Saturday, October 24, 2015

The variety of Italian wines

Wine Writing Challenge
Here we go! Second monthly of participating in the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #20 run by Jeff at the Drunken Cyclist.  This month's theme, variety, was selected from last month's winner, Frank Stero. Being an Italian wine blogger there is plenty of variety to talk about when it comes to Italian grapes. You would think with a person like me who doesn't make decisions easily, why would I write about one of the top winemaking countries in the wine world that has so much variety? Even a better reason for blogging. There's always something to write about it, but it obviously goes way deeper than that. Variety is one of the reasons why I developed a huge love for the wines of Italy. Italy has hundreds of native indigenous varietals, plus international grapes as well.
Italy and its native grapes
Every where you turn in Italy are vineyards

Overwhelmed by variety?
Of course to the average consumer wine can be completely overwhelming when it comes to navigating yourself through a wine shop, nevermind navigating through the Italian wine section. At least with California, for example, folks whom want a chardonnay can walk over to the bottle, see chardonnay listed on the label and grab it. What they don't realize they are missing are the bottles of white burgundy from France, some of the best chardonnay in the world, all because chardonnay is not written on the label and is just implied by it's geographical indication. Labels are part of the reason why variety can be deceiving or tricky. Italy is definitely one of those culprits that might tell you it's a Rosso from the Valle d'Aosta region of Italy, but what does that mean? What grapes are in it? The label may state it's a Barolo from Cannubi, but what grapes make up a barolo wine? Nebbiolo of course, but maybe not that obvious to the average consumer. My parents used to be oblivious to that for example, but I've got them trained up quick!

The many grape varieties of Italy
Of course everyone knows many of the main varietals in Italy like pinot grigio, prosecco (even more so now-a-days), sangiovese (although sometimes it seems people don't reazlie chianti is made of this grape) and maybe even the nero d'avola grape. What about varietals like susumaniello, verdicchio, pigato, pelaverga,arneis, catarrato or garganega? You may have had many of these wines already if you've experimented with Italian wines and don't even know it.
2004 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto
Made of Merlot and Cabernet
San Cassiano Valpolicella Superiore
Made of corvina, rondinella and molinara grapes









What is the best way to learn about all these different wines?
Don't panic! Embrace the wide variety of grapes offered to you and you may be surprised that you come across a grape that you've never heard of that you love. I'm a big fan of wine tastings. I do them as much as possible myself when I have the opportunity. It's the perfect way to sample as little as 3-10 wines and as many as 50+ wines at one event. If you don't like it dump or spit and move on to the next one. These events are geared to get people to try variety and to find what you like. One of the best things about wine is that it's all subjective. As long as you're not rude about it to a wine vendor or even worse a winemaker himself then it's impossible to feel about your feelings and personal preferences. As they always say drink what you like!
Wine tastings are the best way to learn about wine
I'm always here to offer any Italian advice so don't hesitate to drop me a mail, leave a comment or subscribe to my newsletter and learn about the variety that Italy has to offer.