Nizza DOCG, the “super” Barbera - Coppo

Nizza DOCG is a dream come true, the flagship of Barbera production in Monferrato.

The territory

The “super Barbera,” vinified in purity, comes from a restricted area of Monferrato located around the town of Nizza.

Nizza Monferrato is a town in Asti, nestled amidst the hills between Asti, Alba, Alessandria, and Acqui Terme. It’s an ideal territory, both in terms of climate and soil, a place that UNESCO has declared a World Heritage Site. Other grape varieties such as Dolcetto, Moscato, Brachetto, Cortese, Freisa, and Grignolino are also present in the area, but Barbera, more than any other, has always represented the territory and the excellence of Piedmont. Thanks to the geological conformation of the area (hilly with altitudes up to three hundred fifty meters, predominantly sandy-clayey soils, and the presence of pristine forests), Barbera cultivation has always thrived here. Today, the area where Nizza DOCG can be produced consists of 18 municipalities around the town of Nizza Monferrato.

The history

The new denomination came after years of intense work. Let’s see the main stages.

2000 – It’s from the new millennium onwards that the Nizza designation can appear on the label. Until now, it could only do so accompanied by the name Barbera. Nizza was, in fact, a “subzone” of Barbera d’Asti, a recognition given to a wine coming from particularly suitable areas for a specific grape variety. However, Barbera d’Asti “Nizza” was already different from the start: it could only be attributed to Barbera of the Superior type, i.e., aged for at least one year, of which six months in oak barrels.

2002 – The Nizza Producers Association is founded, which still has the sole purpose of enhancing and promoting the Nizza denomination.

2008 – Barbera d’Asti obtains DOCG status.

In 2008, Barbera d’Asti rose to the highest “step” of Italian denominations. It obtained DOCG status, the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, i.e., the most important recognition of quality and geographical indication for a wine. Together with Barbera d’Asti, the “Nizza” subzone is also included in the DOCG.

2014 – Nizza becomes an “independent” wine.

After long work on the disciplinary text, 2014 marks the birth of a completely autonomous wine, with a name that aims to underline its uniqueness and its bond with the territory: Nizza DOCG.

Why Nizza DOCG?

To answer this question, three crucial aspects must be considered: vocation, tradition, and disciplinary regulations.

The area where Nizza DOCG is born is certainly the one that, more than others in Monferrato, has contributed to the history of Barbera. To give an example, it would suffice to say that one of the first official recognitions of this wine appears in a document from the 17th century preserved in the town hall of Nizza Monferrato. The Nizza area thus emerges as historically one of the most suitable areas for Barbera, to which the best lands and exposures have always been dedicated.

To truly understand Nizza DOCG, one must know its disciplinary regulations, designed to be much stricter and more restrictive than that of its closest relative: Barbera d’Asti. The biggest difference lies in the blend: while to obtain Barbera, it is allowed to use up to 10% of other red grapes grown in Piedmont (such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Freisa, Dolcetto, etc.), Nizza requires vinification in purity, i.e., 100% Barbera. Furthermore, there is no allowance for alcohol enrichment in declared unfavorable vintages, in which Nizza will not be produced.