Posted on: 02-07-2014
Vinitaly is always a good chance to keep up with trends, in between tastings and meetings there are always a few presentations, worth attending.
"Is Nizza DOCG introducing a new set of Rules of production? Or is it Nizza breaking up from the Consorzio?" some of us wondered.
"No" and "no" advised Gianluca Morino, president of the association of the Nizza producers, who along with journalists, traders, winelove
rs and winemakers gathered to discuss the changes that will be enforced.
A brief history of Barbera d'Asti
A document from the Municipal Archive of Nizza Monferrato, dated 1609, instead tells us that special delegates were sent “to the countryside of Nizza de la Paglia to taste the wine from these vineyards and, in particular, Barbera wine for the service of His Most Serene Highness, the Duke of Mantua, and to pay a fair price for them.”.
A reputation of quality that endured through the centuries: in the nineteenth century viticulture developed enormously in Piedmont with the rise of small farming estates.
What are Barbera wines like in the glass?
Barbera Superiore d’Asti DOCG, Sottozona Nizza (!)
30 years later, from the 2000 harvest, within the context of the “Superiore” type of wine, three areas of particular prestige were introduced within the production zone: NIZZA, TINELLA and COLLI ASTIANI, defined by law as ”subzones”.
The town of Nizza and the 17 nearby villages mark a historically renowned growing area, particularly for the production of wines with excellent structure that can be barrel aged, a practice that is mandatory in the case of “Nizza”.
The rules of productions discipline vinegrowing and winemaking, as follows:
Production yields: maximum 7 tons, corresponding to 49 hectolitres per hectare;
The ambitious target of a 1mln bottles should be reached five years from now, but the real goal is to increase a quality production and not quantity per se.
The amended rules along with enforcing stricter regulations, also introduce "Nizza Riserva", almost a statement that Barbera can and will age beautifully!
The chart below, sums-up some of the most important changes:
The wine must be made from using 90-100% Barbera, but may be blended with other non-aromatic varieties authorized in Piedmont, up to a maximum of 10%.
But the ground-breaking addition to the disciplinary is the ban of MCR, which stands for moût concentré rectifié, or concentrated and rectified grape must. Basically, NIZZA DOCG is now the first and only appellation in Italy that disciplines the usage of grape must, by stating in the rules of production that the %vol., must be the same in the grapes and in the resulting wines.
The name has become from a long tongue-twister "Barbera d'Asti Superiore DOCG Nizza", a more consumer friendly Nizza DOCG, to remark the correspondence between the wine and its territory and an attemp to comunicate this Barbera in simpler and more efficient way.
The comments of many who were interviewed during the presentation at Vinitaly could be summed up in a sentence: "In the age of internet and social networks, comunication should be immediate and straightforward. Journalists and sommeliers are not anymore the target, we can reach out to a the wide audience of consumer and winelovers directly, but we must convey the right message, in a professional but not snobbish manner" . An easy concept that is, but no so easy to put in practice, epecially in the emerging markets where there is generally a pour knowledge about Barbera itself, let alone Nizza.
For the social media enhusiasts, #Nizza is the ashtag that collects all tweets, comments, pictures, news found across the web: let's take an active role drinking, talking and promoting Barbera!