A pale straw yellow. Clean, crisp fragrance with intense yet elegant hints of quince. Fresh, harmonious fruit set off by slight sweetness with a long finish full of delicate, tangy flavor.
Santa Margherita Winery
Santa Margherita introduced Pinot Grigio in 1980, and has become one of America's favorite premium wines. Recently voted the most popular imported wine, red or white, in top restaurants for the 11th consecutive year (Wine & Spirits 4/06), Santa Margherita remains a favorite among wine enthusiasts for its crisp, ripe character and consistent quality.
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The area consists of the regions Trentino and Alto Adige, neighbors in Northeast Italy, and is part of the Tre-Venezie trifecta. The northernmost region of Italy is fairly hilly due its closeness to the the Alps, and many vines in Trentino are terraced along the hillsides for ideal sunlight benefits. Alto Adige, in turn, has more vines on the valley floors, but enjoys warmer summers. White and sparkling are the name of the game here in quality and exports, although oddly enough, more red wine is produced. The majority of this red wine is drunk locally and in neighboring countries.
Reds are likely to be Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, along with a few local varieties, most notably Schiaval. The white grapes are Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Traminer and Chardonnay. Chardonnay is the most-planted and most revered, while Traminer hails from Austria and has an amazingly light body, but is also intensely floral and delicious. Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio are the international players that make lively whites of good value. The sweet spot of Trentino Alto-Adige is Vino Santo- a wine not to be confused with Tuscany's Vin Santo. Vino Santo (which means holy wine) is a sweet wine of the area made from dried grapes. Not found as much as Vin Santo, but still a treat.
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.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.