The Beauty of Italy
There are many great wine producing regions around the world, but in terms of sheer number and diversity of styles Italy has to be one of the best.
It was the Ancient Greek that named Italy ‘Oenotria’ or the land of wine, which just goes to show that this extensive winemaking culture goes back a very long way! And while some of the styles of wines may have changed over the years, this is still a country with a rich winemaking tradition. Given it’s position in the Mediterranean, Italy has some the benefit of being climatically perfect for a variety of different grapes, and enjoying the benefit of sunny growing seasons – although some regions will vary considerably from year to year so it is not necessarily easy going! As well as that so much Italian wine is great with food! So what’s not to love??
This great news for any wine fans out there as it provides so much opportunity to taste a variety of different grape varieties and wine styles that are simply not made anywhere else! Where it can be challenging is getting to grips with the numerous regions and names. Each region in Italy has it’s own set of grape varieties and styles of wines produced, and it is certainly tricky to remember them all! Some are more famous such as the big Barolos and awesome Amarones of the North, or the charming Chianti of central Italy, but there are many other less well known regions which make wines that are equally exciting.
If you look outside of these famous regions you can discover new grape varieties such as Teroldego Dolcetto, Catarratto or Greco among hundreds of others - there are over 350 grape varieties granted ‘authorized status’ and many more besides! It is also worth looking to Southern Italy to find some less well known regions and often some more bargainous wines. As the North of Italy was historically the economical powerhouse, it also ended up being the area that gained more investment in terms of wines, and so these wines became more famous and widely sought after. But that is certainly not where the magic of Italian wine ends! So whether it’s sparkling wines, aromatic whites or full bodied whites, herbaceous reds or intense reds, or even dessert wines that you enjoy there is definitely something for you here!
But how do you find out about these wines? For many of the less famous wines you will have to step out of the supermarket and look at toward your independent wine retailers – many of whom would be delighted to help you explore these diverse wines.
Or of course you can come join me on a tasting! Where I will introduce you to a wide range of wines from each region and also explore the history and changes that have occurred over time. As Italy has so much to talk about I run the course over 4 weeks, so you can truly experience the variety and breadth of styles on offer. You can check out the next dates here. It is certainly one of my favourite courses to run, I hope you will join me there!