italiano espaniol
english francias japanese
Piccola Universita Italiana Tropea Piccola Universita Italiana Venetia
designcuisineliteratureoperaitalian test

Italian Wine

Wine as a product is almost as old as civilisation and has always been a part of Italy’s farming production: indeed vine farming dates right back to Egyptian times. But how did wine come into being?

In prehistoric times it seems that vines grew wild in forests and very early on, primitive Man was enjoying fruit produced by the plant until one day by chance, someone left some grape juice in a container and noticed that it had undergone a strange transformation: if one drank this beverage it produced a pleasant effect. But apart from the pleasures of wine, it was also important for religion and ritual: the Dionysian rituals of Greece and Bacchan rites held in Ancient Rome are highly renowned. Here of course, wine was only permitted for men: women could not come anywhere near this sacrificial liquid: for them it was impure.

In Medieval times Benedictine monks practised grape farming in their monasteries, experimenting with new techniques. But above all, humble peasants hoed the land and planted the vines and today’s traditions of vineyards and winemaking owe much to their tireless association with the earth and the grapevine.

Italy today produces great quantities of wine; fine and often excellent whites and reds spring like mushrooms up and down the country. Entire regions aggressively compete on the quality wine market. A revival of ancient grapevine species is now under way, and of traditional grape picking by hand, combined with the use of modern enological techniques and new winemaking practices. A law of 1963 enabled the Controlled Denomination of Origin (D.O.C.) mark to be applied to wines with distinctive characteristics and of superior quality for their grape species and area of production.

By a law of 1992 wines were classified in a pyramidal scale: at the bottom are the table wines with no indication of provenence, year or wine species; further up wines with Typical Geographic Specifications (IGT) and at the top, the DOC and DOCG wines (Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin). So look at the label before you buy! And watch out: a good Italian DOC wine should cost about € 8! And if there’s truth in the saying “Good wine makes for good blood”, confirmation lies in figures that indicate an average yearly consumption of 70 litres per person. Cheers!

Wine in Calabria

For centuries olive trees, citrus fruits and grapevines have been mainstay resources for Calabria, a generous, fertile land where vines belong to ancient history. It was the Greeks who brought the precious vines to the area and the species still grow today, as part of a quest towards technological innovation, higher quality standards being the key objective. In Magna Grecia, the term “Enotria” was used for the lands of Calabria and Lucania overlooking the Ionian Sea, meaning in Greek “the land of wine”. Nowadays, businesses are trying to reduce yield and use modern winemaking techniques, and this has led to a rise in the percentage of DOC wines.

So, thanks to scientific research and the passion of individual winemakers, the Calabrian wine heritage has become a formidable strength that is increasingly attracting consumer interest. Particular attention must be paid to the extraordinary originality of certain vine species from this very region, like the Gaglioppo, an extremely ancient vine that is very common in Calabria, with interesting typical aromatic characteristics.

Other common vines from this district are the Tuscan Trebbiano, the Greek, the Pecorello, the Malvasia, the Mantonico, the Mescalese Nerello, the Cappuccio Nerello, the Guarnaccia, the Canine Magliocco and the Sangiovese. Red wines have are dry-tasting and full-bodied, suitable for accompanying the classic country fare of Calabrian cooking and stewed meats. White wines have a delicate taste and are ideal for fish dishes and with fresh cheeses. Rosés are fragrant and go well with pulses and white meats. Today winemaking is carried out takes almost naturally: grape harvesting takes place ahead of time and must temperatures are controlled: as a result of progress, wines are interesting and fully satisfying, and take their place alongside Southern Italy’s many world famous products.

Wine in the Veneto

According to recent figures, the Veneto produces the largest quantities of wine in the whole of Italy. A host of whites and reds testify to how grape farming in this area has long been serving the production of massive quantities of grapes in very high yields. As in other regions, in recent years, production policies have focussed on reducing yield and raising quality standards with the result that a number of Venetian wines have become famous the world over.

Traditional grapes are the Corvina from Verona, the Rondinella, the Molinara and the Raboso. One very common variety is the Garganega as are the Trebbiano of Soave, a local species, and the Trebbiano of Tuscany. Other vines include the Tocai, the Cortese, the Tuscan Malvasia and the Verduzzo (both local from Treviso and another form Friuli); percentages of other varieties are used for difference. As well, imported grapevines are grown, such as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet (Franc and Sauvignon), Pinot and Riesling. Merlot is very common in the Bordolese area and was the first French grapevine to be planted on a large scale in Italy. Numerous wine producers undertook to make use of its great potential, making the wine naturally or alongside its longstanding partner, the Cabernet. Carducci, a great connoisseur of wine from Verona, praised the wines from this district for the “fervid stimuli to the heart” and “new images for the imagination” that they gave him.

But apart from Verona, Padua also is a highly renowned wine area: the Colli Euganei district is a particularly beautiful place with rolling hills and luxurious villas where it isn’t hard to imagine the quality potential of the land. Besides a group of single species wines and some rare matured wines, also from the Veneto comes a wonderful sparkling wine that has conquered a significant slice of the sparkling wine market in Italy. This wine’s success depends mainly on it pleasant characteristics: with its light aromatic fragrance, with occasionally a hint of almonds, its taste is never completely dry, making it perfect as an apéritif or as a sparkling wine with a meal. The Prosecco grape comes from the Venezia Giulia area but is very common in the Veneto too, especially in the hills of the Province of Treviso where the vine is very vigorous and productive. Prosecco can be a still wine but its most acclaimed versions are fizzy, bubbly wines with exotically embracing notes. Red Venetian wines are velvety and harmonious and very good with flavourful dishes such as the traditional “pastissada de caval”. White wines are full-bodied and remarkably fruity, excellent with lean hors d’ oevres, freshwater fish and risottos.


  wine cellars  




sponsored by

© 2005 · italiano · deutsch · espaniol · english · francais · nihon-go