Italian Wine and Grape Varieties

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 12:00 am

italian wineWine is a popular beverage in Italy. Most Italians try to have it as part of their every meal. Wine is the first thing that they offer to visitors at their home. It seems just natural that they become very skilled in producing fine quality wines that has become renowned all over the world. Italian wine has a long history behind it.

The fact that Italy is considered as one of the oldest wine regions in the world can very much say how the Italians were able to build up a very strong foundation for their wine making skills that until now has continued to be well appreciated. It is safe to say that Italian wine is synonymous to fine quality wines widely known the world over.

The long history of wine making in Italy dates back earlier than the second century BC, at a time when Etruscans and Greeks in ancient Italy were already producing their own wines long before the Romans started putting up their own vineyards for making wines.

But it was during the time of the Romans in Italy that wine making was made into a large-scale industry that helped develop wine production and improve storage methods such as developing barrel making as well as the bottling of the wines. From that time on, Italy has become a foremost producer of fine wines and that tradition continues on until today, where the country has been supplying approximately one-fifths of the world’s supply of wine.

Wine production in Italy today is a mix of ancient and modern methods. Large-scale production of Italian wines is usually done in modern wineries and vineyards that are equipped with the power of technology in order to effectively grow top quality grapes. But there are also villagers that still make wine by using the age old method of treading the grapes with their bare feet in order to squeeze out the valuable juice that becomes the wine. There are still some people that believe the traditional way of making the wine still makes the best ones around.

Italy is known to make both fine quality red and white wines. Italian wine regions have their own wine that they can be proud of and it depends on the type of grape varieties that they cultivate in their area. One of the best known of Italy’s red grape varieties is the Sangiovese, which is mostly grown in Tuscany.

The wines made out of these grape varieties are characterized by their cherry fruit, earthy and cedar tones. Then there is also the Nebbiolo that is grown mostly in Piedmont. The wines made from these grape varieties are known for their bouquet that reminds one of wild mushrooms, truffle, roses and tar. Other red grape varieties include the Montepulciano, the Barbera, Corvina, Aglianico, Negroamaro, Dolcetto, Sangratino and the Malvasia Nera.

Notable white grape varieties being grown in Italy include the Trebbiano which is the most widely grown white grape variety in Italy. There’s also the Moscato which is grown mostly in the Piedmont area and usually made into the semi-sparkling and sweet Moscato d’Asti wine. There is also the highly successful white grape variety being grown commercially, the Pinot Grigio.

Wines made from this grape variety are known for their crisp and clean character. Other white grape varieties being grown include the Nuragus, Tocai Fruiliano, Ribola Gialla, Arneis, Malvasia Bianca and the Garganega.