Italy Wine Regions

According to the International Wine Institute, every year, Italy produces over 20 percent of the world’s total wine grape crop. The country’s diverse biodiversity spans twenty regions, and 110 provinces are the product of millennia of commerce, incursions, colonization, hybridization, and evolution throughout several millennia. The Italian grape types account for at least 377 (28 percent) of the 1368 grape varieties utilized in the production of wine worldwide. It has been estimated that around 500 grape types are planted throughout the peninsula. Tuscany has a landscape composed of 35 percent mountains and 40 percent flat hills. As a result of their geographical and social isolation, the people have developed solid regionalist tendencies, dialects, and a strong sense of local allegiance.

Italy’s wine industry boasts a dizzying array of designations, including 77 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and 330 Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), as well as numerous Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) and the newly added Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntivi (MGA). With 77 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e

The following is a regional summary of all twenty Italian provinces, including essential grapes, producers, DOCGs, DOCs, and wines to look out for in each province’s region. As a primer and user-friendly guide to navigating the extraordinary world of Italian wine, consider this to be a must-have resource.

The Val d’Aosta is a mountain range in Italy.

In northern Italy’s northwest corner, the Val d’Aosta region is best known for its ski resorts on the southern side of the Alp mountains, between the Swiss and French borders, and near the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Val d’Aosta is also home to the Val d’Aosta International Airport. Aosta Valley is home to some of the highest-altitude vineyards globally, including Prie Blanc vines that may be found as high as 3500 feet above sea level in the Val d’Aosta region. Italy’s smallest grape-growing region, with less than 500 hectares of vineyards, is the country’s most isolated territory.

With a winemaking tradition that extends back to the Roman era, many producers have realized that working as a team is preferable rather than attempting to farm alone in this region. Over the years, thousands of tiny, family-run vineyards have joined together to form cooperative winemaking enterprises known as cooperatives. In Italy, the wine-growing areas are split into three categories: Alta (Morgex), Media (Aosta), and Bassas (Donnas). Dora Baltea River runs through the valley, which is 90 kilometers long. Although Cave Mont Blanc is the largest winery in the region, it only produces approximately 140 thousand bottles of wine every year.

Many of the red wines from the area have notes of Alpine herbs similar to those found in Ricola. They can feature flavors of licorice, smoked spices, cinnamon, mild to high tannins, red and black currants, medium to high acidity, and rustic.

Italy wine Regions

Piemonte

In the northwest area of Italy, Piemonte is the home of Nebbiolo, which is known as the “King of Wines.” Nebbiolo is produced in small quantities in Piemonte. Monfortino, produced by Giacomo Conterno, is Italy’s most costly wine, with a bottle costing approximately $1000. Barolo comes from the Celtic word “Bas-Ruel,” which translates as “low place.” It is the genesis of the Freisa, Neretta, and Vespolina varieties. Nebbiolo’s wine features include a ruby or garnet color, red fruit flavors, floral notes, savory notes, strawberry, orange peel, roses, and lavender aromas. Nebbiolo wines contain high tannins, acidity, and alcohol content, as well as a subtle body, making them highly age-worthy wines.

According to the USDA, Barbera is native to Piemonte and is the third most widely planted red cultivar in Italy. Barbera is a low-maintenance crop that produces large yields and matures late in the season. Barbera is ideal in hot vintages because the naturally firm acidity of the grape helps to balance it out.

Arneis is a substantial white wine grape that was on the verge of extinction in 1970, with only 45 hectares of vines remaining. There are now 970 hectares available. Arneis is a Latin word that means “little rascal.” Arneis is a tough plant to grow, and it loses its acidity soon after harvest. The wine of Arneis has a creamy texture and flavors of white fruits. Vietti and Giacosa are the producers who are credited with revitalizing the varietal for commercial production from the Cornarea clone, which is primarily farmed in the Roero region of Italy.

Cortese is the primary white grape used in the production of Gavi wines. Soave and Gavi were both victims of their own success, and Gavi was no exception. As it gained popularity, the company’s manufacturing increased to unprecedented heights, but the quality of the product suffered considerably.

In Piemonte, there are five Nebbiolo DOCGs, three Barbera DOCGs, three Dolcetto DOCGs, three sparkling DOCGs, and two white wine DOCGs (Erbaluce and Gavi). There are also three sparkling DOCGs in the region.

Lombardy

Lombardy is most well-known for its picturesque and luxurious lakes region, located at the foothills of the Alps and includes the Lago Maggiore, Lago Lugano, Lago di Como, Lago Iseo, and Lago di Garda, among others. Sassella, Inferno, Grumello, Valgella, and Maroggia are the names of the five most important Nebbiolo vineyards in the Valtellina: Sassella, Inferno, Grumello, Valgella, and Maroggia.

The wines of Franciacorta in Lombardy are notable because the DOCG has implemented the tightest production codes of any traditional method producing location in the world. In the 1950s, the contemporary sparkling wines of Franciacorta were first produced. The region was officially designated as a DOC in 1967. In the 1980s, the producers in the region began to prefer Chardonnay over Pinot Bianco, and this trend has continued to this day. Since its establishment in 1995, the DOCG has grown to include 80 percent Chardonnay grapes, 15 percent Pinot Nero, and 5 percent Pinot Bianco, with a tiny percentage of Erbamat planted as insurance against climate change because of its high acidity and late-ripening characteristics.

Belucci (one of the region’s original producers in the 1950s), Ca del Bosco, and Barone Pizzini are among the region’s most important producers.

Friuli Venezia Giulia is a region in northern Italy.

The name Giulia is derived from Julius Caesar, the Roman emperor. This northeastern region of Italy has a border with Slovenia. Many of these cultivars were introduced after phylloxera, at the start of the twentieth century, and became famous.

In the numerous decades following World War II, the white wines of Friuli rose to prominence and are now for sure regarded as the world’s most delicate Rose. Several different wines are produced in the region’s diverse soils and microclimates, including high acid whites from the Carso and Collio and scorching flatlands with surprisingly good Bordeaux varietal wines from the Colli Orientali. Friuli Venezia Giulia is also home to one of the world’s oldest grape types, Picolit, which is used to make a unique sweet wine known as passion, given to Popes for centuries. Friuli Venezia Giulia is also home to one of the world’s oldest grape varieties, Picolit.

Liguria

Liguria is a region of Italy located in the northwest central part of the country and has a long coastline. The Cinque Terre, a collection of five breathtakingly gorgeous seaside towns on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, is the most well-known attraction in the region. One of the villages, Vernazza, may have been responsible for the name of a prominent white varietal, Vernaccia. Favorita is the name given to the grape in the region.

In Liguria, there are no DOCGs to be found.

Emilia-Romagna

Emilia-Romagna is the northernmost region of central Italy, and it has historically been linked to the provinces of Lombardy and the city of Milan. The area is divided into two halves, with Emilia located on the west side of Bologna and Romagna located east and south of Bologna. Emilia is known for its wine production. In addition to food and wine, the region is a significant exporter of agricultural products. Global fashion and accessory brands like La Perla, Furla, and Max Mara are well-known to consumers worldwide, as is Lambrusco, Modena Balsamic Vinegar Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Parma, tortelloni, and other regional specialties.

The region comprises 20% mountains, 5% hills, and 75% flatlands, with the hills accounting for 20%.

The production of Labrusche or Lambruscos accounts for 88 percent of total production in the region surrounding Reggio Emilia and Modena. In Italy, the Lambrusco grapes are the oldest, having evolved from wild grape varietals over time. The sparkling red wines of Lambrusco are available in various styles, including Brut, Semi-secco, Rosato, Dolce, and Extra Dry types, among others. Lambrusco can also be made in the traditional champagne manner, often known as the Metodo ancestral, producing more aspired-to sorts of wine.

Veneto

Between Verona and Venice in the northeastern portion of Italy has become the country’s most extraordinary wine-growing zone. This is mainly due to an increase in Prosecco being produced. An important distinction is that 70% of the wine produced in Veneto is classified as DOP quality.

It is named after the Vallis Polisccellae, which means “Valley of the Polisccellae,” the Latin name for the region (valley of many wine cellars). The ancient wines of Rome were more than likely akin to Recioto, the sweet wine of the area than they were to other varieties. It is believed that the Venetian traders, who ruled the Mediterranean sea during the Venetian republic (La Serenissima, 697-1797), were responsible for developing the Malvasia brand of wines, which were then planted throughout the Mediterranean region.

