A bold, opulent red wine produced by a number of vineyards in Italy’s northeast Veneto region.
Made from the Nebbiolo grape grown in Italy’s Piedmont region.
A sweet wine, like Barbaresco, but its tannins take longer to soften.
From the deep azure of the Mediterranean Sea to the vibrant colors of Tuscany, Italy is awash in color. Italian masters have portrayed the beauty of that land on canvas and in sculpture. Renowned chefs have created wonderful Italian meals based around the country’s plentiful fruits, vegetables, and seafood. For untold centuries, master vintners have toiled to collect the flavors, aromas, and colors of the Italian countryside into bottled treasures. These vintners passed their secrets down through family generations and cultivated grapes that are uniquely suited to the temperature, humidity, and soil of their land.
Scattered across the floor of the Mediterranean Sea are the wrecks of thousands of years of trade, and many of these sunken relics hold, broken or intact, amphorae of some of the earliest Italian wines. Italian wines are still treasured around the globe today. Italy is the second leading producer of wine and has more than a million cultivated vineyards.
Italian wines are created to accompany Italian dishes. It is certainly possible to enjoy an Italian vintage with tapas and chorizo, but it is much easier to pair Italian wines with dishes native to that land. Chianti is a classic example of an Italian table wine that is meant to be paired with an Italian meal. Chianti, produced from the Sangiovese grape, is one of Italy’s most available red wines. It is a fruity, flowery wine that ages well and is definitely made to drink with a meal.
Table wines are good, but they are produced for quantity. Large families cook large meals and drink large amounts of table wine. Cheap would be too harsh a word, but these vintages are definitely designed for family dinner palates.
There are, however, more than 2,000 varieties of grape cultivated in the Italian countryside. While large commercial vineyards may focus on production volumes and the use of reliable grape cultivars, many smaller vineyards take pride in producing high-end wines from closely guarded blends of less common grapes. Pinot Grigio probably comes to mind immediately as an Italian wine with quality that routinely surpasses good Chianti Classico table wines. While these white wines are flavorful and make good sipping companions, the delights of Italian wines continue into much deeper hues than these pale fares.