Italian Wines: A Taste Of Viticultural Passion
Italy has enjoyed a rich and passionate relationship with wine and food over many thousands of years and plays an integral part in Italian gastronomical culture. The country’s wide variety of climates and soil conditions has helped it produce some of the world’s most loved wines.
To get a true taste of the perfect fusion of wine, food and culture that Italy achieves so well, there are a number of Italian wine regions that all enophiles should experience. Below, in our guide to wines from Italy, we will walk you through Italy’s history with wine production and the top Italian wine regions to try at your next wine tasting.
Wines From Italy: A Brief History
Italy’s wine history dates back to over 4000 years ago and has helped it become one of the most diverse winemaking countries in the world. It wasn’t until the Greeks introduced their wine-producing skills to the Italians that the love affair with viticulture truly began.
Italy had a long history with wine prior to the arrival of the Greeks. However, they began to improve on and refine the winemaking techniques introduced by the Greeks. This succeeded in cementing their own reputation for making a wide variety of beautiful wines. The Romans played a large part in this and with their influence, many winemakers across Italy adopted new vinicultural methods.
In the early nineteenth century, quantity over quality was top of mind for Italian wine producers and the country became known as a global source of inexpensive table wines. Now with new wine quality laws in place since the 1960s, the country has become more popular than ever for the wide variety of red, white and sparkling wines that it has perfected over the years. Leading it to claim its stake as one of the top five world leaders in wine.
The Top 5 Italian Wine Regions You Should Explore
Each of these wine regions in Italy boasts its own winemaking culture, grape varietals and most importantly, personality. When looking for wine inspiration at your next wine tasting, turn to these wine regions.
If you are looking for fruit-forward, full-bodied red wines from Italy at budget prices then choosing a wine from Italy’s Puglia region is a wise choice. Located in the southeast of Italy, this wine region offers a varying difference in terrain and grape varieties.
Puglia is a leading region in olive oil production and is also known well known for its production of red wines. The most important red grapes grown here are Negroamaro, Primitivo and Uva di Troia. This Italian wine region has a relatively hot and dry climate which is tempered by cool breezes due to the surrounding waters. This results in expressive and voluptuous red wines, the ideal climate for the red wine.
Located in the northeast of the country, the Veneto wine region is one of the most substantial of the Italian wine regions. Although smaller than some of its counterparts, this region is the largest producer of Italian wine.
With various microclimates and winemaking diversity, it is recognized for both its hearty reds to its fragrant sparklers. Its geographical location is the reason for this. The Dolomites to the north protect it from harsher European climates while the warm Adriatic in the east allows for the production of red wines.
Some of the most notable grape varieties that you will find in the Veneto region include Glera, which makes Prosecco; Garganega, which is used to make Soave; and Corvina, which is the dominant grape in Amarone, Ripasso and Valpolicella.
Tuscany is one of Italy’s most reliable and reputable sources for great quality wine. Over the years, Tuscan wines have received international acclaim especially for iconic wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Biondi Santi.
Located in central Italy, the Tuscan region enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate which is a vital factor in the success of this region. It’s rolling hills and verdant landscapes grow grape varieties such as Sangiovese, indigenous white grapes and have become the Italian home for international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah that make the Super Tuscans.
Chianti and all of its sub-zones are the most famous regions in Tuscany, but for a complete picture of wines in Tuscany, don’t forget about other regions, such as Bolgheri, Montalcino, Montepulciano and San Gimignano.
There is perhaps no region in Italy so well known for its excellent quality of wine than Piedmont. Located in the northwest corner of the country, its geographical location makes it unique due to its proximity to both France and Switzerland.
Surrounded by the Alps, this mountainous region offers a diversified countryside and a continental climate. The climate and terroir of the region allow for the cultivation of numerous different kinds of grapes such as Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, as well as Gavi and Arneis.
Its proximity to France has meant that wines from Piedmont Have a decidedly different profile and style than many other Italian regions.
The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is one of Italy’s best kept and exciting secrets when it comes to winemaking. Although long considered a bulk wine region, investments from Northern producers have begun to put Sicily on the map as an up and coming region
Consistent sunshine and moderate rainfall sum up the climate that wine producers in Sicily enjoy. The island’s near-perfect vine growing conditions make it one of Italy’s most interesting wine-producing regions. Mineral-rich, dark soils from volcanic hills offer exotic alternatives to the soil of mainland Italy.
Italian wine regions have clung to historical grapes and Sicily is no different. The key red Sicilian grapes found include Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese. Nero d’Avola is by far the most widely planted and celebrated Sicilian red grape.
Tasting wines from Italy would not be complete without trying the white grape varietals of Sicily. While they predominantly produce red wine, the Sicilians also put as much love and passion into their white grapes which include Catarratto, Grillo and Carricante.
Buy Italian Wine Online In Ontario
There is a reason why many turn to Italian wines over and over again. The dedication and passion the Italians put into winemaking are expressed perfectly through the quality of the wine.
At your next wine tasting, consider trying the Biondi Santi – Braccale igt Maremma 2015. This medium-bodied red wine is made from the famous Sangiovese grape and offers hints of juicy black currant flavours mixed with the earthiness of cedar.
For a medium-bodied white, La Tunella – Sauvignon 2018 is a perfect choice. From the northeast of Italy, this Sauvignon has a beautiful bouquet of tomato leaf and sage with notes of melon. Pair with seafood dishes such as scampi or creamy risotto.
At Small Winemakers, we carry a wide selection of wines from Italy online and will deliver straight to your door in a matter of days. Whether you are looking for a full-bodied Barolo or Amarone, a light and delicate Pinot Grigio or Inzolia, or a sparkling Franciacorta or Prosecco, we’ll help you find the perfect pairings for your next wine tasting.