Italy

 

  • Nebbiolo
  • Sangiovese
  • Pinot Noir
  • Chardonnay
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Nerello Mascalese
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Rondinella
  • Syrah
  • Corvina
  • Garganega
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pinot Gris
  • Barbera
  • Ribolla Gialla
  • Dolcetto
  • Fumin
  • Friulano
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Moscato Bianco
  • Nerello Cappuccio

 

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The Wine Empire

So, everyone sort of knows what Italy is. Tuscany means hills, Rome means the Eternal City, Vesuvius means Pompeii. But modern Italy consists of a great many patches of land, the inhabits of which spent thousands of years sorting things out between themselves. Each region has a rich history. And the Italian wines reflect the character and virtues of each of the land’s regions perfectly.

Italy Rome Basilica St Peter Italy Rome Trevi

Here we have the traces of the mysterious Etruscans, whose origin still sparks a heady debate among the historians. Their rich heritage in Tuscany includes the winemaking history, which extends back over three thousand years. Some Chianti households are even built on the foundation of the Etruscan houses.

Or the Veneto region which takes its name from one of the first Slavic tribes in the history – and it’s not just the city on a dozens islands which makes it famous. The soils we now know as Valpolicella, Bardolino and Soave have been cultivated for centuries here.

Italy Venece Italy Florence More

Whereas the Sicily is simply the crossroads of cultures. Over the course of history it has been owned the the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Norsemen. Some of them got the idea to plough up everything in their way, including the slopes of Etna. The first vine was probably brought here by Greeks during their colonisation phase. That’s how the history of Sicilian winemaking began. Time passed, the owners of this hearty island changed, but nobody failed to be moved by wine.

To the north lies Piedmont the kings of which finally united Italy under their rule in XIX. In our day, Piedmont still carries that luxurious bourgeois charm that has long been fuelled by the Nebbiolo’s juices – a whimsical grape variety which refuses to grow in any other place on Earth.

The history of wine in Italy is not without its complications either. For a long time, Italian wine was not a source of particular excitement among the connoisseurs. The cinemaphiles will easily remember the bellied fiascos with cheap Chianti that replicated the curves of Sophia Loren’s thighs from the black-and-white movies. In those films the moustachioed peasants used the giant bottles in the stools’ stead. Nowadays, a novice, upon coming to the famous land of wine, may just shrug his shoulders in disappointment in the metropolitan restaurants: is that the wine the guides gush about?..

The first wave of Italian Wine Renaissance in the twentieth century concurred with the sixties when the French classification was used as a basis for an attempt to sort out the descriptions and categories of Italian wines. Later, in the eighties and nineties a new stage commenced: the true winemakers, working independently of each other in different corners of the land, began improving the quality of their wines by turning to the traditional winemaking, furthering the cultivation of the local grape varieties and adapting the French ones.

These ideas were probably just hanging thick in the air. But it’s because of them that we can nowadays drink the Sangiovese, as lovely as the setting sun, the honest Brunello, the traditional Barolo and the hot Nerello Mascalese.

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A Different View
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A Different View

Doesn’t your fight resemble tilting at windmills? The question is what we consider a victory. If everyone wakes up tomorrow and starts drinking true wine, it’d be a tragedy for us. There’s not enough true wine for everyone – there’s very little of it, to be honest.

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