The Wine Guy Eddie Mcdougall – Traditional wine country: Italy


The juicy bits
Do Italians love to drink wine? Is the Pope Catholic? The answer to both is clearly, yes. It must be something in their blood, because Italians have enjoyed wine since the Romans and ancient Greeks. So it’s no surprise Italians are the third largest consumers of wine in the world. With more than 300 indigenous varietals buried in its soil, the boot-shaped country is packed with over a million vineyards. With such a vast number of plantings across the land, the regulators of the industry have developed a complex classification system designed to protect the quality of the country’s viticultural produce.
Main red grapes: Sangiovese, nebbiolo, montepulciano, corvina, rondella, primitivo, nero d’Avola, barbera, dolcetto. 
Main white grapes: Arneis, vermentino, pinot grigio, chardonnay, trebbiano, glera, moscato. 

Wine regions of the country
Veneto The main wine behind the reputation of Veneto is prosecco, though it’s also famous for the style of its red wines from Valpolicella, such as ripasso. Other Veneto stars are the soave-style white wines made from garganega, trebbiano and chardonnay.
Piedmont Great wines from Italy’s northwest include barolo and barbaresco, made from the nebbiolo grape variety. One of the main grapes of the region, arneis is well known for its refreshing, crisp style. Another famous child, moscato, is recognised for its floral aromas, sweetness and spritziness. 
Lombardy is most famous for its sparkling wines produced in the méthode classique style – wine speak for it’s made and tastes like Champagne. This sparkling wine is better known as franciacorta and has a reputation for being high-end and extremely delicious. 
Tuscany rose to fame on the back of its excellent red wines, such as brunello di Montalcino, rosso di Montalcino and, of course, chianti. All three wines are primarily made from the sangiovese grape. These wines, often referred to as ‘Super Tuscans’, are highly coveted and have a cult following. Most winemakers are located in the Bolgheri sub-region and are responsible for some of the country’s most expensive drops.

There’s more to Italy than just these four key regions – there are others located in the south of the country or off the mainland entirely. They include Umbria, Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche, Puglia, Sicily and Elba. Each of these wine regions produces their own native grape varietals and styles of wines well worth exploring.

Chiara Boschis, Cannubi Barolo, Piedmont
Pair with Piedmontese veal tongue stew. $660. Available at Heritage Wines Online, 6085 5160;

Biondi Santi, Tenuta il Greppo, brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany
Pair with lamb ragout pasta. $750. Available at ASC Fine Wines, 18/F, Leighton Ctr, 77 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay, 3923 6700;

Follow Eddie on Twitter @eddiewinemaker


Add your comment