About Italian Wines
Yes, Italy’s wine history dates back beyond the Romans, Greeks and Etruscans, but it’s only over the last quarter of this century that the “revolution” really takes off with ancient winemaking methods replaced by new-age technology and skill-set with stunning rapidity in the country that regularly produces more types of wine from more grape variety than any other. Any wine enthusiast would see it as a challenge to keep abreast with the relentless changes – an era best described as Italy’s modern renaissance of wine.Did You Know?
Most winemaking in Italy is done in modern wineries, but villagers, making wine for their own use, sometimes tread the grapes with their bare feet until the juice is squeezed out. They believe this ancient method still makes the best wine.
Soil to Grape
Density of planting is key quality indicator. It is normal for premium wines to have between 4000 – 10,000 vines per hectare. Vines will start to become productive around 4 years and reach full production in 6 – 10 years and continue to yield quality grapes for a couple of decades and more in some cases, after which the no longer productive vines will have to be uprooted and replanted with new ones. Method of harvesting is usually handpicked. Soil types, size of plots or plots from which grapes for each wine comes from (historic crus), the direction-facing of the plots, altitude (big difference in day and night temperature ensure berries attain not only sugar ripeness but also phenolic ripeness – ie. ripeness of tannins in the skins, seeds and stems) and methods of training (Guyot, Tendone, Spurred Cordon, Pergola) are also important and basic factors to consider when making premium wines.
CLIMATE – Italy lies roughly between the 47th and the 35th parallels, corresponding in the north with vineyards of central France and in the south with those of southern Spain and north Africa. Cold mountainous Alps lies in the north and the Apennine ridge extending right through the land, like a backbone, from the French Mediterranean border to the tip of the hot Calabrian toe. The culmination of extremes of latitude and altitude (presents a rich tapestry of climates and micro-climates) provides the best natural terrior for making world class wines. Indeed, more than 70% of Italy’s land comprise of hilly terrain, yet green, and are proportionately more suitable for quality grape-growing than those of almost any other nations on earth. Coupled with mean temperature, without being so high as to over-ripen the fruit, are superior to many other European countries for purpose of ripening grapes, as is implicitly recognized by the law against the use of sugar to increase alcohol (chaptalization) in Italy.
VARIETIES – Crucially Italy is home to a plethora of indigenous grape varieties, of which approximately 200 are commercially significant. Nowhere else does the Nebbiolo, Barbera, Corvina, Sangiovese, Aglianico, Primitivo grow as well as at home, maintaining a real point of difference & inimitable personality. Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIRAF), has documented over 350 grapes and granted them “authorized” status. There are more than 500 other documented varietals in circulation as well. The following is a list of the most common and important of Italy’s varietals.
• Sangiovese – Italy’s claim to fame, the pride of Tuscany. Its wines are full of cherry fruit, earth, and cedar. It produces Chianti Classico, Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Montefalco Rosso, and many others.
• Nebbiolo – The most noble of Italy’s varietals. The name (meaning “little fog”) refers to the autumn fog that blankets most of Piedmont where it is grown, a condition the grape seems to enjoy. It is a somewhat difficult varietal to master, but produces the most renowned Barolo and Barbaresco, made in province of Cuneo, along with the lesser-known Sforzato, Inferno and Sassella made in Valtellina, Ghemme and Gattinara, made in Vercelli’s province. The wines are known for their elegance and bouquet of wild mushroom, truffle, roses, and tar.
• Montepulciano – The grape of this name is not to be confused with the Tuscan town of Montepulciano; it is most widely planted on the opposite coast in Abruzzo. Its wines develop silky plum-like fruit, friendly acidity, and light tannin.
• Barbera – The most widely grown red wine grape of Piedmont and Southern Lombardy, most famously around the towns of Asti and Alba, and Pavia. The wines of Barbera were once simply “what you drank while waiting for the Barolo to be ready.” With a new generation of wine makers, this is no longer the case. The wines are now meticulously vinified, aged Barbera gets the name “Barbera Superiore” Superior Barbera, sometines aged in French barrique becoming “Barbera Barricato”, and intended for the international market. The wine has bright cherry fruit, a very dark color, and a food-friendly acidity.
• Corvina – Along with the varietals rondinella and molinara, this is the principal grape which makes the famous wines of the Veneto: Valpolicella and Amarone. Valpolicella wine has dark cherry fruit and spice. After the grapes undergo passito (a drying process), the Amarone they yield is elegant, dark, and full of raisinated fruits. Some Amarones can age for 40+ years.
• Nero d’Avola – Nearly unheard of in the international market until recent years, this native varietal of Sicily is gaining attention for its robust, inky wines, and has therefore been nicknamed “the Barolo of the South”.
• Dolcetto – A grape that grows alongside barbera and nebbiolo in Piedmont, its name means “little sweet one””, referring not to the taste of the wine, but the ease in which it grows and makes great wines, suitable for everyday drinking. Flavors of concord grape, wild blackberries and herbs permeate the wine.
• Negroamaro – The name literally means “black and bitter”. A widely planted grape with its concentration in the region of Puglia, it is the backbone of the acclaimed Salice Salentino: spicy, toasty, and full of dark red fruits.
• Aglianico – Considered the “noble varietal of the south,” it is primarily grown in Campania and Basilicata. The name is derived from Hellenic, so it is considered a Greek transplant. Thick skinned and spicy, the wines are both rustic and powerful.
• Sagrantino – A native to Umbria, it is only planted on 250 hectares, but the wines are world-renowned. Inky purple, with rustic brooding fruit and heavily tannic, these wines can age for many years.
• Malaysia Nera – Red Malaysia varietal from Piedmont. A sweet and perfumed wine, sometimes elaborated in the passito style.
