Italy has always been famed for its culture, history, even Venetian masks - but it is possibly most well known for its food and drink. It comes as no surprise that many of us take great pleasure in enjoying a glass (or two) or of Italian wine.
However, simply enjoying the wine is completely different to actually understanding its heritage and roots. So, here are some essential facts you should know about Italian wine.
1. Italy Produces More Wine than any Other Country
Wine productions might have dropped slightly in the last few years, but Italy is still maintaining first place when it comes to wine production - closely followed by their main rival, France. As of 2019, an eye-watering 39,300 hectolitres of wine has been produced by Italy; we don’t recommend trying to drink this all at once!
2. Italian Wine & Pasta are a Perfect Combination
When you think quintessential Italian you automatically think about a glass of beautiful wine and a big plate of perfectly cooked pasta. The Italian have this combination completely figured out; the general rule is; red for red, white for white.
- A tomato-based pasta pairs nicely with a medium-bodied red wine
- A cheesy pasta dish is best paired with a full-bodied white wine
- Seafood pasta dishes can be eaten with both light and medium-bodied white wines
- Vegetable or herb pasta dishes are suited to light-bodied white wines
3. Birthplace of Prosecco
If you attend any sort of celebration, social gathering or party it’s likely that you’ll be served prosecco in lieu of something a bit more expensive. This beautiful sparkling wine is the new, affordable kid on the block, which is quickly becoming more popular than champagne.
4. Veneto: the Heart of Wine
Home to one of Italy’s most popular and romantic tourist destinations, Venice is also prevalent for being the largest wine-producing regions in the country. Back in 2016, the region produced over 10,000 hectolitres of wine, outdoing its closest competitors by thousands.
5. Long History
Italian wine has been produced for over 4,000 years and Italy is considered to be the perfect environment to grow wine, this is largely due to the country’s climate which is perfect for viticulture.
6. Exceptionally High-Quality Levels
Italians take pride in their grape cultivation and overall wine production. As a result, two-thirds of the country’s wine is of either DOP or IGP status. Both labels promise a bottle of wine’s authenticity and quality, however, there are a few subtle differences to note:
DOP (“Protected Designation of Origin”): this certificate promises that all products and means of production are carried out in a strictly defined area.
IGP (“Protected Geographical Information”): this certificate ensures that at least part of the produce and production process were from, or took place in, the specified origin/region.
7. ‘Grape Variety’
Italy has a really extensive grape variety, with the country growing and using more than 400 different types of grapes to produce the eclectic range of wines they have available today. The top three grapes in terms of production levels by region are: