When it comes to countries that are renowned for the sophistication of their culture and the elegance of their fashion, as well as of the quality of their food and drink, there isn’t one that comes higher on the list than Italy. Italy, which is the birth place of Opera, the former home to one of the world’s most advanced ancient civilisations, the Romans and was the centre of the renaissance, has long been a mainstay in the world of wine making. It’s even the place that gave birth to the French wine growing culture, as many of the first French Vineyards were grown from vines brought over by the Romans.
Known for their quality and variety, Italian wines have gripped the imagination of the luxury drink consuming world for centuries. Although vines were always used to produce alcoholic drinks, it wasn’t until the Greek colonisation of the Italian peninsula that wine as a concept came to become an Italian culinary tradition. This was first introduced in Sicily by the Mycenaean Greeks, as this was the area first colonised, then was introduced to the rest of the country. The onset of the Roman Empire saw the nation spread the concept of the vineyard to the rest of Western Europe, and as the culture flourished, Italian Wines came to gain a reputation throughout the civilised world for their quality and the skill and knowledge that went into their production.
This has led to a country that, depending on the vintage, is often touted in the 21st Century as the largest or second largest producer of wine internationally. It often competes for this label with France, and they beat each other to the title interchangeably. 1963 saw the standardisation of the Italian wine industry, as professionals sought to modernise the practise to take it forward into the postmodern era. This gave rise to the four classifications of Italian wine; Vini (generic wines), Vini Varietali (Varietal Wines), Vini IGP (Protected Geographical Indication Wines) and Vini DOP (Protected Designation of Origin Wines).
Throughout its long history most of Italy has produced various wines at some point or another, but today there are several regions of the Italian nation that have gained a stellar, even legendary reputation for the wines they produce. Three of these most popular wine producing regions are Lombardy (known especially for its Franciacorta Sparkling Wines), Veneto and Tuscany. In recent years many Italian wines have risen to the forefront of the industry and become popular with consumers, with Italian varieties of Pinot Grigio worth a particularly notable mention.
At the Ideal Wine Company we have several Italian bottles for you to purchase. These are Amarone Della Valpolicella, Tignanello and Vega Sicilla, which will give you a fantastic sample of the types of quality wines the vineyards on the peninsula are able to produce.