Lugana wine from the Lago di Garda region, a crisp, dry white wine with a herbaceous flavor similar to Verdicchio and produced in limited quantities. In addition, keep an eye out for Bardolino Rosso, a lighter red wine style that is fantastic when served cold in the summer. Bardolino Chiaretto is a Rosato wine made from Corvina and other varietals. It is a beautiful Rosato wine that is great to enjoy in the warmer months surrounding the Lakes region of Italy. Ripasso is a kind of wine made by passing young Valpolicella wines through grape that must be used to create Amarone. Ripasso is made from semi-dried grapes.

Amarone, the world-famous wine made from grapes that have been dried in the open air, is a relatively recent development.

Amarone grapes are harvested early since they will lose acidity throughout the drying process, which takes 100-120 days. The first bottle of Amarone was produced in 1950, and it was only in 2010 that it was designated as a DOCG.

Tuscany/Toscana

Tuscany is undoubtedly the most well-known wine region in Italy, owing to the famed Renaissance city of Florence and the widespread popularity of Chianti wine throughout the world. Sangiovese is the most important grape variety in the region, and it has a long and illustrious heritage. Chianti was first mentioned in 1398, according to historical records. According to the de Medici botanical archives, the plant Sangioveto was first mentioned in 1552. This name derives from the “blood of Jove or Jupiter” because of the stone’s color. The Chianti Classico Consorzio was founded in 1924 with the support of thirty-three charter members to protect the quality of the region’s wines. Mezzadria, a system of sharecropping that placed a premium on quantity above quality, came to an end in the 1960s.

Initially, it was thought that Sangiovese originated in Tuscany. Still, recent research suggests that the grape was imported to Tuscany from Sicily when the de Medici family possessed lands in that region. Sangioveseis a offspring of Ciliegolo and Negrodolce. As a result of the cross between Sangiovese and Mantonico, a number of varietals have emerged, including Morellini, Vernaccia Nera, and Fogliatonda, in addition to various grapes grown in Calabria and Sicily, including Galioppo, Frappato, and Nerello Mascalese.

Chianti region is located south-southeast of Florence and north-northwest of Siena, with Florence as its capital. The grapes and styles of wine produced in this large region are strongly influenced by the dramatic microclimates and elevation fluctuations throughout the region. Vineyards located at higher elevations have more robust acidity and more remarkable finesse. This region of Chianti Classico produces some of the world’s best red wines, including some of the highest quality, most age-worthy, and best value. In Chianti, more than 580 members and 376 bottles of wine are available. In 1872, Barone Ricasoli published his Chianti formula, which included 70 percent Sangiovese, 20 percent Canaiolo Nero, and 10 percent Malvasia Bianca Lunga. This was the first time a formula had been published.

In 2014, a new classification, the Gran Selezione, was introduced into the Chianti hierarchy. It is required that these wines mature for a minimum of 30 months before being released and come from estate vineyards. On the other hand, Chianti Classico Riserva must be mature for 24 months before being released. Chianti wine DOCG must contain a minimum of 80% Sangiovese and have been aged for a minimum of 12 months. Since 2000, white grapes have been prohibited from using the Chianti Classico blend. Colli Senesi and Rufino are two Chianti subzones to keep an eye out for if you’re looking for good wine. In Chianti, there is no necessity for oak aging before bottling.

Montalcino is located 40 kilometers north of Siena and only 40 kilometers south of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is hotter and drier in the southern half of the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, closer to the shore.

In the 1890s, Francesco Santi worked as a pharmacist in the region, where he helped to modernize farming techniques. He was creating sweet white wine, utilizing grapes from the nearby Moscadello vineyard. His son, Ferruccio Biondi-Santi, was responsible for the isolation of the Sangiovese Grosso clone (BBSII), which became the basis for the original biotype employed at the Il Greppo estate. In Montalcino, he is often regarded as the “Father of Brunello Wine.”

The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine region is located 70 kilometers east of Siena in Tuscany. Because of its proximity to the Apennine Alps, the region has a more continental and cooler climate than Montalcino, and it often experiences more fog and rain than the latter. This region produces some of the highest-quality and most affordable Sangiovese wines globally.

Lazio

Rome’s wines are produced in Lazio, the Latifundia, or wealthy landowners who acquired property due to battle. Lazio is also the birthplace of the Roman Empire. The Castelli Romani, located in the Lazio region southeast of Rome, is well-known. Nowhere else in Italy is there as much land dedicated to the historically significant and aromatic Malvasia Bianca di Candia grape as there is in this region. Aromatic, uncomplicated, and inexpensive wines are produced by this grape, which is praised for its high yields, which are in high demand by the locals.

