The Tuscan wine region is world renown for having the most exceptional (and expensive) wines in all of Italy. And if you have ever read the label of a fine Italian wine, chances are you have noticed a few common designations: DOC, DOCG, and IGT.
In the latter half of the 20th century, Italy enacted a number of regulatory measures to maintain their wine’s quality and authenticity. These laws regulate various aspects of the winemaking process, such as the sourcing of grapes, the types of grape used, the aging process, and the alcohol content. Upon adherence to these regulations, an italian wine will receive official government certification in one of three categories (from most to least strict):
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG): This designation is assigned to bottles coming from producers that adhere to the most stringent of regulations during the making of a specific wine. The Italian government has a committee that tests these wines to guarantee their geographic origins and overall quality. DOCG certification is only granted to a handful of Italian wines – further adding to their allure and prestige.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC): Much more commonly found are the DOC wines. The regulations for DOC certification, while still very strict, are much more lax than those of DOCG. For example, the certified growing zones for these wines are larger and the approved grape varietals are slightly more diverse.
Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT): Wines receive this designation when they are unable to abide by the strict regulations of the DOC and DOCG wines. Don’t be fooled, though, these wines can still be world-class. Super Tuscans are a perfect example of this.
Super Tuscans: Some Italian producers in the 1970s began seeing the strict rules governing the production of DOCG and DOC certified wines as far too limiting (they for example wanted to use different varietals in their blends or didn’t want to be forced to source their grapes from the allowed chianti zones). These producers coined the term Super Tuscan to designate their wines from the humble Vino da Tavola category. Super Tuscans now rank amongst Italy’s most refined wines