Classico, Riserva, Superiore, Novello and Passito: let's clarify

Classico, Riserva, Superiore, Novello e Passito: facciamo chiarezza

Knowing how to read a wine label is the first step to understanding what it contains. Here is a brief guide to untangle the various mentions of Classico, Riserva, Superiore, Novello and Passito. Because clarity is the first key to understanding the wine in front of you.

Having all the details on the label clearly and visible is a significant issue: it serves to protect consumers, to make the content transparent and qualify it in its uniqueness. At the same time, it is important for enthusiasts to know how to decipher it. We have written a small guide to reading the label , while here we delve into the terms Classico, Riserva, Superiore, Novello and Passito. So let's clarify the mentions, in a few simple steps.

Wine: the mention of “Classic”

The mention “Classico” (for DOCG and DOC, non-sparkling wines) and the specification “Storico” (for DOCG and DOC sparkling wines) are reserved for wines made with grapes coming from the oldest production area. These wines may enjoy specific regulations.

Wine: the mention of “Riserva”

The term “Riserva” is attributed to DOC and DOCG wines that have undergone a period of aging , including any refinement:

  • no less than two years for red wines
  • one year for white wines
  • one year for sparkling wines obtained with the autoclave fermentation method ( Martinotti method )
  • three years for sparkling wines obtained with refermentation in the bottle ( Classic Method ).

In the case of blending between wines of different vintages, the release for consumption of the wine with the mention Riserva is permitted only when the entire batch has completed the minimum aging period foreseen by the relevant production specification.

Wine: the mention of “Superior”

The Superior definition is attributed to DOC and DOCG wines with higher quality characteristics, with more restrictive regulations than the type not classified with this mention, which provides for a 10% lower yield per hectare of grapes . Furthermore, these wines must have a higher alcohol content and precisely:

  • A minimum potential alcoholic strength of the grapes of at least 0.5% higher
  • A minimum total alcoholic strength of wines for consumption of at least 0.5% higher

The Superiore mention cannot be combined with the Novello and Riserva mentions.

Wine: the mention of “Novello”

The Novello mention is attributed to the categories of still and sparkling DOP and IGP wines, produced in compliance with national and community legislation.

The Novelli cannot be sold to the consumer before 0.01 am on November 6th of the year of production of the grapes, while shipments abroad are permitted from October 27th. These wines cannot be bottled after December 31st of the same year. When bottling they must contain at least 30% of wine obtained with the carbonic maceration of whole grapes. Their minimum alcoholic strength must be 11% and the residual sugar must not be higher than 10 g/l. The vintage of the harvest must be indicated on the label.

Wine: the mention of “Passito”

The attribution " Passito " is attributed to the categories of still DOCG, DOC and IGP wines, including wines from overripe and dried grapes, obtained from the fermentation of grapes subjected to natural drying or in a conditioned environment.

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