Italy is home to some of the most sprawling vineyards of the world. It has a wide array of wine varieties with different flavors for wine newbies and wine connoisseurs alike. It has oft been said that Italy offers the best wine. Read on and find out.
Italy is blessed to be in the perfect location to plant and grow wine grapes. In fact, the grapes in Italy are far more in number than the grapes found in France, Greece and Spain put together. The native grapes of the country make up 25% of the wine grapes of the world. There are approximately 2,000 native varieties of grapes in Italy. Each one of these native Italian grapes is has a distinct taste, texture and character.
It must be this unique diversity that sets Italian wine apart from the rest.
Wine and Climate
Italy has many different wine regions, with regions having different climates that affect the planting of the grapes, and the flavors of the wines produced from them. The North, having a colder climate, is famous for its white wine, while the South with its hotter temperature, is known for its strong wines. Tuscany has been impressing the world with its production of exemplary red wines.
Wine Regions in Italy
Below are some of the different Italian wine regions.
In the Northeastern part of Italy is one of the most important regions of wine in the country, called the Veneto wine region. It produces the most wine in the country, making it famous even if its area is not as large as the other regions.
Romeo & Juliet’s ancestral home produces red, white, sweet and sparkling wines of notoriety from grapes that are not commonly used in other parts of the country.
There are many kinds of wine produced in the Veneto wine region using different grape varieties. The region is best known for its Prosecco, a sparkling wine that comes from the Glera grape. Also from this region is the Valpolicella and Amarone Della Valpolicella, deep, complex and sweet wines made from Cordova grapes. Soave, a pretty mix of floral and citrus, is a white wine made from Garganega grapes.
- Marche and Abruzzo
Marche and Abruzzo are regions on the centre of Italy. These neighbouring regions are popular because of Marche’s white Verdicchio wine and Abruzzo’s red Montepulciano grapes.
Marche has a longstanding history with winemaking, with a heritage that can be traced way back to the Romans and Etruscans, because it has a highly versatile terroir, covering 25,000 hectares, that is very conducive for growing grapes. The vineyards with Trebbiano and Verdicchio grapes, are known as the producers of green-hued white wines with crisp, highly-acidic flavor. The Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes should not be dismissed, either, since from these grapes come red wines with amazing quality.
In the south of Marche is the region of Abruzzo, with a winemaking history of almost two millennia. There are 89,000 hectares of vineyard in this region, planted with native grape varieties of Pecorino, Cocciola and Trebbiano. Also produced here are the well-known wines like Chardonnay and Merlot, as well as the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Not a lot of people know about the wines produced in the island of Sicily, and it was only until the last few years that more and more people are discovering this wine-making gem. Located in the south where the climate can get very warm and very cold depending on the seasons, Sicily produces wines with stronger flavors than those found in other regions. The ones gaining much popularity are the red wines from Nerello Macalese and Nero d’Avola. Then again, people have been favoring the white grapes of Inzolia and Grillo, too.
The most renowned of all the wine regions is Tuscany, a place of rolling hills, picturesque village and expansive vineyards, this region has been called again and again as a wine-lover’s paradise.
From its dry whites to it full-bodied reds, the Tuscany wine region in Italy is one of the most acclaimed in Europe, with its wines being the most easily recognized wines internationally. There are a lot of Tuscan wines given the top DOC and DOCG distinction.
Tuscany is synonymous to the red Sangiovese grape. A large percentage of wines produced in the Tuscany region, or 89%, come from red grapes, majority of which from the Sangiovese variety. There is also white wine produced from Vernaccia grape, but this is not well known outside of the region.
The Sangiovese grape is famous because of the versatility of its flavor. Sangiovese wines have flavors ranging from fruity, with notes of tart cherry, strawberry jams to vegetal, with hints of roasted peppers and tomatoes. It has a high acid and tannin level.
Sangiovese are usually placed in barrels for oak aging. Its Brunello di Montalcino is placed in the oak for a longer time, to give it the ability to be stored in a bottle for 18 years.
Though high dependent on Sangiovese for wine production, the wines from the Tuscan region do not lack variation. In fact, a handful of its wines are now recognized as some of the most popular in the world.
Some of them are: Chianti, a food-friendly kind produced in high volume to be exported worldwide and Brunello di Montalcino, an extremely complex fine wine. Then, there are the Super Tuscans, wines that are so rich you need to decant it for an hour or two before consuming.
What’s your favourite Italian wine? Leave a comment below.