Everything You Need to Know About Italian Wine

Italian Wine

If you’ve ever spent time in Italy, you know that the country is famous for its cuisine and culture. But Italians are also known for their passion for wine. Italy is home to some of the world’s most renowned growing regions for grapes. As a result of this rich agricultural history, Italian wines have a distinctive character that sets them apart from other varieties of wine.

To help you get acquainted with this fascinating wine-loving culture, we’ve put together everything you need to know about Italian wine at World Wine. It’s sure to make you an expert on the subject.

The first vines cultivated in Italy were wild vines. These early settlers found wild grapes growing near the Rhone River and used them for wine. However, it wasn’t until Greek settlers came to southern Italy that grape cultivation began taking off. They brought their winemaking knowledge and planted some of their grapes alongside the local ones. The Greeks also introduced new irrigation methods to help vines flourish in the country’s hot climate.

After the Greeks came Romans, who brought a wealth of culinary knowledge with them and their grape varieties, this is when Italian wine truly began to take shape as a distinct style. During this period, two famous types of Italian wines emerged: Falanghina and Greco di Tufo, which are both still produced today. In addition, Roman winemakers developed unique farming practices for their vineyards that continue to be used throughout Italy today, such as utilizing amphoras (giant clay jugs) for fermentation and aging wines in wooden barrels instead of glass bottles or steel tanks—two practices not yet commonly used at this point around the rest of Europe.

Italian Wine

After Rome fell, wine production continued and expanded into other regions, where producers continued developing new styles, including Lacryma Christi white wine, which is still made from local varieties like Grechetto and Fiano. This region is also home to the world’s most recognizable Italian wine-growing region, Chianti. During this time, Chianti received its name and gained popularity among locals and visitors alike. Both red and white wines were produced in this area using Sangiovese grapes (the same grapes used to produce the famous Super Tuscan wines today like Sassicaia or Ornellaia) with vineyards planted on hillside slopes facing south to harness the maximum amount of sunlight possible. The wine types produced here were easy drinking, low alcohol, and fresh whites perfect for a hot summer day, while the reds were full-bodied, spicy, and high in tannins but exceptionally food-friendly (perfect for pairing with the local game).

This wine was made for the local Florentine cuisine featuring ingredients like wild boar and tiny, bite-sized pieces of steak seared over open coals and served with simple, fresh olive oil and Tuscan salt. It’s no coincidence that modern-day Super Tuscans still exhibit these same traits. In addition to red and white wine, both made from local grape varieties, they are also known for the infamous Super Tuscan blend, a marriage of Sangiovese with other international types.