Other major red varieties are Ciliegolo, Gaplioppo, Lagrein, Lambrusco, Monica, Nerello Mascalese, Pignolo, Primitivo, Refosco, Schiava, Schiopettino, Teroldego, and Uva di Troia.
“International” varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc are also widely grown.
• Trebbiano – Behind cataratto (which is made for industrial jug wine), this is the most widely planted white varietal in Italy. It is grown throughout the country, with a special focus on the wines from Abruzzo. Mostly, they are pale, easy drinking wines, but trebbiano from producers such as Valentini have been known to age for 15+ years. It is known as Ugni Blanc in France.
• Moscato – Grown mainly in Piedmont, it is mainly used in the slightly-sparkling (frizzante), semi-sweet Moscato d’Asti. Not to be confused with moscato giallo and moscato rosa, two Germanic varietals that are grown in Trentino Alto-Adige.
• Nuragus – An ancient Phoenician varietal found in southern Sardegna. Light and tart wines that are drunk as an apertif in their homeland.
• Pinot Grigio – A hugely successful commercial grape (known as Pinot Gris in France), its wines are characterized by crispness and cleanness. As a hugely mass-produced wine, it is usually delicate and mild, but in a good producers’ hands, the wine can grow more full-bodied and complex. The main problem with the grape is that to satisfy the commercial demand, the grapes are harvested too early every year, leading to wines without character.
• Tocai Friuliano – A varietal distantly related to Sauvignon Blanc, it yields the top wine of Friuli, full of peachiness and minerality. Currently, there is a bit of controversy regarding the name, as the EC has demanded it changed to avoid confusion with the Tokay dessert wine from Hungary.
• Ribolla Gialla – A Slovenian grape that now makes its home in Friuli, these wines are decidedly old-world, with aromas of pineapple and mustiness.
• Arneis – A crisp and floral varietal from Piedmont, which has been grown there since the 15th century.
• Malaysia Bianca – Another white varietal that peeks up in all corners of Italy with a wide variety of clones and mutations. Can range from easy quaffers to funky, musty whites.
• Pigato – A heavily acidic varietal from Liguria, the wines are vinified to pair with a cuisine rich in sea-food.
• Fiano (wine) – Grown on the southwest coast of Italy, the wines from this grape can be described as dewy and herbal, often with notes of pinenut and pesto.
• Garganega – The main grape varietal for wines labeled Soave, this is a crisp, dry white wine from the Veneto wine region of Italy. It’s a very popular wine that hails from northeast Italy around the city of Verona. Currently, there are over 3,500 distinct producers of Soave.
Other important whites include Carricante, Catarratto, Coda de Volpe, Cortese, Falaghina, Grillo, Inzolia, Picolit, Tocai Friulano, Traminer, Verdicchio, Verduzzo, Vermentino and Vernaccia.
As far as non-native varietals, the Italians plant chardonnay, gewürztraminer (sometimes called traminer aromatico), riesling, petite arvine, and many others.
Italy has been making wine for thousands of years but it was only in the 1960’s a comprehensive program regulating the entire industry was adopted, starting with the creation of the DOC register. With the rise of a global wine market, the need for a more formal type of guarantee led to the creation of the modern wine appellation or denomination system. As market demand increased, so did the need to guarantee and protect the origin of Italian wines.
HISTORY – The abolition of sharecropping was followed by the creation in 1963 of the controlled wine appellation system, known in Italian as Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). Experts quickly set to work implementing the DOC law by surveying the wines made throughout the country and writing production codes for each of those whose producers requested certification. It was a Herculean task because Italy cultivates more varieties of grapes than any other country and produces a bewildering array of wines. Demand for certification was brisk and the authors of the production codes worked at high speed. In the period immediately following the introduction of the DOC system, many producers throughout Italy began to engage in far-reaching experiments.
They developed wines that, in many cases, attracted praise and consumers throughout the world. But the varieties of grapes they used and/or the techniques of vinification or maturation they adopted were not authorized within DOC production regulations. As a result, many of Italy’s most exciting wines – at least in the opinion of critics and aficionados worldwide, as indicated by the high prices that many were able to fetch – were relegated to Vino da tavola status. In creating the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) category, Italian authorities provided a way for producers to obtain official recognition of their wines. In addition, revisions in individual DOC regulations have made it possible to incorporate specific vini da tavola. The category will remain in place, since some of the new wines will still not satisfy the DOC or IGT requirements, but it is certain to shrink substantially in the future. In 1992, the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) category was created. This new category opened up new possibilities for producers who wanted to make wines outside the relatively strict confines of the DOC and DOCG categories without, however, making
WINE LAWS AND LABELS – The enormous diversity of italian wines are evident from reading the wine labels. Apart from the pyramid shaped DOCG, DOC, IGT and VDT wine appellation, consumers will find following information useful when reading the wine labels and choosing italian wines. Classico identifies the historic zone of a subsequently expanded appellation (eg. Chianti Classico, Vapolicella Classico). Some wines are identified by type – secco (dry), amabile (semi-dry), spumante (sparkling – more than 3.5 atmosphere of pressue), frizzante / vivace (lightly bubbly – between 1 – 2.5 of atmosphere of pressue), novello (young), riserva / vecchio / stravecchio (aged), millesimato (vintage sparkling wine), superiore (wine with higher alcohol content / longer period of ageing), passito (wine produced from dried grapes – eg. Recioto / Vin Santo). Moscato d’Asti is usually frizzante. Prosecco di Conegliano or Valdobbiadene DOC may be spumante or frizzante. Cartizze is premier bottling of Prosecco wine from a special zone called Cartizze. Metodo Classico (sparkling wines made by the classic method of refermentation in the bottle – the term champenoise is reserved by law for Champagne). A group of producers from Trentino have registered the trademark Talento and uses it together with the description “Metodo Classico” and openly avoided the term “spumante”. The leading classic sparkling wine in Italy is Franciacorta DOCG. Our experience suggest that the first guarantee of a wine’s quality and authenticity is the integrity of it’s producer.
