I am sitting here with a glass of Sangiovese di Romagna – Fattorri Zerbina's Torre di Ceparano to be exact, more on that in a second – listening to Nina Simone and thinking about Champagne.

Sangiovese di Romagna is, for better or worse, a very typical DOC in Italy in that the quality of the wines is famously uneven. Zerbina's wines are excellent and reliably good if a little bit too international in style for my taste but they are another arrow in the quiver for the old saw that in Italy you need to know the producer above all. There are many reasons for the variability in quality within Italy's many DOCs but I believe a key element is the propensity to allow the defined geographical zones to sprawl out over both choice and secondary vineyard sites. This has much to do with the Italy placing more emphasis on typicity than on quality – at least in the structure of her wine laws. In a zone like Sangiovese di Romagna it means that both heroes and goats get to use the designation because, well, because this is the area that produced this wine from these grapes. Really, who are we to argue?