Alto Adige is a land of spectacular contrast and diversity. Positioned in north east Italy, on the sunny side of the Alps, it is an area where men and mountains have met for centuries. It is a frontier region; not just politically but geographically, climatically, and viticulturally. Winemaking here requires a special skill set.
Vineyards are planted from 200m to 1000m and experience huge diurnal swings in temperature, while alpine geology delivers an immense diversity of soils.
This goes part way to explaining how, in a region no larger than St Emilion in Bordeaux, there are nevertheless over 20 different grape varieties grown. These are cultivated by around 5000 individual wine growers owning, on average, just 1 ha of vineyard each, and yet between them they manage to produce 98% of Italy’s DOC, top quality wines which are increasingly successful in finding their way into international markets.
Join Nancy Gilchrist MW to learn more about this extraordinary yet relatively little-known region, and discover some of the measures this finely balanced ecosystem is adopting in the face of climate change.
Nancy is an independent wine educator and a Master of Wine since 1995. She was the wine columnist for The Boston Globe before returning to the UK where amongst many other things she created Academie du Vin @ 67 Pall Mall and was a director of Christie's Wine Education. She still lectures at Leith's School of Food & Wine and is an acknowledged reference on the interaction of food & wine. She also specialises in the wines of South Africa and is UK Ambassador for the Consorzio Vini Alto Adige.
Wine professionals and consumers share a similar aspiration when they visit a wine region; they want to enjoy the area’s best dining experiences so they can pair their favorite local wines with the territory’s typical food offerings.
While commonplace throughout Italy, this situation is nowhere more prominent than in Piedmont, especially in the region’s southern Langhe district. Lunch or dinner in the Barolo and Barbaresco production zones here is more than a simple pleasure; this is wine, and food pairing elevated to an art form.
Andrea's Pick: There is so much more to Prosecco than the grocery store shelves would have you believe. Richard Baudains does a fantastic job of unlocking the intricacies of the “Rive” sub-zones, one of Prosecco Superiore’s best and most under-appreciated treasures.
In 2009 Prosecco was re-mapped in sweeping changes that created an extensive new zone for the production of Prosecco DOC on the plains of the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and elevated the traditional hillside growing areas of Conegliano Valdobbiadene to DOCG status, Italy's top denomination. One of the innovations of the revised "Disciplinare di Produzione" ('production norms') of the DOCG was the categorization of the sub-zones called "Rive" which are the subject of this webinar. We will be exploring the soil and climate features of the Prosecco Superiore Rive zones and matching them to wines which give a revealing insight into the subtle diversity and pure class of an Italian sparkler often perceived as a standardized commercial product.
Richard Baudains was born and brought up on the Island of Jersey, a formerly French-speaking part of the British Isles, hence the French surname. To satisfy his wanderlust he studied to become an English language teacher, a profession he has had the good fortune to pursue in many of Italy's top wine regions. He published his first article with Decanter in 1989 and has been writing about Italian wine for the same London-based magazine ever since. He is a regional chair at the Decanter World Wine Awards, on the team of the Slow Wine Guide for Friuli Venezia Giulia and he teaches M.A. Courses on Wine Journalism at the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche. He has previously lead webinars for the Wine Scholar Guild on the wines of the Collio and the macerated whites of Friuli Venezia Giulia.Outside of wine, he works as a Cambridge University English language examiner. He lives in Gorizia.
For much of the wine history of Abruzzo, large cooperatives established a perception that the region’s wines were pleasant and technically correct, but offered little in the way of excellence. Today, the image of Abruzzese wine has taken on a new light, as dozens of smaller producers are crafting more sophisticated offerings that not only display superior complexity, but also offer greater elegance and aging potential as compared with the typical wines of the past.
Andrea's Pick: once a resident of Sicilia, Ciro Pirone is well acquainted with the incredible Mongebello (Mount Etna) and its fascinating wines. Ciro takes viewers on a journey to discover more about the history and the bright, vinous future of this magical mountain.
Etna is a mountain but also a volcano, located in the heart of the Mediterranean sea, on the island known as Sicily that for thousands years was the crossroad of civilizations, cultures, traditions, wars, but also great developments in many fields. Etna is a magical territory known to our ancestors but forgotten for a long while, finally is back and provides incredibly different and unique wines with a batch of local grapes.
Ciro Pirone, Director of Italian Wines for Horizon Beverage Company, is a graduate of the Istituto Alberghiero (Hotel and Restaurant Management school) of Salerno, Italy and Italian Wine Ambassador (Vinitaly Wine Academy). Traveling and working in Italy, England and the US, Ciro developed an incredible passion for wine, food and culture. After all, growing up in Italy, wine was always a very important part of his family’s lifestyle and traditions.