Bellone is another native type of Lazio known as Pagadebito in the local community (pay your debts). Several grape varieties in Italy have been given this designation when they are praised for producing large yields that allow growers to pay off their debts quickly. Cori DOC is a location on the rise in making high-quality Bellone.

Cesanese is divided into two biotypes that are closely connected to one another: Cesanese Comune and Cesanese d’Affile. The latter is preferable as it has smaller berries and more aromatic terpenes than the former.

It is a popular light, effervescent wine produced in Lazio in small quantities.

Umbria

Italy’s sole landlocked area, Umbria, has long been allied with the Romans, as evidenced by the territory’s ancient history. The terrain of the region is composed primarily of hills (65 percent), mountains (30 percent), and flatlands (7 percent). Orvieto is a wine region that borders Lazio and produces a well-regarded wine blend of Grechetto di Orvieto and Grecchetto Todi grapes. Grechetto di Orvieto is a white wine grape potentially related to the Trebbiano family. Orvieto is located in the province of Rome (aka Pignoletto in Emilia Romagna and aka Grechetto Gentile). It produces a high acid, simple white wine with white flowers, chamomile, and lemon-lime notes.

Trebbiano is a type of white wine grape widely cultivated throughout Umbria and is known by various regional names.

Sagrantino is derived from Sagrestia and Sagra. While some Sangiovese and Barbera grapes are grown in Umbria, Sagrantino is the most well-known red wine grape in the region and produces the country’s most tannic wine. The wine, produced in the Montefalco region, features blackberries, violets, aromatic herbs, pine, and firm tannins. Sagrantino grapes are also used to make a sweet wine known as Passito, dried in the air. As the name suggests, Sagrantino was made and eaten at sacred church occasions and/or dinners.

Marche

The wines produced in this location on the Adriatic coast were highly regarded by the ancient Romans. The fortified Castelli to guard the empire’s northern frontier, located in the northeast. Following the fall of Rome, agriculture in the region saw a significant downturn. Due to Federico II’s birthplace in Jesi, the Castelli of Jesi was established. The Marche has a topography of 30 percent mountainous, 60 percent hilly, and 10 percent coastal, with the mountains accounting for 30 percent.

Verdicchio is so named because of the color of its leaves. It is the most important white wine grape in the Marche area, and it is also the most often planted. Verdicchio is widely regarded as one of Italy’s most excellent white wine varietals, owing to its ability to age gracefully and convey terroir (location). With 10-15 years in bottle or more, Verdicchio Riservas can develop incredible complexity and improve with time, much like premier cru chardonnay from Burgundy. They also respond well to new oak aging. It is also known as Trebbiano di Soave in some parts of Italy, Trebbiano di Lugana in others, Trebbiano Verde in Lazio, and Verzello in other parts of Italy.

Verdicchio has a wide range of flavors that are difficult to describe.

As well as herbs such as fennel, anise, almond honey, flint, and sea spray, can be used in arrangements. Some of the factors that influence the range of expressions are the soil type, altitude of the vineyard, exposure, yields, harvest period, macerations, reduction, lees aging, and the influence of the oak tree.

Abruzzo

Abruzzo is widely regarded as the greenest region in Italy if not all of Europe. The mountainous terrain accounts for 65 percent of Abruzzo’s geography, with hilly terrain accounting for 34 percent and flatlands accounting for 1 percent. A large portion of Abruzzo is protected by a national park. Even though the area is a prolific producer of 8 percent of Italy’s grapes, it only produces 2 percent of the country’s wine, owing to a large amount of bulk wine production sent to other parts of the world. Chieti is home to many of the largest cooperative wineries in Italy.

Montepulciano is a significant grape variety grown in Abruzzo, and it is grown in every DOP region except for Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. With a high anthocyanin content (dark color), this grape yields full-bodied wines with characteristics of black fruit, dark cherry, plum licorice, and tobacco.

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is distinct from the other Trebbiano grape varieties and is widely regarded as the highest quality of the Trebbiano grape varieties. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is comparable in quality to top-tier white Burgundy from France. Several of the best-known producers, such as Edoardo Valentini, Emido Pepe, and Tiberio, sell their wines at prices comparable to those of top-tier white Burgundy. Tramino d’Abruzzo is considered one of Italy’s most age-worthy white wines. It boasts white flowers, orchard fruit, creamy texture, and minerality to complement its creamy texture and mineral flavor.