DOCG – wine must meet standards that are stricter than those stipulated in DOC regulations. One of the principal differences is the lower yields imposed by the DOCG rules. The reduction in output has probably done more to boost the quality of the wines than any other provisions in the production codes. The rules also require in-depth chemical analyses for all DOCG wines. Laboratories recognized by the government must carry out the examinations of the wines’ physical composition. Once the analyses have demonstrated that the chemical properties are in accordance with the standards specified in the DOCG regulations, committees consisting of expert tasters sample each producer’s wines. The committees can reject wines that fail to meet the specified sensory standards or instruct the producers to take steps to remedy deficiencies before approving or discarding the product. Upon receipt of a favourable report on the outcome of the chemical and sensory analyses, the producers’ consortia or, less often, some other official body issues small pink numbered seals that fit over the corks in the bottles of DOCG wines. Strict controls are applied to ensure that the number of seals issued corresponds to the amount of wine that can be produced in accordance with the limitations of the regulations.
DOC – the production codes delimit the zones in which the wines originate and specify type (or types, since a denomination may include a range of versions), colour, grape varieties, minimum alcohol levels, maximum yields in grapes per vine per hectare and wine from grapes, basic sensory characteristics, maturation (in wood or otherwise and possibly in sealed tanks), required minimum periods of aging and special designations identifying particular sub-zones, such as classico or superiore. Producers’ consortia, already existing or formed as a consequence of the adoption of the DOC system, are generally charged with overseeing production in each zone to ensure compliance with the regulations. A National DOC Wine Committee, established by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, must approve all new production codes or any changes to the existing regulations. The DOC law also established registers, usually maintained by the local Chamber of Commerce, in which all growers and winemakers must enter their vineyards and report their production of grapes and wines. The national (carabinieri) and local police forces and anti-fraud units inspect and regulate wineries and wine shipments.
IGT – the IGT regulations require use of authorized varieties and most of the production codes adopted to date provide for the use of one type alone or in a ratio of at least 85% to other approved grapes. Some regions of Italy have long produced such varietal wines, especially Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige in the northeast. Others have focused their production primarily on blends of different varieties. Producers of Chianti Classico, for example, can make their wine from Sangiovese alone or with a blend of Sangiovese (at least 80%) and native varieties like Canaiolo and Colorino or international grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon(a maximum of 20%). If producers make a wine from Merlot alone, they cannot use the Chianti Classico DOCG appellation. In the past, that Merlot, no matter how fine it might be, could not receive any denomination. It had to go to the market as a vino da tavola. The IGT regulations have substantially altered that situation. The IGT wines are identified with specific territories, most of which are larger than the zones specified in the regulations for DOCGs and DOCs. Some are region-wide, as in the case of Toscano in Tuscany and Sicilia on Sicily, while others are limited to a valley or a range of hills. For consumers, the IGT primarily means a wide range of wines of good quality available at highly competitive prices.
VDT – the Italian term Vino da tavola means, literally, table wine. In reality, it refers to wines without appellations or ordinary wines. In the Italian sense of the term Vino da.
WINE CLASSIFICATIONS – There are 35 DOCG appellations, 315 DOC appellations, and 118 IGT appellations in Italy. Below is a listing of these appellations.
35 DOCG appellations in order by region : Abruzzi : Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane
Campania : Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Taurasi
Emilia-Romagna : Albana di Romagna
Friuli-Venezia Giulia : Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit, Ramandolo
Lombardy : Franciacorta, Sforzato di Valtellina or Sfursat di Valtellina, Valtellina Superiore
Marches : Conero, Vernaccia di Serrapetrona
Piedmont : Acqui or Brachetto d’Acqui, Asti, Barbaresco, Barolo, Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore, Gattinara, Gavi or Cortese di Gavi, Ghemme, Roero,
Sardinia : Vermentino di Gallura
Sicily : Cerasuolo di Vittoria
