Italy has been rightly celebrated throughout the years as a producer of excellent and memorable wines, from the classic Chianti to the exquisite Barolo varieties. In fact, so diverse and vibrant is the Italian wine industry that it has recently overtaken France as the world's top producer of wines. Traditional Italian grape varieties like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Barbera, Corvina, Pinot Grigio, Garganega etc. make Italian wines unique in character and style.
At Vintage Wine and Port we have an unrivalled selection of highly rated fine Italian wines, all at unbeatable prices. You can peruse our stock via the search bar to the left hand side of the page, or call us for direct advice on the best wine to suit your needs. Following is a brief overview of the history and characteristics of some key Italian wine regions.
Italian Wine Regions
The great Italian wine regions are scattered throughout the country, and a few of these have achieved world renown.
The main regions can be summarised as:
Abruzzi (Abruzzo); Aosta Valley (Valle d'Aosta); Apulia (Puglia); Basilicata; Calabria; Campania; Emilia-Romagna; Friuli (Friuli-Venezia Guilia); Latium (Lazio); Liguria; Lombardy (Lombardia); Marches (Marche); Molise; Piedmont (Piemonte); Sardinia (Sardegna); Sicily (Sicilia); Trentino-Alto-Adige; Tuscany (Toscana); Umbria; Veneto
The wines of Piedmont have a history dating back to Pliny's Natural History. A combination of geographic and political isolation left Piedmont without a natural port for most of its history, such that exporting from this region was difficult expensive. Hence the expansion of production became a necessity. I the 16th-century, records show that a mere 14% of the Bassa Langa was under vine - most of that low-lying and farmed. In the nineteenth century the Marchesa Falletti, a French woman by birth, brought eonologist Louis Oudart from Champagne to create the first dry wines in Piedmont. Along with work in experimental vineyards at Castello Grinzane conducted by Camilo Cavour, this was the birth of modern wine in the Piedmont.
Outside of the Langhe, the most prominent area of wine production in Piedmont is the chain of sub-alpine hills that run through the provinces of Novara and Vercelli. Here the Romans introduced spionia, an ancient variety that thrived in foggy climates. Whether this was in fact a genetic ancestor of Nebbiolo is unknown, but the derivation of its name, Spanna, is now how the locals refer to this noble grape. The Morainic soils, mostly deposited along the Sesia River, are of glacial origin and produce more medium-bodied, aromatically driven nebbiolo than in the Langhe. The appellations of note in Novara are Gattinara, Lessona and Bramaterra, and in Vercelli are Ghemme, Fara, Boca, and Szizzano.
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