MeGA: Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva
(Additional Geographical Definition)
The idea behind MeGA is to allow wines to be defined according to their exact place of origin, thereby adding the names of smaller, more personal zones within the Denomination.
Taking the example of Barolo, there has long been discussion about its so-called ‘sub-zones’, but these could only be accepted by the Ministery of Agriculture if over a certain size, owned by several producers and if the zone in question possessed distinct characteristics when compared to the surrounding area. Barolo’s true ‘sub-zones’ could thus be defined as belonging to the areas of Piedmontese Nebbiolo when vinified as Gattinara, Barolo, Barbaresco, Ghemme, Lessona and so on. The importance of soil type or of whether a vineyard faces south or north has always been of the utmost importance when considering Piedmontese hill vine cultivation and this has often guided the naming of Cascina-produced wines, right from the days of Vignolo-Lutati, through those of Renato Ratti, up to our own times with Carlo Petrini’s ‘Atlas of Langa Vineyards’.
For various reasons (historical, political and geographical), it has never proved possible to define these differences using a French-style ‘cru’ system. However, over time, various ‘names’ have come to the fore, indicating quality of terroir, techniques in the both the vineyard and winery and, not least, the producer’s ability to ‘make a name’ for himself. These ‘MeGA’ have long been present on the best labels but the lack of a system to prevent exploitation of their usage led the Ministery of Agriculture (through the ICQ Institute for Quality Control) to request that the exact position of these zones – with measurements of boundaries and number of hectares involved – be defined. In this way, production from these named areas would be traceable via the Harvest Declaration. This mammoth task was undertaken by the Consortium together with local municipalities and the Province of Cuneo.
The work has taken years to complete (it was finally concluded in 2010): often, boundaries were historically unclear, more than one person made claims for ownership, or the area seemed to expand and contract according to who was listened to.
(Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani)