The Italian peninsula, with its fanlike top and bootlike body, has the most recognisable shape of any country on earth. Italy is a small land, yet it’s role in the wine world is huge. Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, celebrated internationally for their broad variety. Representing ⅓ of global production, Italyboasts more than one million vineyards under cultivation.
Etruscans and Greek settlers first produced wine before the Romans started their own vineyards in the 2nd century BC. Roman winemaking was well organized, using storage techniques like barrel making and bottling. The country became a unified nation in 1861, as such diverse cultures still exist and regional pride runs stronger than national pride. Italy’s wines reflect the unique cultural distinction of its regions.
Italy has over 350 recognised native grape varieties, many of which are only successfully grown in Italy. Sangiovese, Barbera and Trebbiano are widespread prestigious varieties;Nebbiolo, Verdicchio, Lambrusco, Negroamaro, and Nero d’Avola are uniquely regional.
About two-thirds of all Italian fine wine is red, white fine-wines are particularly produced in northeast and central Italy. Italy’s production of sparkling wine is considerable, especially in the north, including delicately sweet styles such as Asti.
What makes Italy an ideal and unique territory for growing grapes is its unique combination of natural conditions.The mild maritime climate and the generous Mediterranean vegetation leave an imprint on the personality of the wines. The foothills of the mountains provide ideal slopes for vineyards, as well as higher latitudes for cool climate grape growing.
Toscana IGT is the most famous of Italy's Indicazione Geografica Tipica wine regions. Located on the idyllic western coast, its is home to Italy’s most prestigious wines, including Brunello di Montalcino and the super-Tuscan fine wines. The acclaimed Tenuta San Guido, established by Mario Incisa della Rochetta, is considered Italy’s ultimate expression of the "Super Tuscan". At a Decanter tasting of "great clarets", a trusted awarded the 1972 Sassicaia first place over a staggering selection of 33 wines from 11 countries.
The prestigious Ornellaia estate, owned by Lodovico Antinori, produces the exquisite Masseto and popular Tenuta Guado al Tasso fine-wines. A Salmanazar sized bottle of Ornellaia fetched for $ 33,600 at a Christie's sale of New York.
Some of the favourite super-Tuscan wines include Brancaia, Cabreo II Borgo, Camartina, Masseto, Sassicia, Triganello and La Vigna di Alceo and the famous Chianti DOCG wine growing region.
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