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. Vermentino di Gallura is a white wine of note produced in Sardina.
- Sicily has a large area dedicated to vineyards, over 329,000 acres. Sicily is noted for the fortified wine Marsala.
Other Southern Italian wines to consider include Fiano di Avellino, a dry white wine, and the dessert wine Aleatico di Puglia.