Italian Wine Classifications

At Catania Coastal Italian, we know what it means to be authentic. You won’t find any pale imitations or cheap knock-offs on our menu. Each of our dishes represents the best of authentic Italian cuisine, and each wine we offer has just the right profile to match any dish you choose.


In an earlier post, we discussed three types delicious types of wine that we have waiting for you here in La Jolla. But do you know how to identify a quality wine?


Italian Wine Classifications

Each wine-producing country has its own classification laws regarding the quality of their wine. Italian wines are no different, although in the past the classification process has caused a bit of confusion, as some of the region’s best wines did not fit exactly within the guidelines. In more recent years, the system has been improved upon and it is now much easier to identify which wines belong to which categories.


DOC: Denominazione di Origine Controllata

Introduced in the early 60’s, the DOC was meant to encourage the quality production of wine. Wine producers were expected to to meet that quality standard to ensure that exported wine would be a quality representation of the region from which it originated.


DOCG: Denominazione de Origine Controllata e Garantita

This category is reserved exclusively for the highest quality Italian wines. These wines must adhere to all the requirements of the DOC and must also be guaranteed to pass blind taste tests. In recent years, more requirements have been implemented to ensure these wines earn their prestigious reputation.


IGT: Indicazione Geografica Tipica

This classification was implemented to acknowledge wines of superior quality that did not meet the DOC requirements. This allows for more experimentation on the part of wine-producers, allowing them the freedom to create some very interesting wines that might not necessarily be able to meet the stricter requirements of geographical regions.


Vino da Tavola

Vino da Tavola literally means “table wine.” These are the most basic wines available and are typically mass-produced for local consumption. Wines of this variety don’t have specific regulations on the types of grapes used in production and are generally not suitable for ageing. The only real requirement is that wines with this label need to have been produced in Italy. Some industry professionals hold contemptuous views on table wines, but there are advantages such as the production of large amounts of revenue for the production region, and in recent years that increased revenue has coincided with an increase in quality.


Regional Appellations

In addition to the national classifications, wine-producing regions in Italy also have appellations specific to them. These labels can refer to a particular region or to a smaller area within that region. For instance, one of the wines we carry, the Lighea Donnafugata is cultivated on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria and thus has the designation “Sicily IGT.”


Now that you know more about Italian wine, you should put your skills to the test! Come in to Catania Coastal Italian today, or call to make a reservation. Our authentic Italian cuisine, quality wine list, and beautiful La Jolla location will not disappoint.

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