A country with both mountains and coastline, it's no wonder Italy is so popular for wine making. Here are some of the best.
Italy, France and Spain are the largest wine producers, accounting for about 50% of the total production in the world. Of these three, Italy by far, produces the most.
Before we begin talking about some of the best regions in Italy, as promised, here is more associated information related to this sector.
The demand for Sommeliers is on the increase with fine dining restaurants understanding the importance of having them for pairings and also having a sommelier among their staff for the purpose of uplifting their own status.
Thankfully, this is not one of the professions that AI will take over. Not in the foreseeable future at the very least.
A sommelier is a professional in the realm of wines and specialises in wine and food pairings and also the right methods for the storage of wines.
To become a sommelier of the basic level one must first pass the introductory sommelier course examination and then attempt the Certified Sommelier Examination. This includes theory, blind tasting and service and can take up to three years.
In addition to passing the examination, a sommelier must have excellent knowledge of different foods and the ingredients that go into making each dish. The knowledge of where the wine grapes are grown, the weather conditions, the properties of soil and the environment are of utmost importance.
Many of the restaurant guests like talking to the sommelier and some of them will ask about the production of the recommended wines and the reasons for the pairing. In such instances they must communicate well and be able to back up the suggestions, be cordial and forthcoming.
A good sommelier finds a connection between themselves and their wines.
A certified sommelier of what is called Level Two, earns anywhere between $40,000 to $75,000 equivalent depending upon which part of the world they are working in.
Now let’s see which of the regions in Italy really stand out for the quality of their wines.
To begin with, to control the quality of wines, the DOC designation was used and because there were too many wines labeled with DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata – and the quality was variable, to come up with stricter standards DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – designation was put into effect and these are some of the highest quality wines.
Piedmont, which creates the Piemonte wines, has many of the best wines. Barolo and Barbaresco, which are made from the Nebbiolo grapes, are among the most popular. There are several other DOCG wines produced in the region.
The entire territory which borders France and Switzerland right at the foot of the Alps is known for its cuisine and wines which are par excellence.
Turin, which is the capital, is worth visiting for the baroque architecture, Mole Antonelliana which is truly a landmark building reaching for the skies and named after the architect Alessandro Antonelli, archaeological sites and the automobile museum.
While you go wine tasting and buying in the region, there are a number of places you would like to see including the Gran Paradiso National Park and the magnificent lake Maggiore.
The Alps at a short distance cast a fairytale atmosphere.
You might well ask how is it that some of the best wines are produced so close to the Alps?
The influence from the Mediterranean, the fog in the hills where the grapes are grown and the sunny weather, all contribute to the first-rate wine grapes. Grapes love being in the sun.
Famous for its dry red wines, most especially Chianti, Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino the region dominates to a great extent for good to excellent quality table wines. Another first-rate Tuscan wine is Sassicaia which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
During your tour of this wine region there are several delightful places you could visit including the capital, Florence. Known for its Renaissance architecture and art and Michelangelo’s statue of David, Florence is one of the most visited cities on our planet.
Not only that, the dialect that was spoken in the city was adopted as the national language of Italy.
Other best known places to visit while you taste and buy some of the best wines are Pisa, the port city of Livorno, Sienna and the island of Elba.
Even though it’s best known for Prosecco, this region produces some of the better quality fruity reds and whites.
Soave is the best known white from the region. Some of the best Prosecco wines can be bought for under €18.
Many of the wines from here have the DOC and DOCG designation and among the varieties you will find Pino Nero, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Interestingly, you will also get some good buys of full bodied reds from the Dolomite mountains.
While on your discovery circuit for wines, the obvious places to see are Venice, Lake Garda and Verona.
Another glass? Oh, go on then!
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