Tuscany : Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Morellino di Scansano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Umbria : Montefalco Sagrantino, Torgiano Riserva,
Veneto : Bardolino Superiore, Recioto di Soave, Soave Superiore
35 DOCG appellations in alphabetical order : Acqui or Brachetto d’Acqui, Albana di Romagna, Asti, Barbaresco, Bardolino Superiore, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit, Conero, Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore, Fiano di Avellino, Franciacorta, Gattinara, Gavi or Cortese di Gavi, Ghemme, Greco di Tufo, Montefalco Sagrantino, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane, Morellino di Scansano, Ramandolo, Recioto di Soave, Roero, Sforzato di Valtellina or Sfursat di Valtellina, Soave Superiore, Taurasi, Torgiano Riserva, Valtellina Superiore, Vermentino di Gallura, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
315 DOC appellations in order by region : Abruzzi : Controguerra, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo,
Aosta Valley : Valle d’Aosta
Apulia : Aleatico di Puglia, Alezio, Brindisi, Cacc’e mmitte di Lucera, Castel del Monte, Copertino Galatina, Gioia del Colle, Gravina, Leverano, Lizzano, Locorotondo, Martina or Martina Franca, Matino, Moscato di Trani, Nardo, Orta Nova, Ostuni, Primitivo di Manduria, Rosso Barletta, Rosso Canosa or Canasium, Rosso di Cerignola, Salice Salentino, San Severo, Squinzano,
Basilicata : Aglianico del Vulture, Matera, Terre dell’Alta Val d’Agri
Calabria : Bivongi, Ciro, Donnici, Greco di Bianco, Lamezia, Melissa, Pollino, San Vito di Luzzi, Sant’Anna di Isola Capo Rizzuto, Savuto, Scavigna, Verbicaro,
Campania : Aglianico del Taburno, Aversa, Campi Flegrei, Capri, Castel San Lorenzo, Cilento, Costa d’Amalfi, Falerno del Massico, Galluccio, Guardia Sanframondi or Guardiolo, Irpinia, Ischia, Penisola Sorrentina, Sannio, Sant’Agata dei Goti, Solopaca, Taburno, Vesuvio,
Emilia-Romagna : Bosco Eliceo, Cagnina di Romagna, Colli Bolognesi, Colli Bolognesi Classico, , , Pignoletto, Colli della Romagna Centrale, Colli di Faenza, Colli di Parma, Colli di Rimini, Colli di Scandiano e Canossa, Colli d’Imola, Colli Piacentini, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Pagadebit di Romagna, Reggiano, Reno, Romagna Albana Spumante, Sangiovese di Romagna, Trebbiano di Romagna
Friuli-Venezia Giulia: Carso, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio Goriziano or Collio, Friuli Annia, Friuli Aquileia, Friuli Grave, Friuli Isonzo, Friuli Latisana, Lison-Pramaggiore,
Latium : Aleatico di Gradoli, Aprilia, Atina, Bianco Capena, Castelli Romani, Cerveteri, Cesanese del Piglio, Cesanese di Affile, Cesanese di Olevano Romano, Circeo, Colli Albani, Colli della Sabina, Colli Etruschi Viterbesi, Colli Lanuvini, Cori, Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone, Frascati, Genazzano, Marino, Montecompatri Colonna, Nettuno, Orvieto, Tarquinia, Velletri, Vignanello, Zagarolo
Liguria : Cinque Terre and Cinque Terre Sciacchettrà, Colli di Luni, Colline di Levanto, Golfo del Tigullio Pornassio or Ormeasco di Pornassio, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Rossese di Dolceacqua or Dolceacqua Val Polcevera
Lombardy : Botticino, Capriano del Colle, Cellatica, Garda, Garda Colli Mantovani, Lambrusco Mantovano, Lugana, Moscato di Scanzo, Oltrepo Pavese, Riviera del Garda Bresciano, San Colombano al Lambro, San Martino della Battaglia, Terre di Franciacorta, Valcalepio, Valtellina Rosso or Rosso di Valtellina
Marches : Bianchello del Metauro, Colli Maceratesi, Colli Pesaresi, Esino, Falerio dei Colli Ascolani or Falerio, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, Offida, Pergola, Rosso Conero, Rosso Piceno, Serrapetrona, Terreni di San Severino, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Verdicchio di Matelica,
Molise : Biferno, Molise, Pentro di Isernia or Pentro
Piedmont : Albugnano, Alta Langa, Barbera d’Alba, Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato, Boca, Bramaterra, Canavese, Carema, Cisterna d’Asti, Colli Tortonesi, Collina Torinese, Colline Novaresi Colline Saluzzesi, Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato, Coste della Sesia, Dolcetto d’Acqui, Dolcetto d’Alba Dolcetto d’Asti, Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi, Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba, Dolcetto di Dogliani, Dolcetto di Ovada, Erbaluce di Caluso or Caluso, Fara, Freisa d’Asti, Freisa di Chieri, Gabiano, Grignolino d’Asti, Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Langhe, Lessona, Loazzolo, Malvasia di Casorzo d’Asti, Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Monferrato, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Piemonte, Pinerolese, Rubino di Cantavenna, Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato, Sizzano, Strevi, Valsusa, Verduno Pelavrega or Verduno
Sardinia : Alghero, Arborea, Campidano di Terralba or Terralba, Cannonau di Sardegna, Carignano del Sulcis, Giro di Cagliari, Malvasia di Bosa, Malvasia di Cagliari, Mandrolisai, Monica di Cagliari, Monica di Sardegna, Moscato di Cagliari, Moscato di Sardegna, Moscato di Sorso Sennori, Nasco di Cagliari, Nuragus di Cagliari, Sardegna Semidano, Vermentino di Sardegna, Vernaccia di Oristano
