Italian wine education
The Italian wine world is full of wine-related terminology that many consumers struggle to understand. Learning the meaning of a few key terms can increase your confidence level and help you make informed decisions when selecting your next glass, or bottle, of vino. We have compiled a list of 25 common terms and phrases that we know will help you navigate the delicious world of vino Italiano!
Any wine student or lover of Italian wines can name the country’s most famous red wines, such as Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino or Amarone della Valpolicella. But given the variety of Italian wines and grape types, it stands to reason that there are many more examples produced throughout the country. This article is the first in a series about a few of the lesser known red wines of Italy; we begin with Piemonte. While there are three famous red varieties in Piemonte – Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto – there are several others that produce very expressive wines.
Mention the red wines of Tuscany and immediately examples such as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano come to mind. Produced primarily or exclusively from the Sangiovese grape variety, these celebrated red wines truly define this region’s viticultural excellence. Over the last three decades, the distinctive red wines of Bolgheri, crafted from Bordeaux grape varieties from vineyards along Tuscany’s coast, have also become icons of Tuscan wine. Yet there are other sublime red wines from this region that are notable yet lack the renown of the wines mentioned above. Carmignano, Morellino di Scansano and Montecucco are three other important red wines of Tuscany that reflect a sense of place and represent not only special quality, but impressive value as well.
Thanks to a string of successful vintages, there has been a great deal of recent publicity regarding Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Produced entirely from Nebbiolo, these two iconic wines have changed in style over the past 20-30 years; where once, the wines were reserved upon release, today, the wines are riper and more forward. This is largely due to climate change, as warmer temperatures throughout the growing season have necessitated Nebbiolo harvests some two to three weeks earlier these days than in the 1980s, ‘70s and prior; while late October to early November was normal for a Nebbiolo harvest thirty and forty years ago, today, harvest is more typically in early-mid October.
Summary: Barolo, produced exclusively from Nebbiolo, is one of the world’s most celebrated wines. Here in a production zone in southern Piedmont, a mixture of soils and other conditions combine to make wines that can truly be defined as products of terroir. Join us for an in-depth look at the finest vineyards and producers of Barolo, from the perfumed examples of La Morra and Verduno to
Recently, Barbara Philip MW hosted a virtual food and wine tour webinar for the Wine Scholar Guild. The cuisine of central Italy is as fascinating as it is delicious. This is where tomatoes and olive oil begin to replace the butter and cream of the north. Heavy, stuffed pastas give way to long pastas and are joined by more vegetables. The food of central Italy reflects the agricultural treasures provided by the warmer climate. Local grape varieties also enjoy their time in the sun, ripening to juicy perfection, creating wines that really reflect their surroundings.
One of the most traditional and prestigious products of Emilia is Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (traditional balsamic vinegar). This precious and expensive vinegar is made only in Reggio-Emilia and Modena. The latter is usually considered to craft the most prestigious vinegars of the two. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is made through a very long, laborious and patient process that is food preparation turned into art form.
Summary: Sure, everyone knows Prosecco — or at least thinks they do. But most people are familiar with only the very tip of the iceberg, which also happens to be the simplest, most commercial part of it. In this webinar we’ll take a close look at the unique winegrowing area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, located in the hills north of Venice where
Summary: Once a resident of Sicilia, Ciro Pirone is well acquainted with the incredible Mongebello (Mount Etna) and its fascinating wines. Ciro takes viewers on a journey to discover more about the history and the bright, vinous future of this magical mountain. Etna is a mountain but also a volcano, located in the heart of the Mediterranean sea, on the island known as Sicily that for thousands of years was the crossroad of civilizations,
With a treasure trove of native white varieties, Friuli Venezia Giulia makes some of Italy’s most exciting white wines.Friuli Venezia Giulia is considered the birthplace of modern Italian white winemaking. In the late 1960s, a small group of inspired producers began crafting clean, fresh and fruity white wines—a monumental shift from the tired, oxidized versions that had been largely produced prior.
Summary: This small Italian region is home to wonderful foods, gorgeous landscapes and views but few think of it in terms of its wines. Together we will discuss Liguria's eight D.O.C. wine-producing areas and the indigenous grapes used to make these wonderful wines. Liguria has a host of varieties that few people know about and even fewer have
Summary: Piedmont is most known for its Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, the three core varieties that form the backbone of the Langhe, Piedmont’s most famous sub-region. But a number of other exciting indigenous and qualitative varieties make up the region’s complex viticultural patchwork. This webinar will focus on 4 lesser-known whites – Arneis,
A number of Friuli’s native varieties were rescued from the brink of disappearance. Let us introduce you to Vitovska and Pignolo. Vitovska: The name of this white grape variety is of clear Slavic origin, but it is generally considered to be a native variety of both eastern Friuli and Slovenia, as it was historically only cultivated in Carso (in the province of Trieste) and in Slovenia.
Ciro Pirone is the Director of Italian Wines for Horizon Beverage Group and will be teaching the next online Italian Wine Scholar course beginning in February. In under 30 minutes Ciro gives us the fascinating history of Italian sparkling wine production, and discusses key points on the spumante wines of Alta Langa. We also learn about the main grapes and styles of Lambrusco, and learn important distinctions between Asti DOCG and Moscato d’Asti DOCG.
Maurizio Broggi, DWS, FWS, is the Education Director for the Italian Wine Scholar (IWS) program. During an eight-day summer tour, he led a group of IWS educators through three of Italy’s northern wine producing regions, Trentino, Franciacorta and Lugana.
Ancient Romans often drank wine at the end of the meal by passing around a “gutturnium” (a 2 liter silver jug). Emilia-Romagna’s Gutturnio DOC takes its name from a jug found along the Po River in 1878.
Glera is the principal grape of Prosecco sparkling wine. Originally the grape was known as Prosecco (more precisely Prosecco Tondo). The variety has an unclear origin and an even more complicated ampelographic history due to the fact that several distinct varieties have been called “Prosecco-something” in northeast Italy since the 18th century. The grape is late-ripening and prone to both fungal diseases and water stress. It is widely planted in the province of Treviso.
The grape varieties of Veneto Veneto’s grape varieties are almost equally divided between white and red. More than 60% of the cultivated varieties are native or Italian grapes. Among them, the indigenous Glera, Garganega and Corvina Veronese account for almost half of Veneto’s total plantings.
The Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) was the historic symbol of the League of Chianti and has become the symbol of the wines of Chianti Classico. The Black Rooster symbol is linked to a medieval legend that takes place during the time of open hostilities between Firenze and Siena for control of the Chianti territory.
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