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Italian Wine

Wine with food is a way of life in Italy, where wine has been produced for thousands of years. Romans established the complete viticulture process in the country since the 2nd Century BC. Grape-growing and winemaking was organized in such a way that it settled the standards of a large scale production, storing, and bottling techniques of wine. The quality of Italian wine has improved since the last century in order to be a competitive worldwide fine wine.

Italian Wine Appellations

Italians are famous for being the pioneers in establishing laws to control the origins and protection of the names of wines. This heritage is represented in today's DOC/DOCG classification system. Most traditional high quality Italian wines are produced in limited appellations from Barolo and Lambrusco to Marsala and Soave.

DOC

Denominazione di Origine Controllata, this means that the wine is basically what it claims to be. It must be produced in the usual way, with usual grapes and methods appropriated to the wine and region.

DOCG

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, which is the top designation and means that the wine was made using appropriately traditional methods and grapes, and also was qualified by government regulators.

Both appellation systems refer to zones which are specific and grapes that are permitted in the production. The difference between each other is that DOCG wines are always tested for quality in addition to other requirements. 

Other designations include:

Vino da Tavola VDT

Meaning Table Wine, denotes the lowest grade of wine in Italy. Basic wine for local consumption.

Indicazione Geografica Tipica IGT

Denotes a designation for quality wine that is not DOC or DOCG, but it is higher in quality than simple table wines. 

Grape Varieties

There are grape varietals in Italy that are not grown anywhere else in the world:

  • Aglianico
  • Barbera
  • Dolcetto
  • Malvasia
  • Montepulciano
  • Moscato
  • Nebbiolo
  • Sangiovese
  • Tocai Friulano
  • Trebbiano

The most popular ones are Nebbiolo and Sangiovese in the production of red wines.

Italian Wine Regions

There are 20 wine regions that correspond to the 20 political regions in Italy:

  • Aosta Valley (Valle D'Aosta)
  • Piedmont (Piemonte)
  • Liguria
  • Lombardy (Lombardia)
  • Trentino-Alto Adige/S├╝dtirol
  • Friuli-Venezia Giulia
  • Veneto
  • Emilia-Romagna
  • Tuscany (Toscana)
  • Marche (Le Marche)
  • Umbria
  • Lazio
  • Abruzzo
  • Molise
  • Campania
  • Basilicata
  • Apulia (Puglia)
  • Calabria
  • Sicily (Sicilia)
  • Sardinia (Sardegna)

Tuscany is known for producing the most famous wine in Italy: Chianti. Piedmont is famous for the red Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as the sparkling Asti. And Venice is well known for producing white wines such as Soave and Pinot Grigio.