Wine, especially in Italy, is the poetry of the Earth. (Mario Soldati)

There are no better words to express the importance of wine in the Italian culture. A combination of geographical, geological and climatic factors makes the land between the Adige and the island of Pantelleria the perfect place for the production of high quality wine.
The Italian peninsula, which was called enotria (“land of wine”) by Ancient Greeks, is today the world’s second largest producer of wine after France, but its rich diversity of grape varieties and the vast areas dedicated to cultivated vines are second to none.

Providing a classification of Italian wines is not easy, because all the 20 Italian regions grow wine grapes nowadays. However, it is possible to observe three distinctive areas: the North, which is the oldest producer of quality wine, the Centre, considered the home of the recent Italian wine “renaissance”, and the South, home of the most traditional wine.

  • NORTH – The most important wine region is undoubtly Piemonte, home of the king of all Northwest red grape varieties: the Nebbiolo. But this region also produces Dolcetto and Barbera, or whites such as Arneis, Cortese and Moscato.
    Veneto is celebrated for its white wines, especially the successful Pinot Grigio, while Trentino Alto Adige is home of the best sparkling wine, made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Liguria, which is an extension of the French Riviera, has a higher number of white wines: Vermentino and Pigato are probably the best examples worthy a mention.
  • CENTRE – Tuscany is the reason why Italian wines are such a success around the world: this land offers wines to suit every taste, from the famous Chianti to the Sangiovese. It is also producer of wines blended with “International” varieties , such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, also known as Super Tuscans. To mention more, Umbria’s Sagrantino, produced in the town of Montefalco, with its complex flavour, is much appreciated as well as the darker and dense Montepulciano from Abruzzo.
  • SOUTH – Campania and Basilicata share one of Italy’s most loved red grapes, named Aglianico. The region of Puglia, instead, can be considered the largest producer in the South, and its most popular wines are Primitivo and Negroamaro.
    This area includes also the Islands: Sicily recently increased its popularity thanks to local red wine called Nero d’Avola or the white Grillo. And finally, the excellent red wines of Cannonau and the white Vermentino are commonly produced in Sardinia.

Now that you know more about Italian wines, don’t forget that the only effective way to understand their complexity and their unique richness is to taste them all!

Giovanni Nuccio

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