The Italian wine world is full of wine-related terminology that many consumers struggle to understand. Learning the meaning of a few key terms can increase your confidence level and help you make informed decisions when selecting your next glass, or bottle, of vino. We have compiled a list of 25 common terms and phrases that we know will help you navigate the delicious world of vino Italiano!
Italy’s wealth of grape varieties presents wine connoisseurs with many tantalizing prospects, particularly on the red wine spectrum. While Sangiovese and Nebbiolo still reign supreme, numerous grape varieties have re-emerged from hiding in recent years to spellbind wine lovers around the world. In Italy, the story of how some of these grapes transitioned from obscurity to fashionably cool can be just as compelling as the wines themselves. In many cases, the wines from these grapes are shining in a way they never have before, thanks to more informed decisions in the vineyard and winery.
Here are five up-and-coming Italian red grapes to pay attention to. While all of these grapes have been around for centuries, their resurgence has meant a quality revolution and increased interest from the international marketplace.
While Italian red wines still garner much of the attention, there are, without doubt, many outstanding white wines that deserve consideration. While white wines like Soave, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi or Fiano di Avellino, are already well-known, there are also lesser-known — but rightfully trending — Italian white grape varieties that today produce exciting wines worth seeking out.
Glera is the principal grape of Prosecco sparkling wine. Originally the grape was known as Prosecco (more precisely Prosecco Tondo). The variety has an unclear origin and an even more complicated ampelographic history due to the fact that several distinct varieties have been called “Prosecco-something” in northeast Italy since the 18th century. The grape is late-ripening and prone to both fungal diseases and water stress. It is widely planted in the province of Treviso.
The grape varieties of Veneto
Veneto’s grape varieties are almost equally divided between white and red. More than 60% of the cultivated varieties are native or Italian grapes. Among them, the indigenous Glera, Garganega and Corvina Veronese account for almost half of Veneto’s total plantings.
A number of Friuli’s native varieties were rescued from the brink of disappearance. Let us introduce you to Vitovska and Pignolo.
Vitovska: The name of this white grape variety is of clear Slavic origin, but it is generally considered to be a native variety of both eastern Friuli and Slovenia, as it was historically only cultivated in Carso (in the province of Trieste) and in Slovenia.
Lambrusco Family: Lambrusco represents one of the most ancient families of native grapes in Italy. In fact, it is so ancient, that a specific area of origin has not been determined. Historically, they were believed to descend from domesticated wild vines. All the Lambrusco grapes are related to each other but are considered distinct varieties. In general, the wines produced from these grapes share common features, such as high acidity, moderate alcohol and red fruit-floral aromas, however, each variety does express a distinct character, despite such similarities.