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Abruzzo introduces Superiore status, was it really needed?

May 17, 2023 Tags: 0 comments
Together with the new “Superiore” denomination, the consortium will also group all IGTs (currently 8) into one “Terre d’Abruzzo”. This is what I recently read on an article published on The Drink Business magazine.

If you have been reading my blog, you know my opinion on appellations and creating an appellation in the 21st century. Unless it is done like it was done for the Prosecco - to prevent other regions and countries from producing the wine thus protecting its value – and I disagree with it, they are outdated and without a purpose.

On the other side, I do like the change on the IGT wines. I believe this is the right direction. Only one IGT promoting the whole region, certainly easier to remember for consumers and create the Abruzzo brand. Abruzzo’s wines, are still very little known compared to many other Italian regions and wines.

I haven’t been able to get a copy of the “disclipinare”, regulation, yet, I’ve even visited the Consortium’s website, but according to the article, the “Superiore” would have a higher alcohol content to indicate better and more ripe grapes.

All existing “superiore” wines were created decades ago, when it was possible to make wines of 11/12% alcohol and climate change was still an unknown word and phenomenon. When the denomination “superiore” was created, the alcohol content was a good indicator of the quality. The alcohol comes from the fermentation of the sugar, the sugar from the ripeness of the grapes and thus riper grapes higher the sugar and according to the existing “disciplinare”, “superiore” wines should have an additional 0.5% alcohol content compared to the non “superiore” versions of the wine.

Nowadays, it is difficult if not impossible in Italy to produce wines that have a “normal”, what used to be, alcohol content due to climate change; making wine is becoming more and more challenging for winemakers all over Italy, from Sicily to the Alps, including Abruzzo. The 0.5% additional alcohol content, if the criteria would be the same, is not anymore an indication of the quality of the grapes. Climate change, is having a dramatic effect on the alcohol content of the wines, all over the world, not just Italy. It has become difficult if not impossible to find a wine, whether red white and rose’, below 12.5% abv. The problem is not the alcohol, is the acidity necessary to balance it out.

Creating the “superiore” denomination not only will not make any difference on the wines’ reputation, wines because the article mentions all regional DOC wines, but will create even more confusion for the consumers, the wine drinkers, the people that will eventually buy it.

To protect the appellations and the consumers, much more needs to be done. The Consortium must become a vigilante, stopping any low quality wine produced in Abruzzo or outside, plenty of Abruzzo wine is bottled outside the region, from reaching the shelves, a more pragmatic approach is needed.
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