Italian wines are complex and require more effort to understand.Read the labels, for example, they mention the grape variety as well as the region its associated with. A wine might be called by its grape, for example a Babera grape variety can also be named by the Barolo region. Or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine would indicate that it’s a wine of the Montelpuciano variety made in the region of Abruzzo; whilst you’ll also find a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which is made predominantly with a Sangiovese grape but made in the Tuscan town of Montepulciano and has no Montepulciano grapes in the blend.
The Italian government has officially recognised over 350 different grape varieties, but in fact there are over 500 different kinds of grapes in circulation within the country. In comparison, almost 100% of France’s wines come from about 60 different grapes. The diversity of the soil, with Italy’s rolling hills, different altitudes, coastal regions and other surrounding influences has created this variety. Another fun fact is that the oldest winery in Italy is older than the oldest winery of France, and so this combination of old tradition and immense range of grape variety makes Italian ways incredibly special.
There are 20 wine regions in Italy and as such wines are similarly classified as: DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin), DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), IGT, and VdT. To make it simple to understand DOC and DOCG indicate strict rules of production (type of grape varietal, harvest, ageing), IGT implies the usage of foreign grapes or non-strict production, and VdT refers to table wines that are assumed to be of the lowest quality.
As always, the best way to familiarize ourselves with the nuances of specific wines we have to taste them! Here I review some Italian wines from the north down to the south, I hope you can find time to sip and savour some of these bottles.
Beni Di Batasiolo Barbera d'Alba DOC Sovrana
This wine has a very pronounced, red ruby colour, with an expressive aroma of red fruit, a lot of cherries and ripened fruit, with some spiciness - baking spices notable of wood’s influence on the wine. Nicely balanced tannin structure, medium plus acidity combined with the fresh fruit component with a very smooth and silky finish.
San Polo Rubio Toscana IGT
Sangiovese wines are from the Toscana or Tuscany region, with a brilliant ruby red colour and purple hues. Pronounced fruity aroma with lots of red fruit character: strawberry, a lot of cherries, even tomato just to show how fresh and fruity the wine is, with notable violet with blackcurrant and baking spice notes. Very enjoyable wine with nice tannin structure with just a right amount of an oak-flavour influence on the palate.
Pipoli Aglianico del Vulture DOC
Made from Aglianico grapes, one of the typical grapes you will find in the Basilicata regions, this wine boasts a bright red colour with violet reflections. Typical Italian with expressive aromatic wine, a lot of cherry — especially a sour black cherry — mixed in with a lot of oak-barrel influence, shown by its spices with tastes of white pepper and vanilla flavour in the wine. Good structure, long, with balsamic and a bit of meaty or cured meat finish, mature tannins and long finish,I love the texture of the tannin in the palate.
Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC
Made from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, the Montepulciano from the Abruzzo region has a ruby red with a garnet hue, very plumy aroma with sour cherry enriched with hints of vanilla and some fresh herbs. It’s easy to detect oregano and hits of tobacco in the wine. It has a full body, is slightly tannic, with a long finish. Definitely a wine to enjoy with food!
Il Pumo Chardonnay – Puglia
A chardonnay from the Puglia area, just to share an interesting white wine that is easy to enjoy.It comes from the region with the terroir that is influenced by a sunny, warm Mediterranean climate with breezes from the Adriatic Sea and fertile soil rich in limestone. This creates a Chardonnay that is very aromatic with a very floral bouquet, expressive pineapple and banana aromas, I taste a lot of minerals, a bit of saltiness in the wine yet very fruity. A very interesting chardonnay created by its unique terroir.
In Italian culture wine is always best enjoyed with food. A good meal always means a good wine and food on the table, there is no better way to enjoy Italian wines. Good food, good wine… and of course good company! Saluti, and enjoy!
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