger taste. 7 DOC wines of Italy are composed by Trebbiano grapes such as Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano di Romagna, Trebbiano di Aprilia, Colli Piacentini Val Trebbia, Trebbiano di Arborea, Trebbiano di Capriano del Colle and Trebbiano Spoletino. It is a quite neutral grape, for this reason it is usually blended with other grapes with more personality. Trebbiano is also used to produce Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Dop from Modena.
- Aromatic Traminer is also known as Gewürztraminer which in German means spicy Traminer. It is an aromatic grape with a nice smell. The grape is also known as pink traminer because the skin of the grape has pink tonalities when it matures. The name Traminer comes from Termeno, a little town near Bozen in north Italy at the slopes of the Alps. The continental climate with cold nights and hot days contribute to make an explosive fragrance. The Gewürtztraminer has a very rich bouquet with notes of exotic fruit, litchi, apricot and peach.
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