When VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani posted news of Italy’s first DOCG for a rosé — the recently created Castel del Monte Bombino Nero DOCG — on his blog Vino al Vino last week, the story was met with a tide of skepticism and negative comments by Italian winemakers and observers of the Italian wine world.
The first comment in the thread, authored by winemaker Stefano Menti, was a preview of the many observations and handwringing that would follow: “Dear Franco, I believe that with this step, the credibility of our DOC and DOCG [system] will be eroded.”
Why was such a humble expression of rosé wine elevated to the highest status in the hierarchy of the Italian appellation system? asks Franco in his post. As he points out, there are many more famous and perhaps more historically significant appellations for rosé in nearby Salento, where Negroamaro is used to produce some of Apulia’s most famous wines — both red and rosé. Furthermore, Franco observes, the current appellation is, in fact, a multivarietal appellation and allows for the inclusion of:
- Bombino Nero and/or Aglianico and/or Uva di Troia from 65-100%. Other grapes allowed in the production of this wine, by themselves or blended, include non-aromatic grape varieties recommended and/or authorized by the Province of Bari, provided they are grown locally, [for] up to 35% of the blend. (translation by VinoWire)
Franco proposes three theories as to why Italy’s National Wine Commission would condone such an abomination of the Italian appellation system:
1) The local presence of wineries who wield considerable weight, like Torrevento, Tormaresca (aka Marchesi Antinori), and Rivera, whose enologist Leonardo Palumbo is the president of the enologists association of Apulia and Calabria.
2) It’s impossible to identify any thread of logic in decisions made by Italy’s National Wine Commission. Had logic been their guide, legislators would have focused on the many other more-deserving appellations.
3) The true “blame” for this DOCG is not to be placed with the ministry-appointed bureaucrats but rather with the directors and leading players in appellations more renowned for their rosé than the newly minted DOCG Castel del Monte Bombino Nero.
For the most up-to-date list of Italian DOCGs, please see Alfonso Cevola’s blog, On the Wine Trail in Italy.