Sicily : Alcamo or Bianco d’Alcamo, Contea di Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Eloro, Erice, Etna, Faro, Malvasia delle Lipari, Mamertino di Milazzo, Marsala, Menfi, Monreale, Moscato di Noto, Moscato di Pantelleria, Moscato di Siracusa, Moscato Passito di Pantelleria, Riesi, Salaparuta, Sambuca di Sicilia, Santa Margherita di Belice, Sciacca, Vittoria,
Trentino-Alto Adige : Alto Adige, Caldaro or Lago di Caldaro, Casteller, Teroldego Rotaliano, Trentino, Trento, Valdadige, Valdadige Terradeiforti
Tuscany : Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario, Bianco della Valdinievole, Bianco dell’Empolese, Bianco di Pitigliano, Bianco Pisano di San Torpe, Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia, Candia dei Colli Apuani, Capalbio, Carmignano and Barco Reale di Carmignano, Colli dell’Etruria Centrale, Colli di Luni Colline Lucchesi, Cortona, Elba, Montecarlo, Montecucco, Monteregio di Massa Marittima, Montescudaio, Moscadello di Montalcino, Orcia, Parrina, Pietraviva, Pomino, Rosso di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, San Gimignano, Sant’Antimo, Sovana, Terratico di Bibbona, Val d’Arbia, Val di Cornia, Valdichiana, Vin Santo del Chianti, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Vin Santo di Montepulciano,
Umbria : Assisi, Colli Altotiberini, Colli Amerini, Colli del Trasimeno, Colli Martani, Colli Perugini, Lago di Corbara, Montefalco, Orvieto, Rosso Orvietano or Orvietano Rosso, Torgiano,
Veneto : Arcole, Bagnoli di Sopra or Bagnoli, Bardolino, Bianco di Custoza, Breganze, Colli Berici, Colli di Conegliano, Colli Euganei, Corti Benedettine del Padovano, Gambellara, Garda, Lison-Pramaggiore, Lugana, Merlara, Montello e Colli Asolani, Monti Lessini or Lessini, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Riviera del Brenta, San Martino della Battaglia, Soave, Valdadige, Valdadige Terradeiforti, Valpolicella, Vicenza, Vini del Piave or Piave
315 DOC appellations in alphabetical order : Aglianico del Taburno, Aglianico del Vulture, Albugnano, Alcamo or Bianco d’Alcamo, Aleatico di Gradoli, Aleatico di Puglia, Alezio, Alghero, Alta Langa, Alto Adige, Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario, Aprilia, Arborea, Arcole, Assisi, Atina, Aversa, Bagnoli di Sopra or Bagnoli, Barbera d’Alba, Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato, Bardolino, Bianchello del Metauro, Bianco Capena, Bianco della Valdinievole, Bianco dell’Empolese, Bianco di Custoza, Bianco di Pitigliano, Bianco Pisano di San Torp, Biferno, Bivongi, Boca, Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia, Bosco Eliceo, Botticino, Bramaterra, Breganze, Brindisi Cacc’e mmitte di Lucera, Cagnina di Romagna, Caldaro or Lago di Caldaro, Campi Flegrei, Campidano di Terralba or Terralba, Canavese, Candia dei Colli Apuani, Cannonau di Sardegna, Capalbio, Capri, Capriano del Colle, Carema, Carignano del Sulcis, Carmignano and Barco Reale di Carmignano, Carso, Castel del Monte, Castel San Lorenzo, Casteller, Castelli Romani, Cellatica, Cerveteri, Cesanese del Piglio, Cesanese di Affile, Cesanese di Olevano Romano, Cilento, Cinque Terre and Cinque Terre Sciacche, Circeo, Cisterna d’Asti, Colli Albani, Colli Altotiberini, Colli Amerini, Colli Berici, Colli Bolognesi, Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto, Colli del Trasimeno, Colli della Romagna Centrale, Colli della Sabina, Colli dell’Etruria Centrale, Colli di Conegliano, Colli di Faenza, Colli di Luni, Colli di Parma, Colli di Rimini, Colli di Scandiano e Canossa, Colli d’Imola, Colli Etruschi Viterbesi, Colli Euganei, Colli Lanuvini, Colli Maceratesi, Colli Martani, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Colli Perugini, Colli Pesaresi, Colli Piacentini, Colli Tortonesi, Collina Torinese, Colline di Levanto, Colline Lucchesi, Colline Novaresi, Colline Saluzzesi, Collio Goriziano or Collio, Contea di Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Controguerra, Copertino, Cori, Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato, Corti Benedettine del Padovano, Cortona, Costa d’Amalfi, Coste della Sesia, Delia Nivolelli, Dolcetto d’Acqui, Dolcetto d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Asti, Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi, Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba, Dolcetto di Dogliani, Dolcetto di Ovada, Donnici, Elba, Eloro, Erbaluce di Caluso or Caluso, Erice, Esino, Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone, Etna, Falerio dei Colli Ascolani or Falerio, Falerno del Massico, Fara, Faro, Frascati, Freisa d’Asti, Freisa di Chieri, Friuli Annia, Friuli Aquileia, Friuli Grave, Friuli Isonzo, Friuli Latisana, Gabiano, Galatina, Galluccio, Gambellara, Garda, Garda Colli Mantovani, Genazzano, Gioia del Colle, Giro di Cagliari, Golfo del Tigullio, Gravina, Greco di