Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 
Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide


   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 5, February 2003   
Appellation of Origin: is it a Warranty of Quality?Appellation of Origin: is it a Warranty of Quality? MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 4, January 2003 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 6, March 2003

Appellation of Origin: is it a Warranty of Quality?


 The renewed interest consumers are having about wine in recent years has drastically changed the trading and production of this beverage; consumers are getting more and more exacting about quality while rightly paying little or no attention about quantity. Consumers drink less wine, and drink with a more conscious moderation, however they drink and want to drink better wine. Rightly.

 One of the factors that should warrant a good level of quality is represented by the so called “appellations of origin”, that is the series of norms and disciplinary which suggest producers guidelines on how to make wines having a level of quality pretty high. Does any wine belonging to a specific category of appellation of origin represent a real and sufficient warranty of quality?


 

 Quality systems are legally in force in some wine countries of the world and each one of them has the purpose of warranting, in a legal way, the quality of wines which are recognized to be in suitable conditions in order to belong to a certain category of appellation. Most of the times, producers themselves propose to institute some appellation of origin, they also take care of writing the text of the disciplinary to be submitted to the institutional offices in charge for this matter. In a certain way, producers themselves define a production style in order to warrant the quality of the wines made in specific areas.

 The ideas is certainly noble and worth of consideration, however what happens in reality tells a different story which is sometimes contrasting and paradoxical. Sometimes there are wines, belonging to the very same appellation of origin, which indisputably have very different quality levels, some of them can be scarcely considered as mediocre, however they all are considered, at least from a institutional and legal point of view, as worth representatives of a high quality production. To be honest, the term itself mentioned in these wine's labels, appellation of origin, does not refer to any term that could be associated to quality, in fact it just warrants a wine is coming from a specific area.

 There is no doubt about the importance of safeguarding the traditions and the typicality of wines and grapes coming from historical areas and traditionally suited to the cultivation of vine and to the production of wine, we all know the area where a wine and grapes come from, represent a fundamental factor in the quality of wine. In case we would analyze the texts of the production disciplinary concerning appellation of origin of the many countries which adopt this kind of quality system, we would find out precise guidelines both on the cultivation of grapes and on the production of wine, however, it is clearly evident the results, from a producer to another, are absolutely different.

 If we consider, for example, the parameter of yield per hectare, we clearly realize the indications provided by a disciplinary can be freely applied in many ways, as well as relying on seriousness and honesty of wine producers that, most of the times, use and apply own criteria which are absolutely legal and acceptable according to the disciplinary itself. Let's suppose a disciplinary would define, for a specific appellation, a maximum yield per hectare of 100 quintals. This kind of yield can be obtained in different ways and each of them would be absolutely legal. We can obtain this yield, for example, by having 1000 vines per hectare and having each vine to produce 10 kilograms of grapes, or we can have 10000 vines per hectare and have each vine to produce one kilogram of grapes. The result is always and however the same, that is 100 quintals per hectare, however it is also clear the quality of grapes, and therefore of wine, will be very different: the more the grape produced by a single vine, the worse the quality of grapes and its characteristics. Anyway, wines obtained from these two examples can both legally belong to the hypothetical appellation of origin which sets a maximum yield per hectare of 100 quintals.

 This kind of production choices influence not only the quality of wine but also the costs for making a wine. There is no doubt about this, the costs for maintaining and cultivating a one hectare vineyard having 1000 vines is certainly and absolutely less than the ones required for a one hectare vineyard having 10000 vines. These costs, added to all the other costs of each phase of the production, directly influence the final price of a wine. This is certainly not anything new: to make a high quality wine means to make costly and demanding choices, however we should make proper distinctions between the honest and reasonable price proposed for the quality of wine and the real and proper speculation.

 Does appellation of origin mean quality? The most appropriate answer seems to be “maybe”. Probably the most certain thing that could be warranted by any appellation of origin, provided there are suitable and proper controls done by the authorities in charge of this as well as the seriousness and honesty of producers, is the area of origin. The real and proper quality of a product is strictly dependent to the seriousness and the choices of a producer, instead of the indications and the guidelines proposed by the appellations of origin.

 However it should be noted the differences in quality, even the most evident and embarrassing ones, among wines belonging to the same appellation of origin, are just cause of confusion, distrust and prejudicial attitudes in consumers for those wines coming from certain areas. In case a consumer would buy for the very first time a bottle of wine belonging to a specific appellation of origin and produced with low quality standards, this would make the consumer believe every wine from that appellation is of low quality. This prejudice is, of course, detrimental for any other producer which makes wines belonging to that appellation of origin with high quality standards and believes in the wine traditions of its area. It will be pretty hard for that consumer to change his or her point of view about the quality of the wines from that area, in case he or she had a low quality wine from that very area.

