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Italy boasts one of the proudest winemaking traditions, and has more indigenous grape varieties than anywhere on earth. As a result, its wines vary hugely in style from one region and sub-region to the next. Understanding Italian wine can be tricky at first, given the country’s multitude of appellations, and an unsurprising penchant to label according to geography more so than by grape variety. Our Italian wine range covers the key regions, and will allow you to taste and enjoy a multitude of local styles and varieties.
With great tradition comes distinctive growing regions, each with their own unique process and signature blend. At the northern most part of Italy in the alps, there are special microclimates which allow vintners to produce a variety of styles, with the most popular being Piedmont and Nebbiolo. Central Italy is where you can find the powerhouses of Italian wine production. Varietals such as: Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced amongst the vast rolling hills and scenic countryside. Further south near the Mediterranean, some of the most exciting blends and varieties are being produced. The southern region of Italy is undergoing a wine revolution. Native grapes such as Sicily’s Nero d’Avola and Grillo, and Campania’s Primitivo and Negroamaro produce wonderful blends with exquisite local flavor.
As you taste through the diverse geographic regions of Italy, you will come to understand why each indigenous grape and climate is so special.
Tuscany is home to some of Italy’s most iconic wine styles. Perhaps the widest known is Chianti, a relatively light red blend based predominantly on Sangiovese. Chianti Classico comes from a smaller geographical area in central Tuscany, and is generally of a higher quality. Brunello di Montalcino is produced thirty miles south of Siena. It is traditionally a 100% Sangiovese, elegant and dense and capable of considerable ageing. Tuscany’s finest – or certainly most expensive - wines come from the so-called Super Tuscans, an unofficial group producing blends often from French varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The Veneto region, close to Venice, produces a range of distinctive red, white and sparkling wines. It is best known today for Prosecco, the hugely successful sparkling wine produced from the Glera grape and using the so-called tank method. This differs from Champagne and other traditional method sparkling wine, in that the wine’s secondary fermentation takes place in large, sealed tanks, rather than in the bottle. Veneto is also the home of red Valpolicella wines, including Valpolicella Ripasso and the dried-grape Amarone della Valpolicella. Soave is the region’s best-known white wine, produced in the northern hills of Verona.
This region in northeast Italy is most closely associated with the temperamental Nebbiolo grape, and specifically its two greatest expressions, Barolo and Barbaresco. These are among Italy’s finest and longest-lived wines and are often its most expensive. Some slightly less extravagant Nebbiolo-based red wines are produced throughout the region, such as Nebbiolo d’Alba. Other local specialities include red wines from the Barbera and Dolcetto grapes, as well as low-alcohol sparkling wine such as Moscato d’Asti.