Italian designation for a zone or the wine produced there in a precisely defined enclave within a larger DOC or DOCG area. It is often a historical core area with the best areas in mostly higher-lying vineyards on slopes or steep slopes. As a rule (but not necessarily) the best quality wines of the entire area are produced there due to better conditions. The specifications regarding permitted grape varieties or grape variety mixtures, minimum alcohol content, maximum yield, maturing time in barrel and/or bottle or other criteria are usually stricter or more restrictive than in the normal DOC or DOCG area. Wines from this area then carry the additional designation "Classico" on the bottle label.
The origin of the Classico appellation dates back to 1932, when large areas far from the classic Chianti area (now Chianti-Classico) were allowed to call the wines produced there also Chianti. This was then imitated in many Italian DOC/DOCG areas from the early 1960s onwards. These include, to name but a few, Bardolino, Cirò, Lake Caldaro, Orvieto, Ramandolo, Soave, St. Magdalene, Terlane, Valpolicella and Verdicchio di Matelica.