In 1999, Ciro moved to the US permanently. He landed in Boston, where he continued his wine studies at Boston University, the International Sommelier Guild, the London –based Wine & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET), as well as he completed and passed with Honors the Italian Wine
Specialist Certification by the North American Sommelier Association (part of the worldwide recognized Italian Sommelier Association). In June of 2017 (2019 & 2021 with Honors) he completed the Vinitaly Wine Academy and received the prestigious Italian Wine Ambassador certification. In 2019 also passed with Honors the Italian Wine Scholar program by the Wine Scholar Guild.
In 2007, Ciro accepted the position of Italian Wine Specialist for Horizon Beverage. After successful growth at HBC, Ciro accepted on a new challenge as the US Brand Manager for the Arnaldo Caprai Winery of Montefalco (Umbria), the top producer of worldwide recognized Sagrantino di Montefalco. In June 2011, Ciro returned to Horizon Beverage with a new position of Director of Italian Wines in support of their expanding presence in the New England marketplace. Ciro is happy to share his passion for Italian wine and culture in an effort to give the American wine consumer a better understanding and appreciation for Italian wine!
Wine Scholar Guild is pleased to provide its readers with vintage and harvest reports for some of Italy’s most famous regions, from 2010 onward. We felt it was time that we expand our assessment of vintages and harvest reports outside of France and Italy was first on our list. To compile this in-depth report, we reached out to Italian wine specialist Tom Hyland.
Tom seemed like the perfect fit for this project, as he has been reporting on and promoting Italian wines for more than twenty years as a journalist, educator, and photographer. He has made more than 75 trips to wine regions throughout all of Italy from his home in Chicago. In that time, he has written for numerous publications, including Decanter, wine-searcher.com and most recently Wine Spectator. He has written two books on Italian wine: Beyond Barolo and Brunello (2013) and The Wines and Foods of Piemonte (2016). Tom has conducted seminars on Italian wine for the trade and public; over the past year, he has led more than two dozen webinars with Italian producers; among these were several for Wine Scholar Guild. He also served as US ambassador for Consorzio I Vini del Piemonte for five years. He is also an accomplished photographer, having been named Wine Photographer of the Year (Category: Places) in 2020 at the prestigious Pink Lady competition in England.
Andrea Eby, Italian Programs Director, asked Tom to provide a short blog article describing how he went about compiling this fantastic resource. We hope you enjoy the article and find the vintage charts as useful as we do. As always, we look forward to your questions and comments!
For many years the area around Marsala has been producing a fortified wine that enchanted the English merchants landing on the western coast of Sicily in the XIX century. This wine was sold around the globe gaining the same reputation as the well-known Port, Sherry and Madeira wines. Unfortunately, its big success and the large-scale production undermined its reputation, converting it into a wine often associated with low quality and price. But thanks to stubborn producers proud of the local traditions, Marsala´s potential to reaffirm itself as one of the great fortified wines in the world has been revealed again.
This webinar will guide you through the world of Marsala wines and their history, their production and the factors affecting the different styles, revealing the new wave of producers who are fighting to take "this Great forgotten" back to fame.
Tommasella Perniciaro was born in Italy, but her professional career took her to Spain and Sweden, where she currently lives. After taking the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits in London in 2015 and the French Wine Scholar (FWS) in 2016, she became WSET Certified Educator and founded The Good Wine Habit wine school in Gothenburg, where she runs the WSET Level 1-3 wine courses. Moreover, she teaches the online WSET Diploma in Wine for the WSET London School. Tommasella is a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador (VIA), Vinitaly Certified Italian Wine Educator and Valpolicella Wine Specialist (Consorzio Tutela Vini della Valpolicella) for the Swedish market, where she organizes masterclasses and tastings about Italian wines for the trade and wine lovers. She recently got the Italian Wine Scholar (IWS) qualification with the Highest Honors.
When you think of Italy’s vast array of wine grapes, which one comes to mind as the most difficult to study? Maybe Nebbiolo, for its seemingly endless site-specific details? Or Sangiovese, simply because there is so much of it, in so many different forms? I would posit that Trebbiano is perhaps the most perplexing. For one, Trebbiano grapes appear in vineyards across the Italian peninsula. In the case of Trebbiano Toscano and Trebbiano Romagnolo, they are among the most widely planted white wine grapes in Italy. The potential for variability is astounding.