A simple guide to Italy’s famous wine regions
When we think of Italy we think of the delicious cuisine and wonderful wines. The country is not only one of the oldest wine producers in the world, it also produces the most – an average of 50 million hl of wine a year. All 20 of the regions in Italy produce wine, but there are five major regions in particular that produce the very best. Below we give you a short but sweet guide to the country’s famous wine regions.
One of Italy’s most productive wine regions is north-east Veneto, best known for producing sparkling Prosecco wine. The sparkling white wine called Valdobbiadene, is primarily from Glera grapes. The region’s cooler climate helps to grow other fresh white wines such as Soave and Pinot Grigio. Around the warmer areas, close to the Adriatic and Lake Garda, you’ll find red wines being produced such as Valpolicella, Amarone and Bardolino.
When you see photographs of Italy’s iconic rolling hills and vineyards, they’ll most likely be in Tuscany. This region is home to the country’s best known wine, Chianti – produced by the ancient Sangiovese grapes. The wine is made up of 80% of these ancient grapes, and the Chianti region itself spans a huge area of Tuscany. You can visit multiple towns and villages where the wine is produced. Another of the region’s most loved wines is Vernaccia di San Gimignano, made from the Vernaccia grape, which gives it a crisp and citrusy flavour.
Italy’s northern region Piedmont produces some of the country’s renowned red wines: Barolo and Barbaresco. The region is nestled within the Po River Valley, with the frosty Alps up north but still in close proximity to the Mediterranean climates of the south. Its foggy climate helps to ripen the grapes used in both of these wines. Other popular grapes grown in Piedmont are Barbera and Dolcetto – locals drink these wines on a more daily basis.
Sicily’s warm Mediterranean climate creates the perfect conditions for growing wine, so it’s no surprise it has the largest population of vineyards in the country. Here, you’ll find the sweet Marsala wine – one which is fortified with brandy and often used in cooking. Zibibbo and Malvasia are other famous sweet wines produced on the island, best-known as dessert wines. You’ll also find other, more widely consumed wines here too, such as Nero d’Avola, their own version of Chardonnay, Catarratto Bianco and Primitivo.
Emilia-Romagna is known as the “food capital” of Italy, but is often forgotten for its wine. This historical wine-producing region spans almost entirely across the country from the east to the west coast. Here you’ll find Lambrusco wine, a sparkling red that was first cultivated by the ancient Etruscans. Local people love the wine as it comes in varying degrees of dry and sweet and is an excellent match for the region’s rich meat and creamy dishes.
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