Italy has a long and illustrious history in wine. Going back to the Roman Empire and the ancient Greeks who planted some vineyards in Sicily and other parts of southern Italy like; Calabria and Campania. The Romans, with their powerful empire stretching across Europe and North Africa, planted vineyards in every corner of their domain, including; France, Germany, Spain and Croatia.
The history of Italian wine dates back about 4000 years ago. Perhaps what helped Italian wine stay ahead of its competitors, is the fact that Italy has more local grape varieties than any other country in the world, giving them a bigger range of grapes to work on.
When it comes to wine, there is no country on Earth that can be compared to Italy. If you look at the wine maps of other major wine-producing countries, you'll see that vineyards are planted in only a few areas.
Italy, on the other hand, has vines planted all over the country, from Friuli in the Northeast to the limits of Calabria in the southwest and everywhere else, along with the great islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Wine is so ingrained in the style of Italian life, just like pizza, pasta, prosciutto and parmigiano.
Immense variety of Italian Wines
With tremendous amounts of Italian varieties alongside the "Big Four” (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah), an infinite number of styles can be made with single varietal wines or with an endless wine gamut that are proprietary blends, which Italy produces by far, the largest number in the world.
Italian wines are usually ranked among the best wines in the world. The demand for Italian wines is so high that this small country produces around 8 billion bottles of wine each year. But the increasing number has not led to a deterioration in quality, as most Italian winemakers are known for their strict quality control and passion at this kind of art.
Italian wine is considered unique due to the rich mix of various wine cultures existent in several wine regions across the country. There are certain general features of Italian wine that make it stand out in the crowded wine market.
Italian wines are better when paired with food, as they have relatively high acidity levels. The Italian wine bottles are full of earthy aromas and regional flavor. This is also known as earthiness. Most Italian wines are not heavy. They are moderate in nature, although there are also some heavy wines.
There are some grape varieties that grow just in Italy. Italians take advantage of this, making wines with unique flavors and aromas.
Italian wines are available in a wide range of prices; the “finding.wine” wine store offers them. This store operates online and physically in the city of Miami, FL. There are a lot of wine stores, and almost all of them also sell bottles of Italian wine.
It is better to buy Italian wine from an authorized store, as many ordinary wines are also sold wrongly as "Italian wine" in the market, this won’t happen in the wine store that we have recommended.
With so much variety in wines; How can Italian wines be classified?
In 1963, the Italian government established a system called “denominazione di origini”, or appellation of origin in English, based roughly on the French system of “appelation controlee”.
Until recently, only 10% of the Italian wine harvests were regulated by wine laws. Nowadays, the situation has begun to change as the reforms passed in 1992, known as the Goria law, have incorporated more wines in several categories.
Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG): This higher level of Italian wine started as a more rigid form of DOC and as a recognition of the best Italian wines. Although it was created in 1963, the first DOCG was not awarded until 1980.
Denominacione di Origine Controllata (DOC): This category applies to wines made from specified grape varieties, grown in specific areas. In a way, DOC regulations serve to preserve existing traditions (traditions established during the years after World War II).
Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT): Italian version of French category vin de pays. Wines can use a geographic description on the label followed by the name of a grape variety.
Tavola Wine (VdT): This is the most basic classification, and no geographical or variety distinction can be made on the label.
Most common words that appear on the labels of Italian wines:
- AMARO: Slightly bitter variety.
- CLASSICO: Wine born in the traditional DO, more specifically in the area that has been part of the DO since its constitution.
- NERO: Covered red.
- PASSITO: Product of raisined grapes.
- RECIOTO: Very concentrated wine that hasn’t been made with fresh grapes.
- RISERVA: Wine aged in barrels and a specific bottle.
- SUPERIORE: Wine with strong alcohol content.
- VIN SANTO: Long aging, sweet wine.
- VINO LIQUOROSO: Sweet fortified wine with a lot of alcohol.
And of course, let’s not forget about the ones that identify some types of wines; they are red (Rosso), white (Bianco), rosé (Rosato), claret (Chiaretto), sparkling (Spumante) and gently sparkling (Frizzante).
Enjoy the originality and varieties of exquisite Italian wines.
We invite you to try this selection of three excellent Italian wines, which you can even buy from the comfort of your home; Try them and tell us what are your thoughts using the comment on the blog, we’re pretty sure you won’t regret it.
- Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2019 wine: Tenuta Delle Terre Nere has created this Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2019, a white wine from Etna with the best grecanico dorato, catarratto and carricante grapes of 2019 and with 13% alcohol. It’s an affordable white wine of very good quality, recommended for pairing or giving as a gift.
- Il Fauno di Arcanum 2015 wine: This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot opens with earthy aromas of scorched earth, toasted oak and ripe dark-skinned fruit. The Il Fauno di Arcanum 2015 wine offers the palate different flavors such as: prunes, tobacco and mocha along with fine-grained tannins.
- Ciacci Piccolomini Rosso di Montalcino 2014: The Ciacci Piccolomini Rosso di Montalcino 2014 wine is a red wine from Rosso Di Montalcino produced by Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona harvested in 2014 and whose alcohol volume is 14º. This wine is an unbeatable option for pleasing your palate and being and economical option at the same time
We hope that, with this article, you will be able to acquire knowledge about these great wines, which will surely make you a little bit more expert on the subject.
- Fabianni Posteraro