Let’s start with what might seem an obvious one, but as the Latins used to say “repetita iuvant” (repeated things help) and so, do we all know what DOC and DOCG are?
Denominations of Controlled Origin – DOCs – are used to indicate and certify a quality wine whose peculiarities are defined by the unique characteristics of the terroir, the area of production, the grape variety and the specific method of production.
DOCGs, Controlled and Guaranteed Denominations of Origin are given to wines that have already been recognized as DOCs for at least ten years and are considered to be of particularly high quality. Only wines that pass specific chemical-physical and organoleptic analyses, designed to establish that the wine meets the requirements set forth in the specifications become DOCGs.
DOC recognition is often given to wines produced in small or medium-sized areas: there are well-known appellations that reflect a wide production of bottles and others that, on the other hand, concern niches of rarity and excellence that we often do not know about.
Of the approximately 341 DOC wines and 78 DOCG wines currently classified in Italy, in fact, few are known to wine lovers: we have tried a few that we are sure will amaze you!
GARIBALDI’S WINE THAT THE BRITISH LIKED
Marsala DOC wine is a fortified wine produced in Sicily, specifically in Marsala, from which it takes its name. The controlled designation of origin must be supplemented according to the characteristics of the product (“Fine,” “Superiore,” “Superiore Riserva,” “Vergine,” “Vergine Riserva,” and “Vergine Stravecchio”).
The production area for grapes destined for Marsala fortified wines includes the Trapani area, excluding Pantelleria, Favignana and Alcamo. Only man’s work over the years has made this productive area, already naturally suited to wine production, unique.
This natural predisposition is what has been able to exploit the Caruso & Minini winery, born from an ambitious bet, combining the agricultural tradition of the Sicilian Caruso family and the sales expertise of the Minini family, from Brescia.
In the marvellous hectares located on a group of hills east of Marsala, they cultivate both indigenous vines such as Grillo, Catarratto, Grecanico, Inzolia, Zibibibbo, Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Perricone and international grapes. Some of the first create the blend that makes up Marsala Superiore Riserva, made from Grillo and Cataratto grapes, two of the five grape varieties allowed by the regulations.
The ageing period envisaged for this DOC is rather long: it goes from a minimum of 1 year for the ‘Fine’ Marsalas to over 5 years for the ‘Riserva’ versions, like this bottle whose wine rests over a lustre in small oak or cherry barrels, and then ages for at least 3 months more in the bottle.
There are few further indications given in the production specifications, but they are very careful in defining the colour (gold, amber, ruby) and the sugar content, which must be indicated on the label.
Caruso and Minini say with this bottle that producing wine in Marsala ‘imposes great respect for a tradition now two hundred years old to give substance to the history that persists in not becoming legend. This Marsala is the best fruit of our land and is a perpetual discovery strictly reserved for those who willingly yield to the emotion of encountering a great wine’. Sipping a glass of Marsala Riserva is a seductive pleasure, never too cloying, perfect for an #Affectionate character.
Producers advise you to be guided by the wine itself when deciding when and why to taste it: it is certainly perfect with ricotta cheese desserts, sfogliatine, Sicilian cannoli or fruit jam tartlets, but you would be surprised to try it with a board of very mature cheeses. A sharp contrast between sweetness and a syrupy body to balance the savouriness and butteriness of some mature cow’s milk cheeses. To further surprise your palate, we would try it as an appetiser, with creamy foie gras tartlets, with mushrooms in oil or a creamy legume pâté.
VULTURE PASSION IN A BOTTLE
In Barile, between two lava flows of Monte Vulture, there is a land that hosts on its slopes a company that produces the wine that is the symbol of its region, Aglianico del Vulture DOC, one of the most important red wines in Italy. This denomination refers to wine made exclusively from Aglianico grapes, cultivated precisely around Mount Vulture, an extinct volcano that dominates the landscape of northern Basilicata. A historic DOC, established in May 1971, it defines a full-bodied, tannic and complex wine, long dubbed the ‘Barolo of the South’. Since 2010, the ‘superior’ variant of the wine has changed to Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG.
The Aglianico del Vulture DOC is born in a place where the strong temperature range during the night benefits the bunches, with small berries, to better concentrate all the colouring and aromatic substances that will determine the quality of the wine. The Quarta Generazione winery dedicates itself to this grape following the directives of the production regulations, which require an ageing of at least one year (two years for the reserves): 12 months in wood with bâtonnage for their bottle.