Basilicata

In Basilicata, there is just one DOCG, an important one: Aglianico del Vulture Superiore, which is red wine. Aglianico del Vulture is also a protected designation of origin. Winemaker Vulture produces Aglianico that is bursting with solid fruit scents and flavors. Vulture Mountain is so named because the shape of the seven summits resembles the wings of a vulture. Vulture Mountain is a popular hiking destination in the area.

Tufa, one-of-a-kind limestone rocks found only in this wine area, have been cut into “Scesso,” or family wine vaults, which have been utilized as family wine cellars for generations. Paternoster was one of the traditional producers in the territory currently held by Tommasi, and it was one of the most successful.

Matera is a protected area that surrounds the historic town of Matera, which was recently designated as the European Cultural Capital.

Campania

Campania is a historically important location in the world of wine since the province and the island of Ischia served as vital commercial hubs for the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans throughout history. In his book Natural History, Pliny the Elder mentions Falernum’s wine, which he believes to have originated in Campania. Campania’s topography is constantly changing. Campania is most commonly associated with the beautiful Amalfi Coast and the beach resorts in and around Naples. Rather than having a warm temperature like the coast, the area northeast of Naples, toward Avellino and Irpinia, has a considerably cooler climate similar to Piemonte. It is not so rare for snow to fall in the Camapania mountains, located at higher elevations.

The Aglianico grape is the most famous red grape variety in Campania, Italy. The name may be derived from the Spanish words “Aglia” and “llano,” which mean “grapes of the plain.” Aglianico’s parentage is unknown; however, he may be related to Dureza, Teroldego, and Mondeuse, among other people. It may be associated with Syrah through an uncle’s genetic tie. Aglianico is a late-ripening grape that produces small, thick-skinned berries that are pretty tannic.

The volcanic soils and various soils and altitudes provide unique and expressive wines widely regarded as some of the best wines in Italy and the globe and are exported worldwide. Two key Aglianico-producing locations are located in Benevento, which is located toward the Apennine hills about 2.5 hours driving northeast of Naples and is home to the Aglianico grape. Located northwest of Benevento is the town of Taburno, while the village of Taurasi is located southeast of Benevento. The wine-growing regions surrounding Taburno and Taurasi are located near extinct volcanoes and are known for producing Aglianico grapes in large quantities. The Aglianico grown in Tausasi has a more flowery and “fine” aroma than the Aglianico grown elsewhere. A more robust acidity is found in Aglianico from Taburno, which is often more “amaro” or bitter.

Puglia

Puglia is a region on the Italian peninsula known as the “heel of the boot.” It is a prosperous and fertile territory, and it is the sunniest and warmest region in Italy, second only to Sicily in terms of temperature. Puglia has the second biggest vineyard acreage in Italy and is the most prolific wine producer. With its 800 kilometers of coastline and vast plains, Puglia is known as the “breadbasket” of Italy and Europe.

Along with other southern Italian regions, the area has been the target of countless invaders, settlers, and colonists over the years, and the site is no exception. Many areas near Lecce were colonized by the Spanish Aragonese between 1500 and 1700. Between 1240 and 1250, Federico II constructed the Castel del Monte, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Malvasia Nera di Lecce is a grape variety grown in the genetically identical area to Tempranillo.

Uva di Troia is an indigenous, local grape variety grown in the Alta Murgia region of Puglia, in the country’s northern section. This grape has a high concentration of terpenes and norisoprenoids, which impart exotic, spicy, coriander, and tobacco notes to the wine. Typical scents of the Uva di Troia wines include red cherry and black pepper, and the wine has a medium body, medium acidity, and good color.

Primitivo is the most extensively exported wine from Puglia, produced in small quantities. Primitivo has been mistakenly recognized as identical to the American Zinfandel grape, while its ancestor is believed to have originated in Croatia and possibly Montenegro instead (Kratosija grape). Primitivo ripens unevenly, develops a deep color, contains a high concentration of sugar and alcohol, and smells red and black fruit, tobacco, and forest floor.

Negro Amaro is a grape whose name literally translates as “black bitter.” According to research, the ancient name stems from its Latin and Greek ancestors’ “nigra mavro,” which literally translates as “black.” The grape is believed to be unrelated to most Greek types, based on molecular studies. The scents of dried flowers, tobacco, and dark fruits, as well as a chemical note, can be found in Negroamaro wine.

