There is something simply romantic about the Italian language, the food, the people, and – of course – the wine. Oh, such wine. Italy, with France closely behind, is the largest wine producer (by volume) in the world. Officially, there are 20 Italian wine regions in this relatively small country (it’s roughly the same size as New Mexico) with a mind-boggling 2,000 grape varieties.
What’s the best way to understand Italian wine? It’s like a Facebook status. It’s complicated. Italy is a member of the European Union, and must conform to the two-tier EU system of categorizing wines, which basically distinguishes quality wines from table wines. The laws and regulations ensure the authenticity of the wine.
Italian Wine Categories
- DOCG Wines – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita Strictest guideline that guarantees geographic authenticity and quality.
- DOC Wines – Denominazione di Origine Controllata
More common, less strictly regulated about geographic zone.
- IGT Wines – Indicazione di Geografica Tipica
For growers unable to meet the strict rules but still make great wines.
- Italy (no geographical indication)
Ordinary table wine.
The wine map of Italy shows 20 separate regions, all with very different wines:
- Aosta Valley
- Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
- Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Piemonte or Piedmonte is beloved for being home to the some of the world’s most beloved wines made from the Nebbiolo – Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as Barbera and Dolcetto. It’s not just the reds – Asti Spumante and Moscato are made in this region.
Tuscany is all about Sangiovese. The most famous wine from this region is perhaps Chianti, with Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the Super-Tuscans in line.
Sicily is the island south of the mainland that is responsible for Marsala, a sweet fortified wine. The warm climate of this Mediterranean island is responsible for the dark, rich and highly drinkable Nero d’Avola.
What’s the bottom line? Italy produces great wines worthy of continual exploration and discovery. We have a great selection of fine Italian wines from amazing, rich, robust Amarone to the decadently delicious “holy wine” known as Vin Santo.
Founded in 1934, Haskell’s has championed fine wines for over 80 years. We have 13 wine stores in Minnesota, two delis and one restaurant. As one of the top wine shops in North America, Haskell’s is known for legendary service and one of the finest collections of wine, beer and spirits. Led by Chairman and CEO Jack Farrell, and the Farrell family, Haskell’s continues to be at the forefront of the wine scene throughout the world. Haskell’s also can ship wine, beer & spirits all throughout the world, the U.S. and we deliver locally.