THE WINE CLASSIFICATIONS
Wine classifications are based on several specific criterias and are subject to strict regulations and laws.
According to the region of origin, wines are labeled “V.Q.P.R.D”, standing for Quality Wine Produced in a Delimited Region, and classified into: “Denominazione di Origine” (Designation of Origin); “Denominazione di Origine Controllata” (Designation of Controlled Origin); Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita” (Designation of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin); “Indicazione Geografica Tipica” (Typical Geographic Indication) referring to wines with particular characteristics produced in a definite larger area.
The DOC designation, that was granted to numerous Sicilian wines such as the Marsala d’Alcamo, the Delia Nivolelli di Menfi and the Santa Margherita del Belice di Contessa Entellina, means that the wine is produced in conformity with the government regulations on the matter.
According to the method of production wines are divided into young, white, rose and sparkling or classic wines.
According to the quality there are blending, table, finest, superior, distilled and special wines.
The difference between red and white wines is due to the color coming from the pigments in the skin of the grape; when the skin is removed before the wine is made the grape will remain white.
Special wines are divided into sparkling and non-sparkling wines. The latter can be:
- amber wines, having a high alcoholic content and intense flavor. They are especially consumed with appetizers or dessert and are further divided into vinsanti, passiti and liquorous wines.
- fortified wines, when grape spirit, brandy or both have been added to the wine. A typical fortified wine is the Marsala, born towards the end of the 1700’s.
- flavored wines, such as the vermouth that can be sweet or dry.
Distilled wines date back to the Greek Age and are furtherly divided into brandy, cognac, armagnac, and distillate of fermented grape as grappa.
According to the grape variety there are wines from white and red grapes. Among the most appreciated white grapes are:
- the Ansolia or Inzolia, used to produce dry table wines, and renowned both as a stand-alone varietal or blended with chardonnay;
- the Carricante or Catanese Bianco, growing in the Etna volcano area;
- the Cataratto Bianco, typical of the Trapani area and comprised of several varieties. It has a delicate flavor and a medium alcohol content and is often used to make Marsala wine;
- the Greco or Grecanico, originating from Greece and especially used to make table wines;
- the Zibibbo or Moscatellone, that Arabians introduced to Sicily and used to make the high celebrated Moscato di Pantelleria;
Among the red grapes are:
- the Frappato di Vittoria, with a long-life span.
- the Nerello, divided into several varieties among which are Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccino;
- the Nero D’Avola or Calabrese, a most esteemed grape since it is used to make highest quality wines;
- the Perricone or Pignatello, used to make quality wines.