The madness of Italian wine bureaucracy, part 993

I thought people may be grimly fascinated by the latest example of Italian wine law idiocy.

I was visiting Sasa Radikon in Oslavia yesterday. Fans of Radikon's wines will know that one of their "entry level" bottlings is a Pinot Grigio with 30 days of skin maceration. They've been making and selling this wine since 2005.

So, from the 2017 vintage they can no longer put "Pinot Grigio" on the label. Why? Because since the new "Delle Venezie DOC" was created (largely as a means of having a high quality DOC for Pinot Grigio made anywhere in the North of Italy), it's no longer allowed to write "Pinot Grigio" on an IGT wine. And, to add insult to injury, Delle Venezie DOC doesn't recognise orange wine as a style, so due to its colour, Radikon's Pinot Grigio would never get this denomination anyway.

So, there'll be no more Pinot Grigio from Radikon. Instead, it will be called "Sivi Pinot" or maybe just "Sivi".

Who loses here? The customer of course, now confronted with more confusion instead of a simple grape name on the bottle.

Gotta love it!

More about the new DOC here: Delle Venezie DOC »
 
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Whilst I also share your frustration at bureaucracy in wine in general, I actually think this is the right thought process for these particular wines. If a consumer picks up a bottle of Pinot Grigio what do they expect? A neutral, apply, medium+ acidity unoaked white wine but plenty of freshness and not too much more. I suspect quite a few people may take issue when they get home and find an orange wine with tannic grip, regardless of how delicious it is. How big is Radikons production in total? My experience with people who know about Radikon is that they really know him wines, and I suspect most of them are bought by a specific following.

Not that I expect to see Radikon wines in any major supermarkets anytime soon, on the other hand. I didn't know about the change in DOC and IGT labelling though, that's very interesting (and I agree, not necessarily well thought out on that large of a scale).
 
Sure, but the point is Radikon has been bottling their Pinot Grigio for 11 years as an IGT wine. I don't think anyone is going to buy this wine thinking it's a water white medium acid fresh white wine. The label, price and colour are quite obviously different.

Don't you think it's a bit unfair and crazy to say to producers like this, oh we made a new DOC and you have to use *that* for Pinot Grigo now. Ah, but we don't let you into that DOC because of the colour of your wine. And you can't go on using IGT anymore.

And people wonder why so many "Natural" producers end up bottling as vino da tavola....
 
Oh and to answer your question, I think Radikon produces about 50K bottles a year, most of which is "orange" (I won't say "white"). They do also make a Merlot and a Pignolo.
 
Sure, but the point is Radikon has been bottling their Pinot Grigio for 11 years as an IGT wine. I don't think anyone is going to buy this wine thinking it's a water white medium acid fresh white wine. The label, price and colour are quite obviously different.

Don't you think it's a bit unfair and crazy to say to producers like this, oh we made a new DOC and you have to use *that* for Pinot Grigo now. Ah, but we don't let you into that DOC because of the colour of your wine. And you can't go on using IGT anymore.

And people wonder why so many "Natural" producers end up bottling as vino da tavola....

I'm a bit torn about it. On the one-hand, yes it's unfair to insist that a producer make such a drastic change due to changing regulations, and I think they could have included the one or two producers that this affected. On the other hand, and in general, I think that a lot of minimal intervention wines are so different from the norm that Vino da Tavola is the only place they make sense. Appellation law, from a consumer point of view, is after all meant to be sort of a guide. 'This is what you can expect from Santenay/Rioja/Chianti Classico' etc. There's such a scale of difference in the minimal intervention world that this goes out of the window.

I'm surprised that the change between this new DOC and IGT is allowed to go ahead - I would have thought there'd be massive opposition to it. There must be more than a few producers that this impacts?
 
Sure, but the whole point of the IGT category is that it embraces all kinds of different wines that don't fit into the more restrictive DOCs and DOCGs - IGT was always designed to deal with more experimental wines, be it grape varieties, winemaking techniques or whatever.

So now saying that the Venezie Giulia IGT category isn't allowed to put the name of one the region's most popular grapes on the label seems like total madness.

Also to your point about appellation law being a guide, the only losers here are consumers I think - who now won't know which IGT wines are made from Pinot Grigio unless they can decode a load of fantasy names and obscure references that producers will need to resort to.
 
I agree with you regarding the changes in IGT law - it seems unnecessary and will have quite a few complications for producers and consumers alike. Hence my surprise that it's allowed to go ahead - normally these things are challenged quite a bit. My musings were more about the new DOC and Radikons wines, as well as classifying these minimal intervention styles in general.

Incidentally, I haven't tried this particular wine but now I feel obliged to! Is it this one?: Sasha Radikon Pinot Grigio 2015
 
Yes that's the one. I have to say it's my least favourite of all the Radikon wines, I would recommend instead trying the Slatnik 2014 or 2015, which is made exactly the same way but from a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Friulano.
 
Surely anyone buying Radikon will be perfectly capable of decoding those "fantasy names and obscure references that producers need to resort to"? I mean, it's not as if anyone is going to stumble on a Radikon wine, is it?;)
 
Surely anyone buying Radikon will be perfectly capable of decoding those "fantasy names and obscure references that producers need to resort to"? I mean, it's not as if anyone is going to stumble on a Radikon wine, is it?;)
I expect so, but it still seems mind-bogglingly stupid in my opinion. Also remember that this kind of stuff costs producers a stack load in terms of extra administration, re-printing/designing their labels etc. It wastes a huge amount of time.
 
I can't see what's the big deal about this. If Radikon is so iconic, like Prince, his wines should be recognized by his cult regardless of the AOC rules (just by a symbol maybe). And for that matter, you can always declassify to VDT. It has not been a big deal since the '70s in Italy when Tignanello and Sassicaia led the way.

If you are mind-boggled by this bit of Italian beaurocracy, you are missing the best bit. For that, do move to Italy ;)
 
To be fair Filippo they do some good bureaucracy in Amsterdam too, though probably only Div 2 compared to your Premier League Italian version....
 
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