Drool Alert: This article will induce an uncontrollable urge to drink wine, I recommend having a bottle or two of your favorite Italian wines handy.
So you think you know Italian wines?
Wrap your heads around this: Italy’s National Registry of Grapes boasts 461 official grape varieties, 377 of which are genetically different Native grapes. So basically you could explore a new variety 365 days of the year yet fall short, let alone combining the endless permutations of producers, terroir, and stylistic difference.
Exploring this dizzying array of diversity and heritage seems like a herculean task, (even to us professionals). Adding fuel is the Italian quandary – is it a place or a grape? Pronounce that name again, huh?
That said, here’s an extraordinary opportunity to discover the dazzling world of indigenous grapes spearheaded by the leading lady of Italian Wine – Ms. Stevie Kim (Managing Director of VinItaly International Academy) and the one and only tireless champion, I endearingly call “walking wine encyclopedia” Dr. Ian D’Agata.
And the twenty reasons why YOU should enroll in the upcoming 1st USA edition in New York:
Piedmont: From the legendary land of Nebbiolo – perfumed Arneis, lemony Gavi made with Cortese, dainty Erbaluce, intensely minerally Timorasso, and saline kissed Favorita.
Valle D’ Aosta: Looking for adventure – Valle d’Aosta boasts some of the steepest slopes of vineyards, planted with ungrafted vines of Prie and graceful Fumin.
Lombardy: Italy’s fashion and finance hub (Milan) dazzles with sparkling wines of Franciacorta giving Champagne a run for their money.
Trentino: one pf the most picteresque wine regions in Europe is shimmering with magical Marzemino and nouveau grape Teroldego.
Alto Adige: Nestled amongst the snow-capped Italian Alps lies a budget-friendly alternative to Cabernets/Merlots – full bodied Lagrein or intensely-perfumed delicate wines from the Schiava group.
Veneto: Aside from Italy’s most opulent red wine – Amarone from Corvina, Veneto is the birthplace of world’s largest production of sparkling wines Prosecco made with the Glera grape.
Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG): juxtaposed between regal Austria to the north, snow-capped Slovenia on its east, Adriatic sea to the south, and vine-centric Veneto out west, Friuli delivers riveting Refoscos, spicy Schiopettino, titillating Tazzelenghe, iron-rich terrano, powerful Pignolo, and delightful dessert wines from Picolit and Verduzzo.
Liguria: the World heritage site of Cinque terre delivers charmingly crisp Albarola and Bosco.
Emilia Romagna: the home of Parmigiano cheese, prosciutto, and aged balsamic vinegar, is for all purposes two distinct entities. East portion Emilia with whites of Pignoletta and Malvasia Candida Aromatica and red frizzante Lambruscos while West portion of Romagna boasts Albana and Sangiovese.
Tuscany: the land of Renaissance offers 128 official recognized cultivars of which 118 risk extinction. Blending partners of Chianti – Colorino and Canaiolo Nero, alluring Aleatico, and golden-hued Ansonica to name a few.
Marche: From the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, meet Italy’s white royalty – Verdicchio and ravishing red Lacrima.
Umbria: Gentle rolling hills of Umbria surprisingly, houses Italy’s most tannic red – Sagrantino and the easy drinking Grechetto.
Lazio: from the epicenter of occidental civilization and Christian culture (Rome), arises the beauty queen – Bellone and sweetly-spiced Cesanese Comune and d’Affile.
Abruzzo: home to Italy’s best kept secret – rosatos from Cerasulo d’Abruzzo and herbal-heady Pecornio.
Campania: Better known for Naples and the Amalfi coast is one Italian state that rejected planting of International grapes, rich in biodiversity, blessed with 56 native varieties exclusive to Campania (to name a few Peidrosso, Aglianico, Pallagrello, Olivello), endowed with volcanic soils, pre-phylloxera old vines, all contributes to the greatness of Campania and it’s world-class wines.
Puglia: from the homeland of Zinfandel – Primitivo, jack of all trades Negro Amaro, aromatic Minutola, and Uva di Troia.
Basiclicata: embedded between the heel (Puglia) and toe (Calabria) of Italy, Basiclicata produces the superstar of South Italy – Aglianico and mesmerizing Malvasias.
Calabria: exotic red Magliocco, Gaglioppo, or white Mantonico.
Sicily: sporting a plethora of fine native grapes such as the reds of Nero d’ Avola, Nerello Mascalese, white Carricante, Grillo, sweet nectar of Malvasia Lipari and Moscato Alessandria (Zibbibo) have earned Sicily the title of the hottest and upcoming wine region of Italy, specifically from the ancient region of Etna volcano.
Sardinia: from the rugged Nuraghi dotted landscape embracing the Mediterranean Sea – Frizzante or Amabile (off dry) Nuragus and rare Semidano.
Do you still think you know Italian wines??
For all you thrill seeking souls and like-minded geeks, VIA Academy offers an exclusive, in-depth exploration into Italy’s gamut of mouth-watering, food-friendly, wallet-loving, world class wines, waiting to appreciated.
Whether you join our coveted club of Italian Wine Ambassadors (86 world-wide including yours truly) and 7 Italian Wine Experts; you will walk away armed with an arsenal of: scientific knowledge, long-lasting camaraderie, exposure to sensational unicorn status wines, and most importantly a deeper understanding and admiration of Italian wine industry that confidently wears their cultural identity as a comfortable cloak while crusading the region onto contemporary stature.
Did I mention four days of down-right delicious, sinfully good wines?
Until next time, have a delicious day!!