Sicily

Sicily is home to the most vineyards per square kilometer of land in all of Italy. Despite this, only 2% of the wine produced is of DOC quality, and only 5% of the total volume of wine produced is bottled. A large portion of the wine produced is sold in bulk or used to make table grapes or distillate. The earliest archeological evidence of winemaking dates back to approximately 12,000 years ago in Sicily. Sicily had three Phoenician colonies and twelve Greek colonies by 750 B.C. Then the Romans came and conquered the land. Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Angwin’s, Germans, Spaniards, and Austrians were among those that invaded Sicily in the following centuries.

Lipari, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, and Panarea are the islands that make up the Aeolian archipelago. These islands are well-known for producing sweet Malvasia and unique white wines that have a saline component to their flavor. The island of Pantelleria, closer to Tunisia than Sicily, is known for its exquisite air-dried passito wines exported worldwide.

Since World War II, most of Sicily’s wine production has been dominated by cooperative winemaking facilities and large-scale bulk wine manufacturers. In the 1980s, private investment and the renaissance of quality winemaking, particularly for indigenous varietals, began to take hold in the region.

Sicily’s vines are composed primarily of indigenous grape types, accounting for 68 percent of the country’s vineyards.

Catarratto is the fourth most often planted white cultivar in Italy, but its popularity is waning. At one point in the 1980s, Catarratto comprised 75 percent of the total crops in Sicily; today, it accounts for approximately 30 percent.

Grillo is a cross between Catarratto and Zibibbo; however, it lacks the aromatic qualities of Zibibbo due to its parentage. Grillo plantings have more than tripled in the previous ten to twenty years, as it is the foundation of the Marsala wine industry. Grillo is an excellent choice for the climate in Sicily because it can survive the dry, hot heat, wind, and salt air that characterizes the region.

The Sicilian wine Nero d’Avola has become one of the most famous exports from the island. The grape is high in anthocyanins, has a high malvin concentration (which gives it a deep purple color), has mild phenolics, and contains sweet tannins, all of which contribute to its flavor. The Nero d’Avola grape can withstand a hot, dry climate and soils rich in sodium content. The wine has a high concentration of sugar, acid, and alcohol and a low pH. Nero d’Avola is also referred to as Calabrese in some circles. In the scents of the wine, there are notes of laurel, and Mediterranean bushes can be found.

Mt. Etna, in eastern Sicily, rises to 3300 meters above sea level and is surrounded by black volcanic soils that support a thriving wine area. The mountain’s elevation generates a wide range of microclimates that are radically different from one another. When the DOC of Etna was established in 1968, just three wine producers were there. Benanti was a pharmacist who didn’t own any land, but he used his expertise in chemistry to advance the art of contemporary wine production. In the early 2000s, the region’s first wave of modern pioneer winemakers made their way to the area. Producing legends such as Frank Cornelissen of Passopisciara and Mark de Grazie of Terre Nere were instrumental in establishing the trend. According to the Wine Institute, there are more than 130 wine producers in the region who make more than four million bottles of wine per year. 70% of the wines are red, and the majority of the producers have less than ten hectares of land. The average annual temperature of Mount Etna is the coolest in all of Sicily. Etna’s eastern flank, near Milo, is home to one of the rainiest regions in all of Italy, where Carricante grapes are grown in abundance.

The Nerello Mascalese grape is the primary red grape planted on Mount Etna, and its characteristics vary greatly depending on the height, kind of soil, and vine training technique under which it is grown. It is frequently light in color and body, similar to Pinot Noir, and has a distinct smokey, herbal taste.

Sicily is an area in Italy with an authentic dessert culture, and it is found only in Sicily. A large part of this influence can be attributed to Arab raids from North Africa and the impact of the Byzantines who came from Turkey. World-famous Italian desserts such as cassata, cannoli, and gelato are well-known worldwide. It is no surprise that Sicily is known worldwide for its unequaled sweet wines. Marsala and other sweet wines are particularly popular in the region.

It is certainly possible to track the origins of Marsala wine to the western region of Sicily, near Trapani, and therefore to the Spanish influence on the island. John Woodhouse arrived in Marsala in 1773, bringing with him a climate and manner of sherry production that was comparable to that of Jerez. His goal was to develop a Madeira that was more accessible and less expensive than Jerez.

