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Even the geographic regions eschew consistency;


each of the 20 regions is an entity of its own, with certain powers that tend to stray from national wine- making standards and laws. Each region is subdi- vided into provinces that take their names from the principal village they occupy. Italian wines are marked in a classification system


that has roots dating back centuries. Te governing body for quality designations is the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). Tis means the area in which the vines are grown and wine produced is a protected area. Wines of even higher quality are given DOCG


status, which stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita, or “guaranteed in the style and regional authenticity” of the wine. Italian DOC laws differ from their French counterparts in the AOC in


A


that Italy requires aging of the wines and that there are no Premier Cru or Grand Cru systems in place for classification. At present, there are more than 300 DOC appel-


lations, which account for approximately 20 percent of total wine production, and 35 DOCG wine appel- lations. Te most recent laws, from 1992, promoted much of the finer vino da tavola (table wine) to the category of Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). IGT-designated wines are classified by color, grape


and varietal typology from the larger regions. With more than 115 appellations, IGT wines are the Italian equivalent of the French Vin de Pays wines. Further- more, all wines now carry on their labels the wine’s generic name, producer’s name and location, alcohol content by volume, and classification status (DOCG, DOC, IGT or simple vino da tavola).


READING AN ITALIAN WINE LABEL


lthough Italian wines are marked


in a classification system that goes back centuries, there is actually no simple way to decipher an Italian wine label. However, the labels are required by law to contain basic information.


Italians have different ways of labeling what wine is in


a bottle. Although it is not required by law, bottles frequently identify grape variety, region and name.


= Information required by law


= Optional information


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