Lying mostly in the province of Asti, the new Terre Alfieri DOCG in Piedmont is focused on two grape varieties, Arneis for white wines and Nebbiolo for reds.
Official approval was granted as of October this year, said the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato, which will regulate production.
DOCG, or Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita, is the highest level in Italy’s wine classification system.
Terre Alfieri gained DOC status in 2009 and is named after Count Vittorio Alfieri, a poet and playwright born in Asti in 1749, according to the Consorzio.
While production is small, it described Terre Alfieri as ‘an oenological niche of great importance’.
Among the area’s particular characteristics, it cited ‘steep hills characterised by the presence of the so-called Asti sands, soils made up of marine sedimentary deposits from the Pliocene era [5.3m to 2.6m years ago]’.
The new DOCG lies roughly south-west of Asti and covers 11 municipalities.
Seven are in the Asti province, and they are: Antignano, Celle Enomondo, Cisterna d’Asti, Revigliasco, San Damiano, San Martino Alfieri, Tigliole.
The other four lie over the border in Cuneo province, and are: Castellinaldo, Govone, Magliano Alfieri and Priocca.
‘This is a result that not only enriches the range of our DOCGs, but also our entire wine scene,’ said Filippo Mobrici, president of the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato, who added that the new status was ‘just the beginning’.
He said, ‘We hope that Terre Alfieri can have the same success of the other denominations of controlled and guaranteed origin such as Barbera d’Asti, Nizza and Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato.’
There are rules around production, including yields and ageing time, that must be followed by wineries using the Terre Alfieri DOCG name.
For both ‘Terre Alfieri Nebbiolo’ and ‘Terre Alfieri Arneis’, the stated grape must constitute at least 85% of the wine.
For ‘Superiore’ wine, Arneis must be aged for six months, while Nebbiolo must be aged for 12 months with at least six of those in wooden barrels. There is also a Nebbiolo Riserva level, which requires 24 months of ageing, including at least 12 months in wooden barrels.