Oct 27, 2017

Italy - Wine In The WineGrowing Country

History

When in the 8th century BC the Greeks came to Italy, wine was already a huge part of the local culture. Italian winemaking goes back as far as 4,000 years, earning it the name Oenotria (the land of wine) from the Greeks.

Under the Etruscans and then the Romans, Italy’s wine culture only grew. The Roman rule is said to be a time of a flourishing wine-drinking lifestyle in Italy. Bacchus, the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility was celebrated in such a boisterous manner during the festivals, or Bacchanalia, that the Roman Senate eventually had to ban these festivities entirely.

In addition, Catholicism spread in Italy – and with it, wine took on a sacred aspect as a part of the sacrament. After the Roman Empire ended in around 476 AD, the priests were largely responsible for carrying forward the wine-making practices of Italy.

Throughout the medieval ages, Italians made advancements in their wine-making and wine-drinking techniques. They discovered that there were other colours of wine beyond the traditional red and white! They realized that taste, smell and colour of the wine could be altered by tweaking the fermenting process and duration. A dizzying variety of wines were produced and consumed.

The quality of wine received a major blow during the nineteenth century when Italy, along with many other northern European countries, faced an epidemic in the form of phylloxera, a vine louse. Losses taking place due to the disease necessitated the replantation of many vineyards. This resulted in a lower quality grape, in order to meet the high quantity demands.

The worldwide standard and reputation of Italian wines dropped due to using lower quality grapes, to the extent that Italy, once a major wine-producing nation and famed for their fine wines only second to France, was reduced to a simple producer of cheap table wines.

All this changed in the latter part of the twentieth century, when strict laws were laid out to control the production and quality of Italian wines, turning the reputation of Italian wines around once again.

Grape Varieties

 

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An array of ideal microclimates, geologicall y diverse soils and rich biodiversity makes Italy the land of wine. Italy is the nation boasting of the largest number of wine-producing grape varieties. In 2006, Anna Schneider, a respected ampelologist from Italy, estimated that there were around two thousand native cultivated grape varieties (or cultivars) in Italy.

But keeping a count of the varieties of Italian wines is not an easy task – the number greatly depends on who is counting! One factor that makes this estimation hard is that many of the native grape varieties are found in far flung, hard to access locations. Some haven’t even been identified.

Some of the most well-known wine-producing varieties of grapes calling Italy their home, grouped by region in which they are found, are as follows:

1.    Marche

The two most well-known varieties of grapes produced in the Marche region are  Verdicchio and Sangiovese. Verdicchio is used to produce some of Italy’s best white wines while Sangiovese is used for the blends like Rosso Piceno and Rosso Conero. Some of the other white grape varieties from the region gaining popularity are Pecorino and Passerina, making Marche an important wine growing region.

2.    Tuscany

Tuscany is officially home to 127 grape varieties, but the jewel in the crown for Tuscany has to be Sangiovese, followed by Aleatico. Some of the best-known and highest-quality Sangiovese wines are made in Tuscany. Well-loved white grape varieties produced in Tuscany include Ansonica and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

3.    Piedmont

Some of the world’s most famous wines come from Piedmont ranging from Barbaresco, Barolo and Moscato d’ Asti. Piedmont offers a variety of red grapes; from Nebbiolo, Arneis, Barbera, to the thick and dark Dolcetto and the white grape varieties of Cortese. Some of the lesser known yet good varieties of grapes offered by Piedmont are Pelaverga Piccolo, Pelaverga Grosso, Brachetto, etc.

 

Wine Blends

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Italy offers a range of wine blends, loved and enjoyed throughout the world.

1.    Sangiovese

This loved and highly planted grape variety of grape in Italy produces some of the best Italian wine blends like Chianti, Riserva Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, wines that range from being flavourful, acidic, leathery to highly fruity.

2.    Barbera

The two most loved wine blends produced by using this grape variety are Barbera d’ Asti and Barbera del Monferrato Superiore. These wines are high in acidic content and carry the flavours of cherry and oak in perfect harmony. Barbera d’ Alba, another well-known blend, comes in a deep purple shade with hints of chocolate and blackberries.

3.    Nebbiolo

The two most loved varieties of wines produced using these grapes are Barbaresco and Barolo which smell of roses and tar at the same time. The main difference between both these blends comes with the soil in which they are cultivated. While Barbaresco is rich in nutrients, Barolo is much more tannic in flavour.

So, if you are planning on visiting Italy, make sure that you try all the varieties and blends Italy has to offer… and for those who like to enjoy these delicacies in the privacy of their own homes, the good news is that Italian wine is heavily exported and available throughout the world!

Specifics

Mozaic is happy to host an Italian wine tasting event on Tuesday, 2 November 2017 outside on the rooftop terrace of Armani Prive, starting at 19:00 together with Claudia Capelvenere of Valdivia Wines.  Canapes will be served to the guests along with Italian wine tasting.

If you are interested in participating, do contact us via our website or Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/mozaiclub/ or visit our website: www.mozaiclub.com.hk

 

#mozaiclub #Italy #ItalyWine

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