Following the expansion of production by V. Florio in 1883, western Sicily was shipping its wines around Europe by 1898, supplying wines to wine regions that had been ravaged by phylloxera. Marsala was produced by 50 different companies in 1921. In 1970, there were 100 enterprises in the country. Marsala is currently produced by only 15 significant companies, which account for the vast majority of the market.

Marsala has minimum alcohol by volume (ABV) of 17.5 percent for Fine and 18 percent for others.

Secco is defined as having less than 40 grams of residual sugar per liter of liquid, Semi-Secco is defined as having 41-100 grams of residual sugar per liter of fluid, and Dolce is defined as having more than 110 grams of residual sugar per liter of liquid. Marsala Oro and Ambra are made from a blend of grapes including Insolia, Catarratto, Grillo, and Damaschino. Marsala Rubino is created with a minimum of 70% Nerello Mascalese, with a small amount of Nerello d’Avola and Perricone added for flavor. The Fine variants have a one-year shelf life. Over two years, the Superiore Marsala matures. Marsala Superiore Riserva is aged for a least four years, and Marsala Vergine is aged for a minimum of five years. A tiny proportion of Marsala Vergine Stravecchio and Riserva has been matured for ten or more years before being made available. Some wine experts say that the Vergine and Marsala Solera styles of Marsala are the only authentic quality wines that truly reflect the wonderful tradition of the region.

The Marco de Bartoli Vecchio Samperi is a wine to look out for, made entirely of Grillo grapes and has matured for twenty years with a relatively low residual sugar level, 12.5 grams per liter.

Passito di Pantelleria is another sweet wine of remarkable quality that comes from the island of Pantelleria. This tiny island experiences high temperatures, high humidity, and strong winds. It is so windy that it has >320 days per year with gusts above 20 kilometers per hour. To do this, the grapevines are securely planted to the ground as miniature trees known as Alberello Pantesco, which are flanked by little wells. These bush vines are comparable to those seen on the Greek island of Santorini and on the Spanish Canary Islands. Gravel and sand comprise the soils. The grapes for Passito are gathered in three stages, each of which contributes to the final product. Uva Passa Malaga is the first stage of the journey. Known as serre, these high-acid grapes are dried in the sun or in stenditoio (hoop huts with windows) to preserve their high acidity. The second harvesting stage consists of picking fresh grapes that have been selected as far away from the vine’s trunk as possible, as these have the full acid content. The final step is the harvesting of Uva Passolata. After being rehydrated with water or wine, the grapes will be added to the fermentation tank to raise the alcohol content and provide the tastes of dried and baked fruits to the finished wine. To be bottled with a minimum of 110 grams/liter residual sugar, Passito di Pantelleria must be aged six to eight months.

Sicily’s cuisine reflects the diverse cultural influences that have influenced it. Caponata is a good illustration of this. Using sweet raisins, spicy chiles, fresh vegetables, and spices from the region and capers, lemons, and tomatoes, this eggplant recipe creates a delectable agro-dolce combination of aromatic herbs.

Sardegna (sometimes spelled Sardinia) is a region in Italy.

Sardinia is named after the Greek word “ichnus,” meaning “footprint.” After being influenced by the Moors, the crown of Aragon in 1324, and the House of Savoy in 1718, Sardegna became an independent state. From 1900 to 730 BC, a mysterious culture inhabited the island and constructed more than 800 Nuraghe structures (stone fortified dwellings). Cannonau is genetically identical to the Spanish grape Grenache, and additional Spanish influences can still be found in the grape today.

The characteristics of Cannonau include being heat and drought tolerant, being extremely productive, having low anthocyanins, having soft tannin and acid, and having a high alcohol content. It is easily oxidized and typically takes on a browning appearance, especially as it ages.

Vermentino di Gallura is the most important white grape and the only DOCG in Sardinia.

Calabria

Oenotria was the original name of the territory where Calabria now stands, and it was named after the Greek monarch Oenotro approximately 1500 B.C. Calabria was the most prosperous region in Italy for more than a thousand years. Ironically, it is today the second poorest region in Italy, behind the region of Basilicata. Librandi is a pioneer producer who has contributed to reestablishing high-quality winemaking in the area. Calabria does not produce any wines that are designated as DOCG. Greco Bianco (which is identical to Malvasia di Lipari) and Galioppo are the two most important grape varieties planted in Calabria ( a child of Sangiovese and Mantonico). Galioppo shares a genetic profile with Nerello Mascalese, Frappato, and Susumaniello, and they are all related.

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