When it comes to wine, Italy is well known for its Chianti and Pinot Grigio. However Italian wine isn’t just about these two famous gems. The country offers a huge variety of diverse and unusual wines, while boasting some of the oldest wine growing regions in the world.
Possibly Central Italy’s greatest export, Chianti is the region from where the wine is made. It is a light and easy drinking red wine, made primarily from the Sangiovese grape and is famous for its straw enclosed bottle. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, is a deliciously crisp and refreshing Italian wine and is great for drinking on its own or as a pre-dinner drink. It is the Italian version of Pinot Gris from France and has become so popular in recent years that it is rivalling Chardonnay for the role of number one white grape.
If you fancy getting to know the real Italy, you’d be best to steer clear of the famous names. Italy produces hundreds of different grapes and many of these are native to the country. Yes, you might come across the odd international grape such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Riesling, but Italian wines are much more about its Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Montepulciano, Barbera, Trebbiano, Cortese and Verdicchio to name but a few. Work your way through a few of these and you certainly won’t be left feeling disappointed!
Diversity and Distinctiveness
There are 20 Italian wine growing regions stretching from the North to the South and with huge variations in the climate and landscape of each, the style of the wines coming out of each region are truly diverse. While no two regions (and, therefore, wines) are the same, it is worth taking the time to discover the exciting and unique delights being produced. If you need a hand to help you get started, you can generally expect Italian wines produced in the North to be lighter and more elegant due to the cooler climate, while those in the South will have richer and fuller flavours.
Eat Like the Italians
Entwined with Italian wine and the country’s regions is its cuisine, so it really is no surprise that pasta and tomato based dishes, which are the staple of the Tuscan diet, are a perfect match for a bottle of Chianti for example, while fresh fish from the North East coastal regions taste good with a bottle of Soave from the Veneto region. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Italy, make sure you get under the skin of the country and learn the real way by eating and drinking like the locals. Not only will you save on your pocket but also you’ll get a far more authentic experience and undoubtedly you will get to enjoy some of the best Italian wines that you have ever tasted.
This is just a brief introduction to Italian wine.
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Louise Truswell works in and writes about the wine industry – writing about Italian Wine. If you would like to find out more and choose from a range of Italian wine, visit virginwines.com
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