Without the “G”, it means that you’re not getting sparkling Moscato from the leading appellation for sparkling Moscato.
For many in and outside the Italian wine industry, the DOC system can often seem overwhelming if not downright labyrinthic. Like much of Italian culture (and cultural access), it’s governed by body of laws and regulations highly bureaucratic in nature — for better and worse. And that can make it seem more complicated than it really is.
DOC stands for denominazione d’origine controllata or designation of controlled origin. First introduced in the 1960s, it was modeled after the French appellation system, known as AOC or appellation d’origine contrôlée (appellation of controlled origin).
It means that before being released for sale, a given wine has been checked (controlled) by a committee of tasters who have authenticated its origin and verified that it 1) has been made with grapes grown in the delimited appellation area; 2) it has been made using only grapes authorized by the appellation; and 3) it has been vinified in accordance with appellation norms and standards for production. Controls include tasting the wine after it has been bottled but also include monitoring of farming practices and winemaking protocols.
In the 1980s, the Italian ministry of agriculture, which oversees the Italian national committee on wine, introduced the DOCG or denominazione d’origine controllata e garantita or designation of controlled and guaranteed origin, adding the “G” or “guaranteed.” The idea, at least in theory, was that this would represent a higher level of monitoring for higher quality and caliber wines.
Now is neither the time or place to argue the (arguable) value of the augmented system. But it’s important to note that the “G” isn’t always used to denote what you might expect.
In the case of Moscato d’Asti DOCG, however, the “G” couldn’t be more important. Unless is it has the DOCG, it isn’t Moscato d’Asti DOCG. It doesn’t meant that a sparkling Moscato from another appellation is “bad” or even not as good. But without the “G”, it means that you’re not getting sparkling Moscato from the leading appellation for sparkling Moscato.
And why Moscato d’Asti DOCG with a “G” is worth seeking out is what I’ll tackle in our next post here on the blog.