Suvereto, the classic Tuscan town in the southern end of the Livorno province in Tuscany , finally has its very own appellation. It was granted full DOCG status in November 2011. As of the 2012 vintage, Suvereto and its vineyards are no longer a sub-zone of the Val di Cornia, but an official viticultural area in their own right.
The Val di Cornia DOC title was introduced in 1989, covering red and white wines from seven parishes: Suvereto, Sassetta, Piombino, San Vincenzo, Campiglia Marittima and Monteverdi Marittimo. Suvereto's red wines stood out from the rest, so in 2000 the DOC laws were amended to allow 'Suvereto' to appear next to the Val di Cornia title on labels. Another decade later, after continued high quality, the parish was granted its own 'Suvereto DOCG' title for its red Sangiovese-, Cabernet- and Merlot-based wines.
The default Suvereto wine is a dry, red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In keeping with Italy's move towards varietal winemaking and labeling, however, the appellation's wines may be labeled as Suvereto Sangiovese, Suvereto Merlot and Suvereto Cabernet Sauvignon, providing that the stated variety comprises at least 85% of the finished wine.
For a Tuscan DOCG to place such emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot shows just how globally successful these two Bordeaux varieties are. Both are used individually in various DOCs around Italy (particularly in the more forward-looking center and north), but rarely are they given such individual focus as here in Suvereto.
The above is perhaps less surprising when one considers that Suvereto is located just south of Bolgheri. It was in Bolgheri that two of Italy's most famous wines, Sassicaia and Ornellaia, were born. Produced from Cabernet and Merlot grapes, this controversial pair famously ignored the classic Tuscan grapes Italian winemaking traditions, and yet succeeded in rising to the very top of Italy's wine ladder. At that time there was there was no DOC in this area (Bolgheri was not introduced until 1994 and Val di Cornia only five years before), so these top-level wines were labeled as lowly 'Vino da Tavola' (table wine). This topsy-turvy situation ultimately led to the creation of the IGT category (see Toscana IGT). Ten miles (16km) to the south, the impact of Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blends had not gone un-noticed, and while Bolgheri remains a DOC even today, Suvereto is a fully-fledged DOCG.