The perfect choice for a #Sage character, Aglianico del Vulture DOC Quarta Generazione is rich in body, intense ruby colour and full of flavour: the result of prolonged ripening of the grapes and a peculiar balance of acids, sugars and tannins. When consumed young, this wine is characterised by high tannins and ripe fruit aromas; with ageing, however, notes of undergrowth, spices and cocoa prevail in a particularly harmonious and elegant glass.
Monte Vulture, with its draining, volcanic soils, has such peculiar characteristics that it was essential to set precise limits for the altitude of the vineyards, set by the regulations at between 200 and 700 metres above sea level. Quarta Generazione, with total respect for the territory, seeks to preserve its traditions and bring out the best qualities of this wholly Lucanian vineyard.
PANI, CASU E BINU A RASU (PROVERB IN SARDINIAN DIALECT)
Sardinian islanders use this saying to identify the perfect components of a traditional and genuine snack: bread, cheese and a glass full of wine. Yeah, but what wine?
Have you ever heard of Malvasia di Cagliari DOC? Spread over a vast area (including the entire province of Cagliari and a large part of the province of Oristano), it can be made from grapes that are at least 85% Malvasia, Monica, Moscato or Vermentino. This is because, as of 2011, Cagliari DOC was born, joining the previous designations Malvasia di Cagliari DOC, Moscato di Cagliari DOC and Monica di Cagliari DOC.
Malvasia is a name given to several grape varieties found throughout our peninsula and in France; for the production of Cagliari DOC, however, the grape to be used is Malvasia di Sardegna.
Malvasia di Cagliari can be vinified according to various types: as a dry or sweet wine it gives a straw-gold colour with an intense and delicate nose. In the liqueur version, up to the riserva (aged in barrels for a minimum of 2 years), it is much more persistent in its aromas and perfumes, characterised by fruity and honey notes.
The territorial uniqueness of the island has made the wines produced from the same vineyard very different: the uniqueness of each bottle will therefore be the hallmark of each tasting. In the southern part of Campidano, twenty kilometres from Cagliari, lies an area immersed in greenery, which has always been devoted to working the land and especially to oenology. Here the family of Audarya produces an extremely aromatic wine, characterised by scents of delicate flowers and pear. A wine with an #Profound character, it is perfect with cheese boards (as we said, casu) and first courses of fish and roe: it will give you a savoury and aromatic sip, perfectly balanced. Audarya’s Malvasia di Cagliari Estissa retains the minerality that brings back memories of the panorama you can fill your eyes and heart with if you visit the winery.
‘GREEK WINE’… IN THE HEART OF PIEDMONT
Erbaluce di Caluso or Caluso passito Riserva DOCG wine is one of the nineteen DOCGs of the Piedmont region, produced exclusively from Erbaluce grapes.
Perfect as a wine to accompany desserts, butter biscuits and fruit pastries, this wine expresses its full potential when paired with aged and blue cheeses. The reserve, then, is perfect for lovers of soft, mellow wines that envelop the palate: an #Affectionate character will love the Erbaluce di Caluso Passito Riserva DOCG “Venanzia” produced by La Masera winery.
Born from the dream of five friends, La Masera represents the desire to produce quality, authentic wine, combining the wisdom of ancestors with the improvements made available by today’s technology. Their Erbaluce thus comes from the soul, but also from a unique terroir through a simple interpretation full of passion. Vinified in Piverone, one of the 37 municipalities located between Ivrea and Caluso where the regulations provide for its production, this golden wine with amber reflections amazes with its broad and highly complex bouquet of aromas: hints of fruit in syrup, dried fruit and toasted nuances. Over time, Erbaluce vine has adapted particularly well to the sandy and pebbly soil of the Canavese hills, whose good acidity leaves a delicate freshness in the wine: it is best served chilled to enjoy it at its best. On the slopes of these hills are the vineyards of La Masera from which you can enjoy a surprising panorama, dominated by Lake Viverone (which also influences the phases of the grape harvest): treat yourself to a wine tasting in the wine cellar, a visit to these production areas will reserve you pleasant surprises in discovering uncontaminated natural territories.
The first Piedmontese white wine to obtain DOC status, Erbaluce di Caluso can be vinified as a still white, sparkling or passito. It is precisely this last variant that most closely resembles the sweet, rather alcoholic and strongly aromatic ‘Greek wine’ that is said to have been in demand in the region at the foot of the Alps already around the year 1000. For this reason, Piedmontese winegrowers began cultivating some ‘Greek’ grapes, including Erbaluce.