Bianco, Grignolino d’Asti, Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Guardia Sanframondi or Guardiolo, Irpinia, Ischia, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, Lago di Corbara, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Lambrusco Mantovano, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Lamezia, Langhe, Lessona, Leverano, Lison-Pramaggiore, Lizzano, Loazzolo, Locorotondo, Lugana, Malvasia delle Lipari, Malvasia di Bosa, Malvasia di Cagliari, Malvasia di Casorzo d’Asti, Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Mamertino di Milazzo, Mandrolisai, Marino, Marsala, Martina or Martina Franca, Matera, Matino, Melissa, Menfi, Merlara, Molise, Monferrato, Monica di Cagliari, Monica di Sardegna, Monreale, Montecarlo, Montecompatri Colonna, Montecucco, Montefalco, Montello e Colli Asolani, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Monteregio di Massa Marittima, Montescudaio, Monti Lessini or Lessini, Moscadello di Montalcino, Moscato di Cagliari, Moscato di Noto, Moscato di Pantelleria, Moscato di Sardegna, Moscato di Scanzo, Moscato di Siracusa, Moscato di Sorso Sennori, Moscato di Trani, Moscato Passito di Pantelleria, Nardo, Nasco di Cagliari, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Nettuno, Nuragus di Cagliari, Offida, Oltrepo Pavese, Orcia, Orta Nova, Orvieto, Ostuni, Pagadebit di Romagna, Parrina, Penisola, Sorrentina, Pentro di Isernia or Pentro, Pergola, Piemonte, Pietraviva, Pinerolese, Pollino, Pomino, Pornassio or Ormeasco di Pornassio, Primitivo di Manduria, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Reggiano, Reno, Riesi, Riviera del Brenta, Riviera del Garda Bresciano, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Romagna Albana Spumante, Rossese di Dolceacqua or Dolceacqua, Rosso Barletta, Rosso Canosa or Canasium, Rosso Conero, Rosso di Cerignola, Rosso di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Rosso Orvietano or Orvietano Rosso, Rosso Piceno, Rubino di Cantavenna, Ruche Castagnole Monferrato, Salaparuta, Salice Salentino, Sambuca di Sicilia, San Colombano al Lambro, San Gimignano, San Martino della Battaglia, San Severo, San Vito di Luzzi, Sangiovese di Romagna, Sannio, Santa Margherita di Belice, Sant’Agata dei Goti, Sant’Anna di Isola Capo Rizzuto, Sant’Antimo, Sardegna Semidano, Savuto, Scavigna, Sciacca, Serrapetrona, Sizzano, Soave, Solopaca, Sovana, Squinzano, Strevi, Taburno, Tarquinia, Teroldego Rotaliano, Terratico di Bibbona, Terre dell’Alta Val d’Agri, Terre di Franciacorta, Terreni di San Severino, Torgiano, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano di Romagna, Trentino, Trento, Val d’Arbia, Val di Cornia, Val Polcevera, Valcalepio, Valdadige, Valdadige Terradeiforti, Valdichiana, Valle d’Aosta, Valpolicella, Valsusa, Valtellina Rosso or Rosso di Valtellina, Velletri, Verbicaro, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Verdicchio di Matelica, Verduno Pelavrega or Verduno, Vermentino di Sardegna, Vernaccia di Oristano, Vesuvio, Vicenza, Vignanello, Vin Santo del Chianti, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Vini del Piave or Piave, Vittoria, Zagarolo
118 IGT appellations in order by region : Abruzzi : Alto Tirino, Colli Aprutini, Colli del Sangro, Colline Frentane, Colline Pescaresi, Colline Teatine Del Vastese or Histonium, Terre di Chieti, Valle Peligna,
Apulia : Daunia, Murgia, Puglia, Salento, Tarantino, Valle d’Itria
Basilicata : Basilicata, Grottino di Roccanova
Calabria : Arghilla’, Calabria, Condoleo, Costa Viola, Esaro, Lipuda, Locride, Palizzi, Pellaro, Scilla, Val di Neto, Valdamato, Valle del Crati,
Campania : Beneventano, Campania, Colli di Salerno, Dugenta, Epomeo, Irpinia, Paestum, Pompeiano, Roccamonfina, Terre del Volturno
Emilia-Romagna : Bianco di Castelfranco Emilia, Emilia or dell’Emilia, Forle, Fortana del Taro, Modena or Provincia di Modena, Ravenna, Rubicone, Sillaro or Bianco del Sillaro, Terre di Veleja, Val Tidone
Friuli-Venezia Giulia : Alto Livenza, Delle Venezie, Venezia Giulia,
Latium : Civitella d’Agliano, Colli Cimini, Frusinate or del Frusinate, Lazio, Nettuno
Liguria : Colline Savonesi
Lombardy : Alto Mincio, Benaco Bresciano, Bergamasca, Collina del Milanese, Montenetto di Brescia, Provincia di Mantova or Mantova, Provincia di Pavia or Pavia, Quistello, Ronchi di Brescia, Sabbioneta Sebino,
Marches : Marche
Molise : Osco or Terre degli Osci, Rotae,
Sardinia : Barbagia, Colli del Limbara, Isola dei Nuraghi, Marmilla, Nurra or Nurra Algherese, Ogliastra Parteolla, Planargia, Provincia di Nuoro or Nuoro, Romangia, Sibiola, Tharros, Trexenta, Valle del Tirso Valli di Porto Pino
Sicily : Camarro, Colli Ericini, Fontanarossa di Cerda, Salemi, Salina, Sicilia, Valle Belice Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio, Valcamonica
Trentino-Alto Adige : Atesino delle Venezie, Delle Venezie, Mitterberg, Vallagarina, Vigneti delle Dolomiti
Tuscany : Alta Valle della Greve, Colli della Toscana centrale, Maremma Toscana, Toscano or Toscana Val di Magra.
