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Italian Wines

Discovering the Italian wines is both a cultural and adventurous trip into the history of Italy, its geography and into a tremendous grape variety that still inspires. Responsible and famous for the culture of the largest majority of the international grape variety, Italy is, since 2008, when it defeated France, the world’s biggest wine producer, with more than a million cultivated vineyards.

It was the Greek colonization that flourished viticulture on today’s lands of Italy. If, at the beginning, only Sicily and southern Italy were used as viticulture plantations, soon, they sprang up so much, that the emperor Domitian was forced to destroy a part of them, only to provide free fertile lands for food plantation. Wine was, since early days, often consumed in Italy, and still is.

And since Italian wines have such a strong reputation, and the vineyards all over Italy produce such a huge variety of wines, an appellation system was very much needed. The Italian appellation system has four classes of wine, the Table Wines-2 and the “Higher End” wines, another 2, each of them being categorized under EU categories.

Table wines include 2 categories: Vino da Tavola, which denotes wines from Italy, either inferior wines, or who do not follow wine laws, and Indicazione Geografica Tipica, which refers to wines from a specific region in Italy.

The “Higher End” wine classification actually refers to the EU’s category Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region, which includes two subcategories: Denominazione di Origine Controlatta (refers to a mainstream quality wine) and Denominazione di Origine Controlatta e Garantita (which certifies that a region has a track record of quality). There are 36 DOCG wines, located in 13 different Italian regions.

Here are the most famous Italian DOCG wines:

  • Brachetto d'Acqui – with a rather limited production, this incomparable dessert wine is one of Italy’s most famous wines; it has a high demand on the other side of the Atlantic, and it’s primarily cultivated in the province of Asti.

  • Chianti – although it’s a product with a precise origin and geographical are, Chianti has become a regional product, extending its production further away from hilly zone called Chianti. With origins dating back in the Middle Ages, Chianti is different from any other wine produced in Italy, due to its second fermentation, induced after the wine has been racked by adding must pressed semi-dried grapes, carefully selected.

  • Franciacorta - with outstanding soil characteristics and a very favorable microclimate, this region is known for its still wines and, more recently, for its sparkling wines. The quality of the viticulture in this area is remarkable, and the wine production, too.

  • Greco di Tufo – the oldest variety of grapes in the Avellino area gives birth to the wine named as same, Greco di Tufo. Dating back in the first century BC, this wine has a refined personality which one cannot forget after tasting.

  • Montepulciano d’Abruzzo - this shouldn’t be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which has a different story and historical approach. This is a Tuscan wine, made from grapes famous for their adaption to different environments, nowadays cultivated in Abruzzo. Its DOC appellation was introduced in 1992 turned into a DOCG, due to its organoleptic qualities.

  • Roero – this hilly area with sandy soils gives birth to an intense red wine. Cultivated at first by local farmers, the soil is now the pride of modern entrepreneurial wine producers who apply various techniques of vinification to result a great quality wine.

  • Taurasi – a wine with an international reputation, cultivated in the Avellino area, this wine has an extremely ancient origin. This dry wine, with a great body and rather austere, is aged for three years in chestnut or in oak casks.

  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - the province of Siena is the proud land where Montepulciano stands on a height of a valley. This wine has a high reputation, being mentioned in numerous texts and poems.

  • Torgiano Riserva - this wine, cultivated in Torgiano, has a long history going back in the Etruscan Era – since then, due to the soil’s characteristics, the exposure to the sun and the favorable climate, this wine gain more and more popularity.

  • Vernaccia di Serrapetrona - mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”, this sparkling red wine is produced in special and limited harvests, it remains one of Italy’s most popular and famous wines.

  • Italy has 20 regions were grapes are cultivated, Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli –Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia – Romagna, Tuscany, Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Basilicata, Apulia, Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia.

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