Italian flagItaly is the world's largest producer of wine, producing 60 million bottles of it every year. And as about 4 million of these are exported to the UK then the chances of coming across an Italian wine in a restaurant, supermarket or garage forecourt shop are extremely high. So it makes sense to understand what you’re getting before deciding to buy one of the multi-million number of bottles available. And the easiest way to do that is to read the wine label.

Few Italian wine bottle labels show the grape variety the wine inside was made of, so the best way of deciding whether you’re getting value for money is to take a shufty at the three or four letter acronym that shows the wine’s quality level.

Tesco Italian wineIf you spot DOCG on the label then you know you’ve got a wine produced under strict government regulations. Demoninazione di Origine Controllata Garantita indicates wine of the highest quality level – and that’s guaranteed, or Garantita.

Without the Garantita the wine becomes DOC, or Demoninazione di Origine Controllata. This specifies that the wine comes from a specific vineyard, locality or region and is produced using traditional methods. These wines are usually of very good quality.

Yet another quality category is Indicazione Geografica Tipica. IGT wines are similar in style and quality to French ‘wine of the region’ or Vins de Pays wines and make very good everyday drinking.

Last in the quality stakes are the Vino da Tavolas. Don’t dismiss the table wines out of hand – they’re cheap and often tasty.

PG Wine Reviews

Aldi Venturer Sicilian Vermentino 2012

£4.99 Aldi

Uncomplicated white that tastes of baked pineapple and apple.

Aldi Venturer Sicilian Nero D’Avola 2013

£4.99 Aldi

Food wine that tastes of plum and apple. Match to lightly-flavoured pizza, pasta and chicken.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Terre di Chieti Pecorino 2012

£7 Sainsbury’s

It may be labelled the same as the Italian cheese but it is fact a very nice white wine. Light flavours of apple and peach.

Co-op Truly Irresistible Gavi 2012

£9.99 Co-op

Delicate white wine that tastes of apple and lemon.

Casa Planeta Sicilian Grecanico Chardonnay 2013

£9.99 Co-op

Flavours of fluffy baked apples followed by sharp pineapple and ending with bubblegum. Quite complex.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

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tongueHowever tempting the wine label’s proclamation of ‘aromas of wild summer berries’ and ‘flavours of red fruits...with a refreshing finish’ my own senses found a smell reminiscent of rubbery elderberry and a smoky tart taste with a hint of chocolate – in fact the overwhelming impression of the £3.99 Sicilian Rosso was that it had been poured from the end of a very oxidised barrel. So who was right – me or the label?