The top tier of the Italian appellation system. DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Certification of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin). Each DOCG is named for the characteristic wine of the region, and the classification is meant to enforce rigid farming and fermentation practices. The wines must also pass muster with a tasting panel. As a result, many of these traditional Italian wines have improved markedly in quality over the years. The list is not static, but new DOCGs are added infrequently, and such additions (as in the case of Albana di Romagna) are sometimes controversial.

And the axiom about appellations applies: just because a wine has been given a DOCG status, it doesn't mean that the grape juice in the bottle is actually any good. But it does give you a place to start.

The current DOCG wines are:

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