When is ‘So many’ ‘Too much’?
If we want to talk DOC, there are over 330 of them, not to mention the 73 DOCG wines. If you don’t believe me, check it out! Of course, they are all now called DOP wines, by European regulation.
What’s the difference you ask? Without going into how the wines are chemically checked and all that jazz, this is what differentiates the classifications:
DOC Denominazione di Origine Controllata: the certified origin means there are geographical limits on where the grape for a particular wine was grown and picked
DOCG Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita: the certified and guaranteed denomination is only for wines that have been DOC wines for at least five years, and that are considered to be particularly high quality. And let’s not get into the ‘sottozone’ which are the little areas in which a particular wine is produced, and considered the top of the quality pyramid. But just for example, Chianti Classico is produced near Arezzo (Colli Aretini), near Siena (Colli Senesi), near Florence (Colli Fiorentini), near Pisa (Colline Pisane) but also at Montespertoli and Montalbano and Rufina!
DOP Denominazione di Origine Protetta. This is the European acronym that applies to both of the above, because it is the protected origin of the product. And the DOP designation applies to other foodstuffs, like cheese and basil! All this because the quality of the product depends essentially or exclusively on the territory it is from. The European Union distinguishes DOP from IGP – Indicazione Geografica Protetta – that is a looser term, indicating that at least some of the production or work on a product takes place in a specific geographic area, and that phase confers the special quality of that product, but not all the product’s components may be from that geographic area.