All the way at the top of the wine label pyramid, we reach the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, a certification used to identify some of the most prestigious Italians wines. There are a total of 73 products that can be labelled as DOCG certified wines and some of those wines include Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, Greco di Tufo, Sagrantino di Montefalco and Amarone della Valpolicella. These wines are synonymous with quality and taste throughout Italy.
The DOCG certification ties a wine to the territory where it is produced. The territory must be clearly defined, even if only comprising of a few hectares. This is fundamental criteria that needs to be met in order to be given the DOCG certification. An example of identifying a wine to its territory is the Bolgheri Superiore DOCG wine which is produced in the province of Livorno, just near the gorgeous landscape of Maremma Tuscany. Other criteria for DOCG wine certification is the wine must have at least 5 years of DOC certification and the quality of workmanship and territorial characteristics, and the commercial value both nationally and internationally are also taken into consideration when it comes to defining a DOCG. The certification is not only related to the territory but the quality when it comes to development, delivery and distribution of the wine which helps add value.
Wines with a DOCG certification are usually given the name of the municipality such as Barolo, Piedmont, Tuscany Carmignano, Turasi in Campania or even restricted areas like Nobile di Montepulciano and the hills of Val di Chiana. Tuscany has the most DOCG wines, as many as 19, and most are well known such as Chianti Classico, Morellino di Scansano, Aleatico dell’Elba and the already mentioned Brunello di Montalcino.
DOCG and DOC certified wines follow very similar criteria, though DOCG are much more stringent. Wines must pass a chemical and physical test, both in the phase of barrel aging and when in the bottle. A sensory analysis is also applied and the tastings are administered by a ministerial committee. If any of these criteria or tests are not met, wines cannot be considered DOCG.
So what was the first wine to get DOCG certification? The first wines to be awarded the title of DOCG are Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano (DPR, July 1, 1980; Nobile receiving first ever certification number AA 000001). Seven years later, white wines began getting certification as well with the Albana di Romagna DOCG on April 13, 1987.