The letters DOC or DOCG on an Italian wine label mean Denominazione di Origine Controllata, and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the latter superior to the first. They refer to government guarantees of the wines’ origins.
About 300 wine growing regions in Italy have the DOC designation, while only 21 have a DOCG label. The DOCG wines conform to DOC laws and in addition are quality tested by government-appointed inspectors. However, this doesn’t mean that non-DOC wines are bad. On the contrary, some wine makers have broken away from the DOC restrictions to experiment with blends of grape varieties. These ‘new’and often very expensive wines in Tuscany have become known as “Super-Tuscans” even though they only bear a Vino da Tavola (table wine) label. Some of these Super-Tuscans are being produced in the Livorno Province in the Bolgheri area.
Another denomination, IGT, means that a wine is guaranteed to come from a specific wine-producing area.