Italy

Definition

Wine

  • the second-largest wine-producing country in the world. Italy has a wide range of climatic regions, from cool mountain ranges in the north to hot regions in the south, and grows an equally wide range of grape varieties. Within Italy there are 20 large grape-growing regions, which have smaller areas and vineyards within them. There are 900,000 registered vineyards. The Italian wines are classified in a system similar to the French appellation d’Origine Contrôlée: the highest-quality wines are listed as DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), which so far only applies to fifteen areas; DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) includes a wide range of medium-quality wines; Vino Tipico refers to a lower-quality local wine; the lowest quality of wine is classed as Vino da Tavola (table wine). Italy is a mixture of fierce tradition and sophisticated modern methods, and vines are grown everywhere from north to south. In Piedmont, in the northwest, the Nebbiolo grape produces the fine wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, and the Dolcetto and Barbera varieties are also found. On the other side of the country, in Friuli-Venezia, Alto Adige and the Veneto, indigenous white grapes such as Garganega, Tocai, and Ribolla Gialla vie with the imported varieties, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio), and Chardonnay. The popular light, sparkling red wine Lambrusco comes from central Italy, and Tuscany provides the world with Chianti. Of note also are the wines from this area known as Supertuscans.
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