Wine Tips: Italian Improvement

Staff Writer
Some productions of Italian Prosecco and Amarone get a status promotion.
Wine Tips: Italian Improvement

In just a few short weeks the Fiat, the car once synonymous with low quality, will arrive in the U.S. as an overhauled, stylish driving machine. Perhaps the Italian automaker was simply following the lead of local winemakers: Two of Italy's well known types of wine are now a touch more sleek as well.

At the end of 2009, both Prosecco (the affordable, crisp sparkling wine) and Amarone (the rich, concentrated, raisiny red from the Valpolicella region) saw some producers granted DOCG status, promoted from DOC. Now, the obvious question: What the heck does that mean?

DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or "controlled origin denomination." Basically, DOC is a stamp of quality as well as an assurance that the wine comes from where the label says it comes from. DOCG, on the other hand, is a higher designation that stands for "Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita," which means that the government tested, approved and guaranteed that the wine was of higher quality before it was bottled — then it put that pretty, pink seal across the top of the cork.

For Prosecco, the new rules mean that wines produced only in the designated region may be called Prosecco, and those with the DOCG status come from only a certain, small, high-quality growing area within that region. For Amarone, producers of the wine in Valipolicella agreed to set higher grape-growing and production standards to get the DOCG designation.

Ideally, it's a helpful guide for you, the wine drinker. But what wine regions do you think could use some more explanation such as this? Share your opinion below.