Umbria : Allerona, Bettona, Cannara, Narni, Spello, Umbria,
Veneto : Alto Livenza, Colli Trevigiani, Conselvano, Delle Venezie, Marca Trevigiana, Provincia di Verona or Veronese, Vallagarina, Veneto, Veneto orientale, Vigneti delle Dolomit
118 IGT appellations in alphabetical order : Allerona, Alta Valle della Greve, Alto Livenza, Alto Mincio, Alto Tirino, Arghilla’, Atesino delle Venezie, Barbagia, Basilicata, Benaco Bresciano, Beneventano, Bergamasca, Bettona, Bianco di Castelfranco Emilia, Calabria, Camarro, Campania, Cannara, Civitella d’Agliano, Colli Aprutini, Colli Cimini, Colli del Limbara, Colli del Sangro, Colli della Toscana central, Colli di Salerno, Colli Ericini, Colli Trevigiani, Collina del Milanese, Colline Frentane, Colline Pescaresi, Colline Savonesi, Colline Teatine, Condoleo, Conselvano, Costa Viola, Daunia, Del Vastese or Histonium, Delle Venezie, Dugenta, Emilia or dell’Emilia, Epomeo, Esaro, Fontanarossa di Cerda, Forle, Fortana del Taro, Frusinate or del Frusinate, Grottino di Roccanova, Irpinia, Isola dei Nuraghi, Lazio, Lipuda, Locride, Marca Trevigiana, Marche, Maremma Toscana, Marmilla, Mitterberg, Modena or Provincia di Modena, Montenetto di Brescia, Murgia, Narni, Nettuno, Nurra or Nurra, Algherese, Ogliastra, Osco or Terre degli Osci, Paestum, Palizzi, Parteolla, Pellaro, Planargia, Pompeiano, Provincia di Mantova or Mantova, Provincia di Nuoro or Nuoro, Provincia di Pavia or Pavia, Provincia di Verona or Veronese, Puglia, Quistello, Ravenna, Roccamonfina, Romangia, Ronchi di Brescia, Rotae, Rubicone, Sabbioneta, Salemi, Salento, Salina, Scilla, Sebino, Sibiola, Sicilia, Sillaro or Bianco del Sillaro, Spello, Tarantino, Terrazze Retiche di Sondrio, Terre del Volturno, Terre di Chieti, Terre di Veleja, Tharros, Toscano or Toscana, Trexenta, Umbria, Val di Magra, Val di Neto, Val Tidone, Valcamonica, Valdamato, Vallagarina, Valle Belice, Valle del Crati, Valle del Tirso, Valle d’Itria, Valle Peligna, Valli di Porto Pino, Veneto, Veneto orientale, Venezia Giulia, Vigneti delle Dolomiti
VDT – In the Italian sense of the term Vino da tavola, is a non-denomination. There are no regulations for the category beyond those imposed by health, safety and fiscal authorities, which are of general application. In the period immediately following the introduction of the DOC system, many producers throughout Italy began to engage in far-reaching experiments. They developed wines that, in many cases, attracted praise and consumers throughout the world. But the varieties of grapes they used and/or the techniques of vinification or maturation they adopted were not authorized within DOC production regulations. As a result, many of Italy’s most exciting wines – at least in the opinion of critics and aficionados worldwide, as indicated by the high prices that many were able to fetch – were relegated to Vino da tavola status.
Depending on the vintage, modern Italy is the world’s largest or second largest wine producer. However, it faces fierce competition from Australia, Chile, South Africa and the United States. Between 2001 and 2005, Australia nearly doubled its export market share to 10.5% in terms of tons, according to figures from Ismea, a farm research body based in Rome. By contrast, Italy’s share of that market declined from 23.73% to 18.88%.
Maybe Italy should follow the French way in promoting its wines – like having a agency like Sopexa. In France, winemakers work closely with promotional agencies to target specific markets or countries. One just have to visit the supermarkets and restaurants(overseas)to see how far the French are ahead. But nobody is leading the way for italian producers. In the new world countries, two or three companies control 80 percent of the production. In Italy, the reverse is true and nobody is big enough to lead the way to promote italian wines. Small producers will suffer the most. There are about 770,000 makers of wine in Italy of which 30,000 of whom bottle their own wines. We at Intervino hope to do our bit in promoting italian wines, especially those of small producers.
Food & Wine Pairings – Italian wines is best talked about in the context of food as regional wines have strong identity with regional food. Sure, wines from other countries can also pair well with food but you will agree that with the indigenous varieties Italy offers, pairing it with regional food would be best and in some cases can never be replicated elsewhere.
For example, truffles from Alba pairing with barolo wine, bistecca alla fiorentina pairing with brunello or chianti wine, spectacular feast of scampi giganti alla griglia (giant grilled shrimp) and other assorted fresh seafood pairing with fresh Greco di Tufo from Campania, Sicily’s rare pasta con le sarde (with sardines and wild fennel) is at its best around Messina matched with a white from Etna. Talking about pasta, not all pasta is created equal. The rougher the outside of the pasta the better the quality of the pasta. Why? because sauces will adhere better giving a more uniform and consistently delicious flavor to each bite. Also, PASTA MUST NEVER WAIT FOR THE PEOPLE; THE PEOPLE MUST WAIT FOR THE PASTA. Still, despite what you might have heard about obligatory pairing of local dishes with local wines, the food of Italy is usually admirably adaptable. So, naturally enough, are the wines. Experiments with other combinations are only to be encouraged.
Serving Wine – The dexterity and skills displayed by highly experienced sommeliers in some of the top restaurants in Italy is a performance by itself. A recent visit to Bottega del Vino in Verona proved just that. It was full house, as usual, that weekday evening and the whole place was full of hungry diners. Nearly every table ordered wine and you could imagine how busy the sommeliers were that night.
[/special_font]Bottle in hand followed by quick steps to the table and a twist of the bottle showing the label to confirm it was the right wine and vintage. Next, a serving table was pushed up next to our table. Sommelier then disappeared into the crowded restaurant and returned shortly with both his hands full, grasping on the stems of inverted big balloon shaped crystal glasses. The “clinking” sound of wine glasses in his hands announced his return to the table. The foil cutter went to work immediately, first cutting off a round shape piece of capsule off the top part, creating a ring to insert the piece of cork for the customer to appreciate later on. A clean cut – as it was supposed to be – meaning the capsule would not come in contact with the wine being poured. Screw-pull went into the cork of our bottle of Montervertine Sodaccio 1985 and a slow and firm pull was called for as the cork may be crumbling. Perfect ! It came out in one piece. After a quick wipe away of mould and residue around the bottle opening, he then poured a little into one of the stemwares. A quick sniff of the wine in the glass, tilting his head slightly left to right while doing so before he passed the stemware to one of our guests to taste and confirm the wine was sound. He then poured the wine, not into a decanter, but into one of the big stemwares swirling it at the same time, coating the entire insides of the stemware with the wine and “rinsed” (awful word to use but you get it!)it into another stemware and repeated it to all the stemwares on the serving table. The bottle of wine was then measuredly poured, leaving most of the sediments behind in the bottle. The portions in all the glasses were at the good level leaving enough space for us to swirl the wine. Nice service I would say. Swift, firm, confident and what a performance!
