Italy, the land of vines, it's confusing as heck, right? You bet it is, which is why I took advantage of the opportunity to conduct a tour of the white wines of Italy during our recent People's Voice Awards Wine Writers Seminar Series, which as a name needs work since PVAWWSS looks more like a keyboard malfunction than an acronym appropriate for the meeting of great minds, but I digress.
Italy is rife with wine, and while many people have a good handle on the more important red wines of the land, the whites seem to get short changed. They are generally categorized as being light and fresh, and presented without distinction. In an effort to help frame the discussion, I present four fabulous informed views on this seminar. With differing viewpoints and opinions, these writers can help guide you through the confusing white wines of Italy, and hopefully identify the wines that would most interest you, because after all that is why we are here.
Benito's Wine Reviews
This is a tasting that I've thought a lot more about since leaving the city, and one in which I wish I could have spent more time analyzing each bottle with some wine books and dizionarinearby. Our host was the genteel Giuseppe Capuano of Vias Imports Ltd. Despite the fact that he is from San Lazzaro di Savena in Emilia-Romagna and quite attached to the native grapes of his home region, he took us on an incredible tour of the white wines of Italy and her islands. East, west, north, south, Sicily, Sardinia... Even the German-speaking vineyards of Alto Adige/Südtirol were represented.
Read more at Benito's Wine Reviews
The Reverse Wine Snob
The words "Italian wine" no doubt conjure images of iconic wines like Barolo, Brunello, Chianti and so forth, and rightly so. However, as temperatures (slowly) climb and summer approaches, the best thing coming out of Italy may well be the rich, mineral soaked, delicious white wines made from all sorts of grapes you simply won't find anywhere else. Don't let the unknown names deter you -- there is great delight to be had in all these indigenous varieties, which is exactly what we found in New York at the Snooth People's Voice Awards Wine Writers Seminar on the white wines of Italy.
Read more on The Reverse Wine Snob
The V.I.P. Table
I remember a time when I would tell people that I only liked “Red” wine. I still hear people say this from time to time and it makes me smile. The idea that there’s something inferior or less enjoyable about white wine, is now humorous to me. It all started with a glass of aged Riesling. With time, Sauvignon Blanc joined my list of favorites. However, what I was truly missing was the vast array of unique whites wines that are made in my favorite wine producing country, Italy.
In Italy each region has its own set of rules and guidelines. Not to mention there are hundreds of indigenous grape varieties in Italy, how can one begin to understand them all? It can be overwhelming.
I’ve learned the only way to tackle learning about this country is one region at a time. By starting small. I’ve also been very lucky to have had the chance to visit several regions in Italy in the last couple years, which has given me a level of understanding of these regions I couldn’t have imagined prior to these experiences.
My Vine Spot
Italy is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. It is also one of the world’s largest wine producers. The ancient Greeks called southern Italy, Enotria, which means 'the land of wines.' From the northern tip to the southern toe of this boot-shaped country, this is very much still applicable today. With twenty wine regions, an uncountable number of wine producers, a myriad of wine styles, and over a thousand grape varieties planted, for some, the topic of Italian wine can be an intimidating endeavor. And I have not even begun to talk about how confusing some of the wine labels can be.
Aside from the plethora of Oregon Pinot Gris’ and Pinot Blancs that I’ve sampled, along with the Vermentino from Troon and a few Italian whites and sparkling wines that were sent to me as samples (which I absolutely loved), I haven’t had much experience with white Italian varietals. The Snooth tasting we were about to embark on with Vias Imports had me very excited to explore some of Italy’s indigeneous white varietals from different wine regions throughout the country. Starting in the north, with Vallee d’ Aosta, Trentino and Friuli Venezia Giula wine regions, then heading down to Umbria and Calabria; as well as, the island of Sardegna, the following are reviews of my favorites from the tasting from north to south.