For 4,000 years, Southern Italy has been producing wine. While the business was booming in the Greek and Roman era, modern-day production has declined; much of the wine produced in the Southern region is exported to other European countries as blending wine. Overall, the Southern Italian wine region does not produce as much wine in quantity or quality as the other regions. Still, production and quality has become a new priority. More and more Southern Italian wine regions are making good quality wines that are affordable and even available in the U.S. Red wine dominates wine production in the Southern wine-making regions and a variety of grape types are used. Southern Italian Wine Regions Below is a list of the five areas included within the Southern Italian wine region. Apulia Wine production accounts for the majority of Apulia”s economy. As such, the wines of Apulia are quite refined. Interestingly, Apulia”s Primitivo di Manduria wine is made from grapes almost exactly the same as California”s award-winning Zinfandel. One affordable wine that is also high in quality is Salice Salentiion, a powerful red wine. Basilicata The Basilicata red wine, Aglianico del Volture, ranks among the best Italian red wines across all the regions. Aglianico del Volture is so named because the Aglianico grape vines grow around Mount Volture. There are no native grape plants in this region. Instead, the grape plants were brought over by the Greeks, pre-Roman times. Campania Traditional Campania wines are consumed and enjoyed quickly, so the refinement that comes with aging wine is not as common as cheaper versions. However, distinctive wines, such as the red Taurasi, are gaining respect. By law, Taurasi must be aged at least three years; however, it is best after being aged 15 to 20 years. The best-known red is probably Lacrimi Cristi (“Tears of Christ”), which is also produced in an Italian sparkling wine version. Two other top Campania wines are Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Both are Italian white wines, and are ready to drink after four to six years. Calabria Similar to Basilicata, Calabria”s grape plants and wine techniques were also introduced by the Greeks. Calabria is home to Ciro, which is believed to be the oldest wine produced in the world. Other notable varieties include Melissa (white and red) and the Greco di Bianco, an amber-colored Italian dessert wine. Molise Molise is probably the region that produces the least wine. Agriculture is the main economic activity with the vine contributing only a small influence on the market. Originally, Molise was an appendix of Abruzzi (part of the central Italian region) but in 1963 Molise gained administrative independence. Molise wine is grouped with the Southern style of Italian wine because it is produced using Southern Italian red wine grape varieties including Barbera, Bombino Rosso and Aglianico.
Italy was made for grapes, or perhaps, grapes were made for Italy. Wine has been made in Italy for thousands of years, making this country one of the oldest producers of wine in the world. Today, wine from Italy is enjoyed by connoisseurs around the world. Wine is made in Italy in all three regions of the country: northern Italy, southern Italy and central Italy. Italian Wine Regions: Northern Italian Wine Wine regions in northern Italy include the following: Friuli-Venezia-Guilia has more than 46,000 acres dedicated to growing grapes. Friuli-Venezia Guilia is known for such wines as Ramandolo and Friuli-Giulia. Liguria includes more than 118,000 acres of vineyards. More than half of the wines produced in this region are white wines. Lombardy has more than 60,000 acres dedicated to growing grapes. This region produces predominately red wines. Wines include Franciacorta, a white sparkling wine, and Botticino, a red wine. Trentino-Alto Adife has over 31,000 acres of vineyards, with the majority of the wines produced being red. Red wines include Alto Adige Colli di Bolzano and Alto Adige Santa Maddalena. Valle d-Aosta, or Aosta Valley, has over 82,000 acres of vineyards that predominantly produce red wines. Veneto has more than 186,000 acres dedicated to vineyards. Veneto produces Soaves. Also included in northern Italy is the Piedmont region, with over 142,000 acres of vineyards. Piedmont is well-known for inventing the famous red Italian wine, Barolo. Barolo, which is made from the Nebbiolo grape, is meant to be aged for up to 15 years. Another noted red wine from the Piedmont area, also made from the Nebbiolo grape, is Barbaresco. Barbarescos should be aged at least two years before drinking. Piedmont is also known for its sparkling wines made from the Muscat grape. Unfortunately, many of these Asti wines do not make the grade as far as taste and quality. Wine Regions of Italy: Central Italian Wine Wine regions of central Italy include the following: Emilia-Romagna has over 143,000 acres dedicated to growing grapes. Emilia-Romagna is noted for the production of the white wine Albana di Romagna. Latiumhas more than 118,000 acres of vineyards. Latium produces fine wines, including Bianco Capena, a white wine, and the red Aprilia. Latium is also home to Frascati, a much criticized wine. Umbriagrows grapes on over 40,000 acres. Noted wines include the red Lago di Corbara and the white Colli del Trasimeno. World-famous Tuscany is located in central Italy and is home to Chianti, made predominantly from Sangiovese grapes. Look for Chiantis that are designated Riserva, as these Chiantis have been aged longer than other Chiantis. Legend has it that grapes were growing in Tuscany before mankind inhabited the area. Tuscany has over 157,000 acres of vineyards. Italian Wine Regions: Southern Italian Wine Wines from Southern Italy are produced in the following areas: Campania has over 101,000 acres dedicated to vineyards. Campania is known for Taurasi, a red wine, and two white wines, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Sardina has over 107,000 acres of vineyards. […]
Wine regions around the world produce an astounding array of unique tastes and flavors. Experts and those just beginning the path to understanding wines will benefit from developing an appreciation of location. While it”s also important to cater to individual tastes and budgets, making a selection based on country and regional origins can provide helpful direction. In fact, developing an eye for reading labels is, for many, a preferred method of selecting wines. The Importance of Understanding Wine Regions Many factors can influence wine selection. A wine must fit the food served, whether it”s an appetizer, a meal or a dessert dish. Individual preferences also factor in, along with the wine buyer”s desired price range. For many, though, the background of the wine is just as important as any of these other elements. Regional variances can tell the real tale of taste, when dealing with quality wine. “Terroir” is the French term that encompasses the entire growing environment, from the soil to the temperature. The word is not limited to describing French wine growing regions, however. Wine connoisseurs may use it to describe any wine growing environment, from Italian wine regions to the wine growing regions of Sonoma in California. For the French, it”s also a protective word, because French wine growers are responsible for initiating laws guarding the origin and name of particular wines. For instance, a sparking wine is only a champagne when it originates from the Champagne region. However, no laws currently exist in the U.S. that limit the use of the name. As connoisseurs will adamantly state, no sparkling wine tastes exactly like champagne should unless it is the original. Old World and New World Regions When shopping by region, the choice between Old World versus New World wines takes center stage. In fact, selecting by region is an Old World tradition. European countries, including Spain and France, produce wines based on growing conditions, but also on technique. Famous regions in France include: Bordeaux Burgundy Champagne Loire Valley Pyrenees. The many regions of Spain include: La Mancha Navarra Priorato Rioja. Outside of Europe, New World regions produce wine more often by grape variety than by location. Notables include the United States and others outside of Europe, such as: Argentina Australia Canada Chile New Zealand South Africa. Regardless of whether you choose Old World or New, quality can vary significantly. The well known vineyards are typically more consistent, but off years can produce some less palatable tastes. An appreciation of the region, the maker and the year”s crop production must all combine when making a selection. Specialties in Wine Regions Understanding the type of grape production in which each region excels often provides insight into taste. That still leaves room for experimentation and you can always ask the local wine expert for new recommendations. Here are a few tips on regional specialties: Australia: Many great reds come out of Australia, due to the dry, hot climate in some growing regions. If you”re interested in particular wines from […]