In the original Pignoletto, the winegrowers in central Emilia-Romagna were busy making lots and lots of wine, and they decided that the Pignoletto grape variety produced their favorite white wine. They made Pignoletto in several denominations, such as Colli Bolognesi, Modena, and Colli di Rimini, and they thought it was really good. That was pretty much all that happened, and Pignoletto wasn’t a big box-office hit outside of Italy.
Pignoletto II, released in 2014, had more drama. It began with the shocking revelation that the grape variety Pignoletto (spoiler alert!) is genetically the same as the more well-known Grechetto of Umbria. Afraid that current and prospective Grechetto growers in Italy and elsewhere would besmirch the reputation of their local hero Pignoletto by bottling wines under that name, the winegrowers in Emilia-Romagna looked for a way to prevent the use of the name Pignoletto outside the local area. In fact, there is no legal basis to do that, but there is plenty of precedent for the protection of wine region place-names—and so they discovered a previously unremarked location between Bologna and Modena that was called Pignoletto. In the story’s climax, they created a new denomination, Pignoletto DOC, in a large area around Bologna, thus defining the boundaries of the only place in the world (along with the little-used Colli Bolognesi Pignoletto DOCG) where a wine could be labeled as Pignoletto. Pignoletto had been saved! Run end titles!
The upcoming sequel, Pignoletto III, takes place 7 years later. The action in this story begins with a decision by European Union regulators—those perennial villains—to the effect that Pignoletto isn’t really a place at all. After 7 years of looking for it, these administrators have failed to turn up anywhere called Pignoletto on a map, and so they invalidate the Pignoletto denomination. (They seem to think not being on a map is evidence of nonexistence—apparently, they have never heard of Wakanda or Narnia.) Rather than falling back to the way things were before, the winegrowers propose to merely change the denomination’s name to something that everyone can recognize: Emilia-Romagna DOC.
We can’t give away more of the story, but we recommend that you get down to your local wine shop to see Pignoletto III when it comes to town. Even if you didn’t see either of the earlier entries in this story arc, it will be worth checking out this sequel to find out how Pignoletto wine under the Emilia-Romagna DOC label turns out.
Wonderful! ...and it does point out some of the charming uncertainty and commercial motivations behind some decisions regarding DOC/DOP creations. Still a beneficial system overall!