Tasting Wine – The best way to learn about Italian wine is the drinking and reading up on materials. Most italian wines are made with food in mind and generally, they show best with some finger food, ideally. Some consumers may find some italian wines too “sour” or “too acidic” for their liking. In many such cases, it is worth to find out why?
s that bottle a cheap bottle which clearly is not a good representation of Italian wines? In other words, the poor quality wine has sharp acidity due to fruit of less than ideal ripeness. Or does the consumer prefer fruity wines (low acidity and tannin) and hence mistaken a good bottle of Italian wine of bright acidity as “too sour” ? It is important to note that wines with low acidity will taste flat and simple. Acidity, tannins and alcohol together provides the structure (“skeleton”) on which the fruit (sweetness / “flesh”) hangs onto. Nice integration of these four elements will form the basis as a well-balanced wine. A wine with good balance will have a long finish. The concept of balance is one of the most demanding skill professional tasters must have. It is relatively easy to pick out the wine (from blind tastings) with the most powerful bouquet and full body. However, it is more difficult to pick out the most well-balanced wine in such blind tastings as the taster will have to note, beside the fruit, also the level of tannins, alcohol and acidity and decide for himself how well-integrated these elements are on that particular day.
As Italy offers more grape varieties than any other countries, it is worth your while to explore beyond the familiar merlot, cabernet and chardonnays. Some italian wines may be expensive of course, so if you think your palatte is still not as sophisticated yet, choose a base wine to start with and leave the top wines to a later stage (eg. Rapitala Nero d’Avola I Templi 2007 $28/bt vs Feudo Montoni Nero d’Avola Vrucara $65/bt). When tasting italian wines, it is fun to imagine and guess where the wine comes from ? Which region ? Is it from the north, central or south? How about the climate ? Which grape variety is it ? Why is it called Dolcetto – a fruity wine from Piedmont (the berry of dolcetto is very sweet and hence it comes from the word “dolce” which means sweet and dolcetto literally means “sweet little one”)?
Reading Labels – As good as the Italians are at so many things, marketing has never been one of them. When asking Italian winemakers about the confusion that so many have with their labels, the most common reaction is one of wonderment or confusion. They just don’t get it! Obviously, Italian is their language so all of the words really mean something to them on a very basic level – they can easily sort out place names from vineyard names from producer names from grape names etc. Further, so many Italians are so deeply steeped in the wine world that they simply cannot extract themselves from this immersed state into the shoes of the Italian wine neophyte.
The first, and really only GUARANTEED regularized information on an Italian wine label is the NAME of the appellation from which the wine comes, and the (theoretical) quality LEVEL that this appellation has been awarded. So, grab a bottle of Italian wine, and locate one of the following “quality” level rankings : – Indicazione Geografica Tipica (sometimes abbreviated as IGT) – Denominazione d’Origine Controllata (sometimes abbreviated as DOC) – Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita (sometimes abbreviated as DOCG)
The basic things that these laws govern are geographic locations/delimitations, permissable grape varieties, and perhaps most importantly, permissable yields. Basically, IGT is the most “permissive”, DOC is in the middle, and DOCG is the most strict. Another very important thing to remember about these classifications is despite what the progressive restrictions would seem to imply, moving “up the ladder” from IGT to DOC does not in any way guarantee or even suggest an improvement in overall quality, and the same is true from the jump from DOC to DOCG. So how do I know whether this wine is good or better than the other one ? The answer to this question is pretty much the same how you will answer for wines from other countries!
Once you have located the “quality” levels outlined above, in nearly every single case, THE NAME OF THE ACTUAL APPELLATION IS LOCATED DIRECTLY ABOVE. That, regretably, is about the only SURE THING on an Italian wine label. The label locations of producer name, vineyard name (if applicable), grape variety (which in some cases ALWAYS appears on the label, and in others, NEVER does), or even proprietary name. (Italians are famous for giving particular blends unique names – this can apply to both the most off-the-wall, not-characteristic-of-the-zone IGT blend to a STRICTLY delimited wine like Brunello or Barolo – the former could be called “Stone Well” and the latter something like “Herbie” – there is ZERO restriction with these proprietary names).
#1 – is the KIND of wine (example, Amarone della Valpolicella)
#2 – is the appellation level (DOC in this case)
#3 – is the sub-classification (Classico) which specifies the traditional production zone
#4 – is the vintage or year of production
#5 – is the producer’s name
#6 – would refer to the pink DOC/DOCG label on the cap of the bottle (if any)
#7 – is the bottle size (750 ml)
#8 – is alcohol by volume
#9 – is the country of origin (Italy)
Ocassions – Italy is full of intoxicating cuisine and wine, picturesque olive trees, gentle rolling hills, neat rows of grape vines, unrivaled culture and couture, timeless history and ambience. Italy offers more than enough to fall in love with. It is telling in the way italians lead their life, they answer their phones by saying ‘Pronto,’ or ready; ready to engage, to experience and to thrive in the palpable culture all around. And wine is one of the most important aspect of italian culture. It is usually drunk during meals because it complements the taste of food (not overpowering it like most jammy new world wines which often lack acidity & tannins).
Acidity is also important in that it cleanses the palette and prepares it for your next mouthful of food. A complimentary glass of Prosecco before the meal is a great way to start. The crisp, bright taste reminiscent of citrus, herbs and melon with low alcohol make it the perfect apertivo. Unlike Champagne which is a celebratory wine, you don’t need a special occasion to drink this bubbly Prosecco. Please check with us what we have in-store for you.