There is so much, borderline too much, food and wine in Italy to even start covering the surface..
Italy is abundantly complex in variety and distinctive differences that southern Italy is almost a whole other planet from the northern Italy, too add to this beautiful chaos, there are twenty Italian regions, similar to different little countries. Each region has their own ingredients and signature way to do very basic things, from eating, talking, being on time.
To protect the quality of local ingredients, products are labelled with a D.O.P. stamp. The 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: gorgonzola comes from Gorgonzola, and parmigiano from Parma, the list goes on!
When you come nose to nose with odors of a special gourmet salumi shop, and when you find one of those, you find cheese and where you find cheese, you find wine. The Italian three-in-one special. Most of the selections are completely artisan and do not posses a D.O.P. status. Selecting cheese in a gourmet shop is highly recommended over the local supermarket. The main difference is straight up delicacy and art.
Pick up a bottle of Italian wine and you are likely to see one of these designations:
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 if a variety 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 grapes per hectare, level of grape ripeness, what the bottle and cork can be made of. The star here is the government sommelier who is paid an obscene amount of money to taste and guarantee these fine wines.
D.O.C. Denomination of Controlled Origin wines are much more commonly found. The rules governing quality and authenticity are still very strict, but they’re a little more generous than those for DOCG 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 DOCG and DOC wines, or the simply choose not to.
Vino da tavola otherwise known as table or house wine is common in the countryside for an authentic Italian family. It is always fine, to drink wine, when there is food on the table. Served also in many restaurants, sometimes its 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, temperatures, 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!
DOSAGES OF LIQUOR
Extra brut is low sugar – very dry.
Brut is dry but softer than extra brut.
Extra dry is a slightly higher dosage of sugar than the classic brut, making it a suitable pairing for a wide variety of foods.
Sec or dry is less dry and slightly sweet.
Demi-sec has a high dose of sugar, meaning it goes well with deserts.