There is a Reason Why People Love Italian Wines
Making wine is probably as old as humankind itself, and one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world is Italy. Italian wines traces their roots as far back as the Roman Empire, and probably even before that. Rome is the city that began bottling wines for ease of transportation, storage and use. Today, wines from Italy account for about one-fifth of all the wines produced in the world.
There are thousands of vineyards in Italy, and while many wines are produced in modern distilleries, some rustic villages still produce wine in the old fashion way by stomping the grapes under their bare feet, claiming this makes the wine taste the best. Commercially available wines are of course prepared under much more hygienic conditions, so don't worry about the bottles you're considering purchasing from your local wine shop.
The favorable weather of the Mediterranean area makes for very favorable growing conditions for Italian wines, and true wine connoisseurs know that weather has a great affect on the quality of the wines. There are also many different elevations along the coast of Italy, allowing the country to produce many different types of grapes and therefore types of wines.
Italian wines are typically much less sweet and a bit more dry and acidic than most other wines produced around the world. This makes them a typically better accompaniment for food than other wines, whose strong or fruity flavors may interfere with the taste of your meal. Most restaurants therefore are known to carry a wide variety of Italian wines, most especially those that specialize in Italian food! Real wine lovers know that it's almost perverse to have a French wine with Italian food.
Italy has certified some 350 grapes for use in their wines, and there are some 500 other varieties and hybrid varieties that are used for Italian wines. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are two of the most commonly used for red wine, and chardonnay and reisling for white wines.
The country of course prides itself on its wine varieties, and so laws are somewhat stringent when it comes to how they can be labeled and referred. However, some winemakers took it upon themselves to step away from common blends and grapes used in order to produce richer and more flavorful wines. The term "Super Tuscan" refers to Italian wines that do not have the traditional blending of grapes that one would typically find in the different regions. Some of these blending varieties were initially labeled as "table wines" by the Italian appellation system, but that term is seen as somewhat derogatory, and so makers of these Italian wines began to use the term Super Tuscan.
If you're looking to expand your list of favorites, then you must consider Italian wines. There is such a wide variety, and the winemakers take such pride in their product, that you are sure to find many that are just to your liking. So the next time you are at an Italian restaurant be sure to try one of the fine wines available, you will be pleasantly surprised.
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