Without doubt one of my favourite countries to visit and not just for the wine. The food, scenery and the people all make Italy an amazing country to spend time in. The huge diversity of wines produced across the length and breadth of Italy is incredible. Sparkling wines such as Prosecco and Asti in the North are famous worldwide. The reds from Tuscany are equally sought after but some of the lesser known regions such as Franciacorta, Marche and Puglia produce wines of exceptional quality, value and interest.
Southern Italy has not suffered from the adverse weather conditions that have badly affected northern areas such as Veneto and Piémonte.
Good news for the northern region of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia is that Prosecco will now be allowed to made as a Rosé version, the base will be Glera and the addition of 10-15% Pinot Nero, aka Pinot Noir will give it the Rosé-ness!
It is estimated they will sell 1.7 million cases in 2021.
Italian Wine regions.
Italy is the largest wine producing country in the world, even after a 10% worldwide reduction in volumes in 2019 it still produces about 5000 hectolitres more than France. Wine is produced in every region of Italy, we are highlighting some of the better known regions here. There are 3 levels of quality classification in Italy, DOCG, Denominazione d’Origine Controllata e Garantita, which is the highest level, of which there are 76. Next is DOC, as above but without Garantita, there are 332 of these. Finally IGP or IGT, either can be used, this allows wine makers more leeway in the way they produce their wines, there are 118 of these. Wine that is made out of these classifications in known simply as vino.
Half way down the Italian peninsula this region is best known for the varieties Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Producing over 34 million cases per annum, 58% of it red, the red wine Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo is widely sold and can be a very good value Italian red, the Conviviale we sell is excellent value.
The third largest wine producing area in Italy, badly affected by adverse weather last year its production dropped by 22.5% to 60 million cases!
Famous years ago for sales of the popular Lambrusco this is now having a revival.
Bordering Slovenia on the east and Austria to the north the region lies in the north east of the country and produces mainly white wines, about 77% of total. The primary grape varieties are Pinot Grigio, Friulano and Merlot. Prosecco is also an important wine in this region and soon Rosé Prosecco will be added to their portfolio.
This area around Lake Como and Iseo is known for its top quality sparkling wine called Franciacorta, made in the same way as Champagne with the same grape varieties, it is winning many fans for its quality to price ratio.
Situated on the Adriatic coast, known for its white wines, in particular Verdicchio and reds from Montepulciano grape, like Rosso Piceno. We have two Verdicchio wines from here, one a Classico and a Classico Superiore, both lovely white wines!
A region in north west Italy home to some famous wines, Barolo, Barbaresco, Gavi, and Asti. This area has more DOCG’s and DOC’s than any other area, 18 and 41 respectively.
Poor conditions reduced harvest in 2017, only 23 million cases were produced, 54% red and 89% of that at the DOP level. Barbera is the most planted variety followed by Moscato, used in sparkling Asti.
The Barbaresco DOCG is only a small aa, 1428 acres, but produces red Italian wine from Nebbiolo grapes that are sublime if a little pricey! Italy’s greatest native grape that is high in acidity, alcohol and tannins but ages beautifully. Another DOCG that uses Nebbiolo for red wines is Barolo, covering 4762 acres it is over 3 times the size of Barbaresco, we offer 2 wines from Barolo.
Puglia is becoming a well respected area in Italy, it is the “heel of the boot” in the hot south of the country. They are moving away from bulk production to more quality based wines, Primitivo wines are very good from here. Also known as Zinfandel this variety gives high alcohol, plum and strawberry flavours , cherry and herbs, full bodied, 96% of all Primitivo is grown in Puglia.
The largest island in the Mediterranean which is just off the “toe” of Italy. Producing over 50 million cases of wine a year a large proportion of wines were lower quality, recently with the formation of Sicilia DOC there has been a surge in the production of better quality wines.
Our biggest selling Italian wine comes from this region, Baglio Gibellina U Passimiento, a rich blend of 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato.
An area well visited by tourists and renown in the wine world for red wines made from Sangiovese, especially ChiantiClassico and Brunello di Montalcino. Super Tuscans are wines made in this region frequently use Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend as opposed to the traditional Sangiovese. With 11 DOCG’s and 41 DOC’s the majority of wines here are of a high quality. Slightly confusing is this is where Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano DOCG originates, it’s red wines are made from Sangiovese grapes, the grapes Montepulciano play no part in the wine!
This region has the highest percentage of red wines, 85%.
The northernmost wine region in Italy which produces cool climate Italian wine, mainly white from Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio grapes. About 30% of production is red from grapes like Schiava, LagreinTeroldego, and Pinot Nero.
The most productive region in Italy, overtaken by Puglia in 2017 after severe weather conditions affected Veneto but not Puglia, they are expected to take the top slot this year! With 14 DOCG’s and 29 DOC’s this area is famed for reds like AmaroneDella Valpolicella and Valpolicella, white wines like Soave and Prosecco. Even in a bad year they produced over 94 million cases!
Over 75% of production is white thanks to huge volumes of Prosecco made from the widely planted Glera variety.
There are a couple of regions I have not mentioned as we have no wines from them, if we do they will be added.