I suspect that culture has something to do with the character of wine produced in a specific region. So in my opinion, the Italian perspective, combined with the resources endemic to the country such as the existence of at least 2,000 native grape varieties and the blessed beautiful Mediterranean climate, led to the production of several unique and superior Italian wines that could rival what France has to offer. If you would like to know what I mean, I suggest you try some remarkable Italian wines that are famed for their uniqueness and Italian identity. You might want to check wiine.me for some incredible selections or try to learn about it in the wider wine context through this link. But, here is a list of some of these in the first of our two-part series on interesting Italian wines:
Okay, so this bottle would particularly arrest your attention when perusing a wine list for its incredibly expensive price tag. This detail has a rather more complex story than the usual marketing pitch of “being top of the line red wine” ad nauseum. Amarone – in the intricate Italian winemaking system – is a product of the Valpolicella wine region. It produces five wines: classico, superior, superiore, ripasso, amarone and recioto. Classico is generally known as Valpolicella Wine and its production is generally straightforward, with grapes being crushed and fermented with relatively no oak aging. Amarone undergoes a more tedious process. Vintners save their most mature vines for this wine. In addition, only the choicest grapes are used or, to be specific, those grapes that are only harvested in October. These are left to dry as raisins throughout the unforgiving Italian winter. After about 120 days, the raisins undergo fermentation and aging. What all these means is that there are more grapes used for every bottle of Amarone in comparison to the Valpolicella or perhaps most wines in the market. You also have to factor in the amount of effort involved in the process with the slow fermentation and . The result is an excellently bold red wine, with complex fruit flavors but expensive, above all.
Barolo and Barbaresco
These wines in Italy are usually reserved for Sunday dinners and in many Italian celebrations. They can also be quite expensive with price ranging from $35-$100. They are usually associated together because both are made from the same Nebbiolo grape, a variety that is particularly difficult to cultivate. However, they have distinct characteristics. Barolo has richer and more complex flavor whereas Barbaresco is lighter and more elegant. Either of these bottles can rank as one of the finest in all the world when thoroughly well-made.
Chianti is perhaps the most famous Italian wine around the world, the usual accompaniment in spaghetti posters if you must know. It is an excellent bottle that traditionally came inside a fiasco (This is a straw basket and not the other fiasco you might be wondering about). The wine is made from a combination of Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes and is mainly produced in the Tuscan wine region. Chiantis are sold either as low-end or high-end wines. If you would like to know what sets a sophisticated bottle apart, here is an analogy: it is less harsh than a Cabernet Sauvignon and performs better in terms of elegance than a Zinfandel or a Syrah. For this reasons, it is much-preferred wine pair for steaks, grilled meat and, of course, pasta.
In the next installment of this post, I will try to explain the boldness of Super Tuscan, the appeal of Montepulciano and Pinot Grigio and why people are star-struck by the Tuscan Brunello. So stay tuned.