Silano Caciocavallo, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, Pantelleria capers, Emilia Romagna Culatello, the Val D’Aosta Fontina, Prosciutto di Parma are just some of the quality Italian products classified as Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Indication of Origin, since the implementation of the 2006 EU Regulation no 510, which protects products of a well-defined and guaranteed geographical area.
Quality guaranteed by factors such as climate, the specific nature of the soil, water, fields, breeding and the production techniques or craftsmanship. Again, as with wines, “to benefit from a protected designation of origin, an agricultural or gastronomic product must follow procedural guidelines”, as stated in Article 4 of the above-mentioned Regulation.
It is for these reasons that the European legislation has tried, with the 2008 EC Regulation no.479, to group all agricultural and food products under the same designation ( DOP and IGP), including IGT, DOC and DOCG wines. The intention was therefore to simplify procedural guidelines by reducing the number of designations. At the same time, the wines involved would not have to change any of their product specifications: IGT wines would continue to satisfy the same criteria, as well as DOC and DOCG wines.
However, in so doing, consumers, especially if not very informed of the quality of a wine, might have considered DOC and DOCG wines identical, if both linked to one single DOP designation, so the 2013 EC Regulation no 1308 partially repealed this change of product specification. IGT, DOC and DOCG can still feature next to the recently introduced PDO and PGI designation. This is to emphasize the importance of wine among Italian food products. Modena Balsamic Vinegar or Calabria Chestnut Honey, for instance, may be allowed a single DOP designation because they come from an already well-defined and limited geographical area. Wine, however, as it is produced throughout Italy, requires further and stricter specifications.
However, it is good to remember that the introduction of the DOP and IGP, as specified, has not altered and does not alter any of the procedures in force on wine procedural regulations. The requirements are still the same: the designation of origin, the maximum yield of the grapes, the methods of organoleptic tests, the minimum period of barrel and bottle aging and the composition of vineyards. Labels will continue to provide basic information such as the production area, the bottler, any importer, the alcoholic strength and the presence of sulphites.
Ultimately, as seen in our brief excursus on finest Italian wines, nothing will change the fact that our glasses will be filled with Bacchus precious nectar anyhow, produced by the best winemakers in the world: Italians. Cheers! Or Cin! Cin!