 Sometimes happens that certain producers, historically associated to a specific area, deliberately decide to not have their wines belonging to a specific appellation of origin, and prefer having their wines belonging to a more generic appellation, even though it is legally considered of lower quality, and by doing so they free themselves of the embarrassing “load” associated to those appellation of origin whose wines are mostly considered bad because of the low quality standards applied by some producers. Most of the times the wines dissociated by some producers to the historical appellation to which they belonged for a long time, are produced with the very same grapes and in the very same area but with production criteria absolutely different and qualitatively better.

 Quality of wines, like we said, also depends on the area of origin and its climatic conditions, these both represent important and determinant factors, however the area of origin cannot be itself the only factor that could warrant quality. Vine can be cultivated in the best and most suitable place of the world, but if the cultivation is done approximately and speculatively and wine is produced in a generic and uncaring way, it is impossible to make any product of quality, despite the fact it was produced in an excellent area. It is rightly said that production of wine also requires the careful and intelligent work of man, also supported by the will of Mother Nature, and, above all, the conscious will to make a quality wine, no matter what is suggested by any law or disciplinary of any appellation of origin.

 Does appellation of origin mean quality? Maybe, but this factor itself is not enough to make a great wine. Consider and ponder the work and the results of every producer which work in any specific area, their respect for the grape and the work done in the vineyard, their passion for making wine and, last but not the least, the honesty with which they sell their products: consider all that in determining the real quality of a wine.

 



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 5, February 2003   
Appellation of Origin: is it a Warranty of Quality?Appellation of Origin: is it a Warranty of Quality? MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 4, January 2003 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 6, March 2003

MailBox


 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial.

 

I would like you to publish a comprehensive explanation about the origins and the current status of the “predicato” wines produced in Tuscany. Thank you and congratulations for your magazine, it is really interesting and well made.
Michele Serafini -- Perugia (Italy)
During the eighties of the past century, some Tuscan producers, in order to safeguarding the new production styles adopted in the region and that made use of barrique, decided to set production disciplinary as a way to warrant a high level of quality. These producers decided to name these “new” wines with the term “wines with predicato”, a term that was subsequently changed into “Capitolare”, both for giving them a more distinctive Italian name and to reject the accusations of some German producers which argued the term “predicato” was similar to the German term “Prädikat” and this could have been cause of confusion. There are four categories for this kind of wines: Capitolare di Biturica, because of the Latin name with what Cabernet Sauvignon was known, produced with at least 30% each of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon; Capitolare del Cordisco, name used in the middle age to refer to Sangiovese, is produced with this grape and a maximum quantity of 10% represented by other red berried grapes; Capitolare del Muschio, produced with Chardonnay and/or Pinot Blanc as well as Riesling, Riesling Italico, Pinot Gris or Müller Thurgau for a maximum quantity of 20%; Capitolare del Selvante, produced with Sauvignon Blanc as well as the same grapes and proportions allowed for the production of Capitolare del Muschio. Minimum aging for white wines is of 12 months and 18 months for red wines, moreover the label should indicate the name of the vineyard or cru where the grapes come from.



Last Christmas I received as a gift a bottle of Bradisismo IGT produced by Inama (Italy). As I do not know this wine at all, I would like to have some general information about it, in particular about aging expectations as well as some examples of food matching. Thank you in advance. Best regards.
Diego Raineri -- Rodengo Saiano, Brescia (Italy)
The wine you received as a gift, Inama's Bradisismo 1998, is produced with Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère and Merlot. The least know grapes of them is certainly Carmenère, a grape originating from the Bordeaux area and some years ago it was very spread in the Médoc area. This grape was recently reconsidered and it is getting more and more to the position it certainly deserves. Bradisismo is aged for 15 months in barrique and it is bottled unfiltered. Aging expectations are very good, provided it is kept in optimal conditions, and it could be aged in bottle for more than 10 years. This wine can be matched with robust foods such us stewed meat or braised meat, game, roasted meat and, last but not the least, hard cheese, preferably sheep or goat hard cheese.



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 5, February 2003   
Appellation of Origin: is it a Warranty of Quality?Appellation of Origin: is it a Warranty of Quality? MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
What is the most pleasing aspect in wine tasting?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
What kind of wine do you like having in March?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
In what moment of the day do you usually drink wine?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 


Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 

Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2019 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.