When most people think of wine they think of Italy. And with very good reason, some of the most famous vineyards in the world are housed in Italy and are responsible for some of the best Italian wines that the country has to offer.
Some of the more famous regions hold several varieties of grape which give more than one top quality Italian wine.
Italy has a history of making good wine and it isn’t by chance, but more perhaps by location. Situated as it is, bordering France, many varieties of grape have crossed over and benefit from the soil, rich in clay, limestone and even sand which infuses the grapes with a whole new flavor, thus producing wines that are distinctive and certainly stand alone from their French cousins.
Piedmont for example, a region that is probably one of the best in Italy for giving the most top class grape varieties in any one region. Dolcetto, Barbera, Croatina, Pelaverga are all good grape varieties that lead to exquisite reds. However, if you are looking for a top class grape, possibly the God of the vineyards really must be the Nebbiolo grape. This is responsible for some of the regions most poigiant wines. Indeed, by Italian law, Barolo and Barbaresco must contain 100 percent Nebbiolo grape and must not mix varieties or blend together differing grapes.
The region of Valpolicella in the North East again gives us some of the regions only red grapes, Corvinone and Corvina but it would be wrong to talk about Italian wine and not mention the importance of these varieties of grapes. As they are the only two red varieties within this region, they are cultivated to their peak and produce a very heady wine.
The North East is predominantly a region for producing white grapes which lend themselves particularly well to many good value and high quality white wines.
Many of the grapes in this region are not actually Italian and are a mixture of Australian, German and French grape varieties, and produce such wines as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, Traminer and Chardonnay.
Of course, if you are looking for a more moderately priced sparkling white Italian wine, then you need to travel further South of Milan to the region of Oltrepo Pavese as this is the source of the majority of Italy’s whites. Indeed, the South East region has many light, sweet, sparkling whites, such as the famous Asti Spumante, and the region of Franciacorta sports a variety of grapes that are of the same quality and taste of Champagne and is fast becoming a favorite amongst the connoisseurs of sparkling white Italian wine.