When you think of Italy, you probably think of a number of things, like warm sun, good food and rustic narrow streets. Yet thoughts often also focus on the fine wines that make the country so beloved the world over. Italian wines are exported all over the globe, although it’s no secret to suggest that the very best flavours are kept closer to home. Get up to speed with our quick tips, and you’ll know where to find the best bottles in Italy.
Taking the tour
Good wine is pretty easy to find in Italy. Wherever you’re staying, you’ll find stores and market stands where superb bottles of red, white and rose await your delectation.
Yet to really understand the culture and history of Italian wine, as well as sample the finest flavours, a wine tour comes massively recommended. Visit a vineyard, learned how wines are aged and pressed, and of course get a sample or two, or even a bottle at the end of your trip. We can’t imagine a more succulent souvenir.
Understanding the diversity
We often look at Italian wines as a whole, yet actually there’s a tremendous amount of variety to Italian wines from north to south. In fact, 20 regions of winemaking are recognised by enthusiasts in Italy, each bringing a distinctive twist to the rich fruity flavours we love.
Getting to know those regions isn’t as daunting a task as you might think, however. For instance, if you’re spending time in Tuscany among the architecture of Florence and Siena, the local speciality will be red wine. The two most beloved red wine types, Chianti and Brunello, each call Tuscany home, and are produced from the locally cultivated Sangiovese grape.
If you’re instead spending your holiday by the Venetian Rivieria, the prosecco you’re enjoying likely hails not from the nearby city of Venice and its fabulous waterways, but rather Verona, further inland. Indeed, Verona isn’t just famous for being the setting of Romeo and Juliet, as alongside prosecco, it’s also regarded as the home of wines such as Amarone and Soave.
Looking beyond the mainland
Italy’s wine culture extends beyond the mainland, with its island communities each enjoying a healthy, vibrant and most of all delicious wine tradition. In Sardinia, true to the island’s nature, Italian culture is given a distinctive new twist in folklore as much as wines. The most famous white grape here is the Vermentino, although there’s lots of red splashing about too if that’s more to your taste.
Similarly, Sicily has plenty on offer too. In fact, the island’s output of wine is among the highest in the Mediterranean, with vast quantities of white about the place, but plenty of reds too. The most notable also happens to be among the strongest, known as Duca Enrico.
Of course, our favourites only represent the beginnings of what your wine journeys in Italy could mean for you. If you’ve got an Italian tipple you adore, share it with fellow holiday makers in the comments below.