Some new happenings in Italian wine that you may not be aware of.


One of the favorite questions that I get asked by my students is how many DOCGs does Italy have. It is not always easy to answer: once I get accustomed with a number, a new appellation gets approved and I have to rewrite my memory all over again.
So, at present in Italy there are 77 DOCGs that have completed the approval process from both the Italian government and the EU authorities. The three latest denominations are Nizza DOCG (Piemonte) in 2014, Tullum/Terre Tollesi DOCG (Abruzzo) in 2019 and Terre Alfieri DOCG (Piemonte) in 2020. However don’t get too attached to this number because it will change soon: Italy is waiting the approval for Canelli/Moscato di Canelli DOCG which only lacks the EU seal. Very soon there will be 78 DOCGs.
N.B.: Lison DOCG, which is the only interregional DOCG of Italy, is counted twice by Federdoc, once for Veneto and once for Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Sparkling news

Asti is going through a process of “Prosecchization”: the sweetness levels for the sparkling version (not Moscato d’Asti) have been gradually reduced to extra-dry in 2017 and to pas-dosé in 2020.
On the other hand Prosecco DOC has approved a rosé version, which combines Glera and Pinot Nero. Curiously, according to the official English translation of the disciplinare,

The controlled designation of origin wine «Prosecco» spumante rosé must be obtained from grapes coming from vineyards made up of the Glera vine species for a minimum of 85% and up to a maximum of 90%; within a company’s production processes, the Pinot Nero vine (vinified as a red wine) must be included for a minimum of 10% and up to a maximum of 15%.

which means that the regulation concerns the grape acreage, not the blend. As such, Glera and Pinot Nero will not necessarily be 85-90% & 15-10% in the wine itself, just in the declared surface of the vineyards.

This rosé version applies only to Prosecco DOC, not to the other two Prosecco DOCGs. However all three of them can now be made down to extra brut, and the DOC also Brut Nature.

No more “mentions”

The term Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva (MGAs) has been replaced by Unità Geografica Aggiuntiva (UGAs). To my knowledge, nothing else has changed, they still indicate the very same concepts: limited crus than can appear on the label of wines in the context of those appellations that have approved them.
Personally I preferred the previous “MGA” sound, but maybe it is just habit. I guess that “Unità” is an easier word to explain to the consumers, particularly in foreign markets.
That said, old habits die hard so many people still use the old monicker.

The new Valpolicella

Lot has changed in this area in the recent years.
First the blending formula of Amarone has been modified: taking effect from 2019 vintage and now Corvinone is allowed to replace all of Corvina in the blend, instead of just 50% (so Corvina/Corvinone can make 45-95% of the wine). The wine now can also be drier, with the residual sugar limit down from 12 g/L to 9 g/L.
Second, rules have changed for Ripasso as well and have been made a bit more clear: when you do the “ripasso” process, the pomace from Recioto or Amarone have to contain a liquid portion accounting to 10-15% of the base wine that is being processed. Besides, the maceration/refermentation has to be carried out for at least three days and only once.