With such sparkling variety; literally hundreds of wines are produced in Italy each year, it can be a little unnerving to interpret and translate all the Italian wine terms, names, wine labels, and differentiating between grape varietals. We’ll try to help you a little here, and break it down into an understandable form. There are four major categories of Italian wines:
Vino Da Tavola (VdT) is the lowest standard used for wines that are produced as seen fit by the producer. The producer has very few standards to adhere by. It is mostly sold in jugs and more frequently in boxes or tetra packs. However, some truly dazzling wines have been classified under Vino da Tavola, that didn’t qualify for the higher classifications simply due to their composition or how they were made.
Vino a Indicazione Geografica (IGT) constitutes wines produced in a specific area.
Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) are produced in specific regions and according to specific rules that are contrived in order to preserve the traditional wine-making practices of the individual regions. Since the DOC was established, the quality of Italian wines has improved as wines have to meet certain standards to qualify as DOC.
Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), resembles DOC but has to meet more stringent standards.
Once you’ve mastered the classification labels, we can look at the types of Italian wines. There are generally two basic categories, that is, Table Wines and Higher End wines. Table wines are usually less expensive reds and whites that are consumed with dinner, usually by families at the dinner table. They are sold in jugs and are often fruity, with a touch of sweetness and are light to medium bodied.
One of the most popular wines and more reasonably priced is the Chianti from Tuscany. Chianti is a Sangiovese based red wine and is easily the best known wine of Italy. A light and fun party wine is the Moscato d'Asti from the Piedmont region.
Higher end Italian wines are of different qualities ranging from good to superior. Super-Tuscans, consisting largely of Sangiovese and blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah can be a little high, price wise. Barolo and Barbaresco wines, are mainly kept for celebrations and special occasions. Amarone wines are considered one of Italy's big, bold red wines with fruit-forward flavors and higher alcohol content. Pinot Grigio is one of the better quality white wines.
Whether you’re celebrating or just looking to have a good Chianti with dinner, the world of wine is not complete without the Italian wines. Wines are a mainstay of the Italian culture and any meal is incomplete without wine. With varying prices, wines are consumed by rich and poor, in restaurants and homes. You can be sure to find a bottle to suit any dish and any finances.
There is no other country quite like Italy when it comes to its wine culture. Italy is the home of some of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions and in recent years has gained on France to become the world’s largest wine producer. Not only is Italian wine a huge export for Italy, it is also widely popular in Italy itself. In the world of Italian wine and its wide viticultural variations, exploring wine shelves and going through wine lists to find the perfect wine to complement your meal can be great fun, provided you have a little bit of wine know-how.
There is no other country on earth with a wine culture like that of Italy. There are over 2000 indigenous varieties of grapes spread throughout this beautiful country. Each of Italy's 20 regions is redolent of a unique viticultural industry, from the cool climates in the northeast such as Alto Adige and Friuli to the warm, sunny climes of the south such as Campania, Puglia and Sicily.
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