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Italian Wine

Learn about Italian wine, common tasting notes, where the region is and more ...

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Italian Wine

Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture virtually inextricable from red, white and sparkling wine. Wine grapes grow in every region throughout Italy—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean.

Italian Wine Regions

Naturally, most Italian wine regions enjoy a Mediterranean climate and a notable coastline, if not coastline on all borders, as is the case with the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The Alps in the northern regions of Valle d'Aosta, Lombardy and Alto Adige create favorable conditions for cool-climate grape varieties. The Apennine Mountains, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south, affect climate, grape variety and harvest periods throughout. Considering the variable terrain and conditions, it is still safe to say that most high quality viticulture in Italy takes place on picturesque hillsides.

Italian Grape Varieties

Italy boasts more indigenous grape varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most Italian wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but are declining in popularity, especially as younger growers take interest in reviving local varieties. Most important are Sangiovese, reaching its greatest potential in Tuscany, as well as Nebbiolo, the prized grape of Piedmont, producing single varietal, age-worthy Piedmontese wines. Other important varieties include Corvina, Montepulciano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course the white wines, Trebbiano, Verdicchio and Garganega. The list goes on.

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  • Gaja Barbaresco 1981  Front Label
    Gaja Barbaresco 1981
    Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
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    • Selvapiana Chianti Rufina Riserva 1981 Front Label
      Selvapiana Chianti Rufina Riserva 1981
      Sangiovese from Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
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      • Pio Cesare Barolo 1981  Front Label
        Pio Cesare Barolo 1981
        Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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        • Pio Cesare Barbaresco 1981  Front Label
          Pio Cesare Barbaresco 1981
          Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
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          • Borgogno Barolo 1981  Front Label
            Borgogno Barolo 1981
            Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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