“DOC”. How many times have we classified certain products with this acronym? Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Controlled Designation of Origin) has now entered the popular imagination: when food or wine is classified as “Doc”, the uniqueness of its quality is guaranteed.
However, this is only partly true: it is very difficult for a DOC wine to result of poor quality and not to be pleasant to the palate and nose. We speak of the larger designation today in Italy: there are 332 DOC labels, compared to the 118 IGT labels and the 73 DOCG ones. These wines are produced and sold throughout our national territory, from the Val d’Aosta to Sicily; they range from Frascati Laziale to the Vernaccia toscana, from the Alto Adige Trentino to the Barbera d’Alba piemontese. The origin of this designation is difficult to trace. An official document, the 1963 Presidential Decree of July 12, on “Rules for the protection of designations of origin of musts and wines” states that these “apply to the wines Pantelleria Moscato Passito and Marsala. On the other hand, in 1966, the prestigious site “Quattrocalici classified Ischia, Frascati, Bianco di Pitigliano and Aprilia DOC, as the first DOC wines; this was three years after the above-mentioned decree.
Beyond the historiographical disputes, we can try to shed light on the criteria behind the 1963 Presidential Decree no. 930. Well, DOC wines (as seen in the previous article) must submit to a more rigorous specification than those denominated IGT. Together with the geographical indication of origin, they must bear clear indications as to the production area of the grapes, the maximum yield of the grapes and wine per hectare, the physio-chemical and organoleptic characteristics of the wine and the production conditions. The latter are what we call “terroir” and they range from climate and soil, to altitude and orientation of vineyards. Moreover, they must indicate the composition of the vineyards, the type of cultivation, the minimum period of barrel and bottle aging and the way the organoleptic tests are carried out. Criteria far more restrictive than those in place for IGT, especially for those of you who would like to “experiment” more with their own grapes and vines, but which ensure a general high standard for the final product. These physical and organoleptic tests are carried out by special ministerial boards and third party institutions to guarantee the authenticity of the product.
However, DOC is still the most popular wine classification throughout Italy, even with the introduction of the new DOP designation. Therefore, as we often say, we cannot only judge a wine by its label, but it is equally true that a toast with a glass of DOC wine will hardly disappoint. Cheers!