I wasn’t aware of it previously, but seeing it written now, it distresses me even more. Here, in the publication Albo Vigneti 2010, is an example of how to send a great opportunity for the Langa and Roera zone up in smoke: the birth of the new DOC ALBA. The more I repeat the words the more outraged I become, such a great name used so poorly. I am scarcely able to fathom what spirit could have given rise to this genial idea. The area of production is so large, with the possibility of using blends of many different grape varieties, which one can already use in part in other denominations anyway. I can imagine that the idea arose, once again, for primarily political motives, which is truly a shame. What’s more, take a look at how many businesses decided to produce Alba DOC: a good eight. I am deeply unhappy because thus this name, which is in and of itself synonymous with resounding quality, gets destroyed by another useless DOC. After the impossibility of using the name Piedmont DOC, because identifying another senseless DOC, reserved for four businesses producing Spumante (80,000 bottles), even the word Alba is by now to be tossed.
I have always dreamt of a logical territorial subdivision, one that would start from the biggest “box” and end with the smallest. Here it is unfortunately inevitable that I must turn to the French example for an exemplar. It would be wine that bears graduated identifications, for example Piedmont-Langhe-Barolo-Serralunga, and thus any vineyard name becomes simpler and more logical. But what can I say, my friends, it’s much better to bureaucratize and confound, without any logic whatsoever…this is Italy, and not only for wine.
Since I am already here, I would like to tell you what I think about the other Piedmont DOCs: more than half should be abolished. Some of you will say that I am saying these things because I produce Barolo, but would you please then explain to me what sense it has to go out on the global market and mix up ideas of Dolcetto d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Asti, di Dogliani, Dogliani superiore, Diano, Langhe Monregalesi, or what sense lies in DOC Colline Saluzzesi Chatus, Terre Alfieri, and etc. There are wines produced in areas that are less suitable than others, or that come from vineyards that give a wine that is perhaps good, but less complex. Well then, what to say about putting one’s product on the market with a name that is less specific but more potent, like Langhe or like Piedmont? Certainly they would not be able to easily fetch a good price, but there is more chance of being recognized internationally. I would say that to be sure Piedmont is more recognizable than the Pinerolesi Hills. In Italy, our regulation system is unfortunately not very attached to reality. Another issue is the uselessness of the DOC and DOCG wrapper. Take note of the presentations by any wine producer: no one underlines the presence of this guarantee. We all talk about the importance of the seriousness of the vine-dresser and the intrinsic particularity of the area or the vineyard. When on earth would we say that this wine is good because it is DOCG? The problem with Brunello contributed to the mistrust, since the same scandal could explode for any other Italian denomination, and so it was that the credibility of the individual control bodies slipped drastically.
Finally, circling back to a great post by Franco Ziliani, all we needed were the DOCs that I call “touristic”: Rome DOC, Venice DOC, and etc. Speaking of tourism, it’s time for someone to take a good vacation, some serious time out for reflection.