Notable FactsThe wine of Soave is most common white wine made here. Occasionally you can find an exceptional Soave, but for the most part the wine is easy-drinking and refreshingly pleasant. For the reds, the most popular are Amarone and Valpolicella – both made primarily from the good structured Corvina grape. While Amarone is always made in the recioto method (drying out the grapes to intensify the flavor), Valpolicella has a few different levels. Amarone is made from very ripe grapes, which are then dried and then pressed, producing an opulent, concentrated, full-bodied wine that has a distinctive and powerful taste that stays with you. Not for the lighter fare meal, this wine is almost port-like and delicious with cheese and/or dessert. Valpolicella can also be made in the recioto method, but it's more often found in a dry style – the wine goes up in rank, from Valpolicella to Valpolicella Classico to Valpolicella Classico Superiore. And finally, the bubbly of Veneto – Prosecco. Made from the same-named grape, Prosecco is less fizzy than Champagne and occasionally has a slight sweetness. It's absolutely delicious as a value aperitif.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.