Given that Italy is 1,185 kilometers from the most southerly reaches of Sicily to the Alpine slopes of Trentino, the range of climatic influences is vast. And so, Italian wine is not one thing, it is many. Very many.
Italy possesses the most autochthonous grape varieties — more than a third of the world’s total of about 1,368. This is one of the many reasons the wines are so dynamic. Of Italy’s 545 varieties, 341 are designated DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata).
What should be of serious interest to wine lovers is the intent of Italian winemakers to kick serious ass on the international front. Italy is pushing the quality — and the sustainability — envelope ever higher. This is no small feat in a world of climate chaos, rising prices and a drinking public given an embarrassment of choice. But of the big three winemaking countries —Italy, France and Spain — Italy is owning the conversations.
Wine is made in every region of the country—that amounts to 20 regions—each with its own unique sense of place, as the varied microclimates, terroir, and culinary customs dictate. You want style? Italy has it. A wine for every occasion? Of course. Italy’s sparklers rival the world’s best. Its rosato’s are pure sunshine. Its crisp, refreshing minerally whites are cool-climate diamonds and its muscular, long-lived reds can duke it out with the world’s biggest. Put it this way: Italy’s wines play in the same league as the world’s trophy wines, but they are uniquely their own. And they have cooler names.
To learn about the producers attending A Tasting of Wines from Italy™, click here.
— Dick Snyder
Photo Credit: Gabriella Clare Marino
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