Italian wines

by Alberto Martínez

Italy is a country with one of the most important cultures of wine, making it one of the leading producers in the world of wine. The Italian wines enjoy of a well deserved reputation as well as the Italian wineries, and have a large and extensive wine territory. Wine in Italy date back to the time when Mycenaean Greek stepped on the land of Romulus and Remus, it was them who introduced viticulture in 800 BC But it was not until 200 BC, when the wine started to gain leverage in the Roman Empire. Even the emperor Domitian destroyed some vineyards to replace it with food crops back on 90 BC.

Italian wine history

At that time wine was forbidden outside the Roman Empire, in what they called “Roman law.” This led to a significant raise of the wine trade. Over the years and while the Roman Empire and its laws weakened, viticulture began to expand in Europe, especially in Gaul (France).

In modern Italy, its vineyards flourished as never before, becoming the largest producer of wine, but the reign was soon taken by France, shifted in the recent years. Today Italy is the second largest producer, its wines are world-famous, as well as wineries and all the culture that exists around the wine.

Italian wines, appellations, grape varieties and strain

Italy is divided administratively into 20 regions, and they all produce wines. Its territories include the Alps, extensive coastal areas (as a peninsula), high mountains and hills, different climates and soils, make the perfect setting for wine in all its forms.

In Italy there are 4 types of designations of origin, 2 called VCPRD (quality wines produced in a specific region or regions), which are the Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC) and Denomination of Origin Controlled and Garantita (DOCG). Y 2 called table wines: Vino da Tavola e Indicazione Geographic Tipica (IGT)

According to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIRAF), in Italy there are 350 varieties of grapes, but actually they assure that there probably are about 500. This large number makes the range of wines be extraordinary. However, some of them were highlighted by fame and quality. Among them we can distinguish the better strains of Italy:

Sangiovese (red) found in larger quantities in the Tuscan countryside.
Verdicchio (white) found mostly in Marches.
Nebbiolo (red) found mostly in Barolo and Barbaresco.
Trebbiano (white) found mostly in Lazio and Abruzzo.
Montepulciano (red) found mostly in Abruzzo.
Dolcetto (red) found mostly in Piedmont.
Moscato (white) found mostly in Piedmont.
I will recommend 2 very special wines from Italy, so you’ll have the complete picture and see what you think …

Gaja Barbaresco 2006: Barbaresco is one of the most interesting and a recognized type of wine in Italy, and Gaja winery is probably the best to makes it. This Gaja 2006 is spectacular, and shows the best of the Nebbiolo grape.

Canti Pinot Grigio Rosé Brut: Sparkling wine made from the distinctive ‘pink Pinot Grigio. Amazing and so very different from anything you’ve ever tryed. And the price, is unbeatable. Cheer up!

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