Italy

About Italian Wine

The Godfather of the wine industry! A history that dates back to the Roman times, although the wine from those days is somewhat different to the breadth of style and quality we enjoy today.

Key Italian Grape Varieties & Regions
  • Barolo, Barbaresco, Langhe: Nebbiolo
  • Barbera d’Asti: Barbera
  • Dolcetto d’Alba: Dolcetto
  • Gavi: Cortese
  • Alto Adige: Lagrein, Gewurztraminer
  • Trentino: Pinot Grigio
  • Soave: Garganega

History

Breadth is the perfect term to describe Italy. Over the years, it is fair to say that the Italians have positioned themselves in a crossroads of attracting both the classical generations of wine drinkers as well as the modern younger drinkers. Obvious inspiration has been taken from the new world with clearer and more transparent labelling particularly with Pinot Grigio, Prosecco and recognisable single varieties such as Merlot and Pinot Noir from the South. Tuscany, Piemonte and Veneto offer more interesting wines that are trickier to fathom with names like Barolo, Barbaresco, Amarone, Chianti, Brunello di Montalchino and Montepulciano Vino Nobile!.

In the vineyard

Altitude differences from the North to the South create a multitude of climatic differences across Italy. Rainfall is quite rare (lucky them) so this means a longer growing season which in turn prolongs the ripening period for the grapes. Ripeness is really important here as many of the varieties are black and high in tannin so perfect ripening is essential.
Oak is used extensively in Italy, although the tradition of old oak maturation has now moved towards new oak, which has reduced the oxidised nature that used to be common. Another key wine making practice that is found in Italy is the Passitio method. This is where the grapes are left out to dry so they become more concentrated and complex. These wines can then be fermented to be either dry or sweet and either red or white in style.

Other key Italian wine grapes and regions

Emila-Romagna – Sangiovese and Trebbiano

Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Sangiovese

Vernaccia di San Gimignano – Vernaccia

Tuscany – Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Abruzzo – Montepulciano, Trebbiano

Orvieto – Trebbiano, Grechetto, Malvasia and Verdelho

Campania, Basilicata – Aglianico

Puglia – Negroamaro, Malvasia Nero and Primitivo

Sicily – Chardonnay, Cattarratto, Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

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