Many products in Italy are labelled with a D.O.P. stamp. This stamp is yellow and orange, not very big, and the acronym stands for Domination Origin Protected. As the name suggests, this certification ensures that products are locally grown and packaged. Generally, products are named after its place of origin, for example: Gorgonzola comes from Gorgonzola, Parmigiano from Parma, Cinta Sinese comes from Siena, and the list goes on!
When picking up a bottle of Italian wine you are likely to see one of these designations: Let’s start from the top!
D.O.C.G. Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin is the highest designation of quality among wines under Italian wine law. Seeing this label on your wine means that wine producers followed the strictest regulations possible to make that wine. For example: what type of grapes can be used and the percentages of various types of grapes, the area in which the grapes must come from, the cardinal point the grapes must face, how much sunlight and humidity they are exposed to, kilos of vines per hectare, level of grape ripeness, what the bottle and cork can be made of. The best part is the government sommelier, who is paid an obscene amount of money to taste and guarantee these exceptional wines. There are now 74 DOCG wines in Italy, most of them concentrated in the regions of Piemonte, Tuscany, and the Veneto.
D.O.C. Denomination of Controlled Origin wine is much more commonly found. The rules governing quality and authenticity are still stringent, but they’re a little more generous than those with D.O.C.G. status. The geographic zone might be a little bigger or the rules about what kind of grapes might be slightly more relaxed.
I.G.T. Typical Geographical Indication wines accommodate growers who cannot meet the requirements for D.O.C.G. and DOC wines, or they simply choose not to.
Vino da Tavola, otherwise known as a table or house wine is common in the countryside for an authentic Italian family. It is always acceptable to drink wine when there is food on the table. Served also in many restaurants, sometimes it is just right and sometimes it is not. I prefer to choose some of my personal selections in the designated labels.
Wines are usually named after the regions they come from or after the name of the grape itself. On each designated wine bottle excluding table wine, you will find the alcohol volume, the name of the wine, temperature recommendations, possible pairing suggestions and history of the winemaker.
We have no idea the percentage of table wine, you are going to have to drink it and find out!
Extra brut is LOW sugar – AKA very dry.
Brut is dry but softer than extra brut.
Extra dry has a slightly higher dosage of sugar than the classic brut, making it a suitable pairing for a wide variety of foods.
Dry or sec is slightly sweet.
Extra dry or demi-sec has a high dose of sugar, meaning it goes well with desserts.