27 October 2021
What does one need to know to recognise and how to choose a first class Italian Wine, especially as a beginner? Does it come down to luck, or is there much more to it?
Well, expert wine producers do not rely on luck to safeguard their most precious asset. Winemakers have various standards so that anyone, including you, can best choose wine depending on your preference.
This is an article from our Wine Focus; First Glass Series.
Introduction: How To Choose A First Class Italian Wine For Beginners
People who love their fine Italian wine collections will regularly boast about them. Perhaps, just as you might reasonably expect.
But one doesn’t have to be a wine connoisseur to spot great Italian wines.
Italy is best known for its Trentino, Barolo, Chianti, Piedmonte and Soave, but numerous varieties are just waiting for you to enjoy.
Italy produces more wine than almost any other country in the world, other than France.
Italian wine gets sourced from around 18 regions compared with France’s 54.
From 18 regions, the Italians still create a substantial selection of wines distributed around the planet. From this extensive list, it’s straightforward to choose Italian wines with little to no expertise or experience.
Wine from the Piedmonte region provides red wines that are light-bodied and refreshing. The world-famous Barolo and Barbaresco wines originate in the Piedmonte region.
These two wines are said to be Piedmonte’s best.
You’ll find the Barbera grape in full-bodied red wines, and the Dolcetto grape is distinctly dry and light in body. Also, the Nebbiolo grape is responsible for the dry, full-body wines of the area.
At the same time, the Moscato Bianco is the grape responsible for the sparkling white wines from the region.
And then you have Chianti from the Tuscany region. You’ve likely enjoyed this Chianti if you’ve drunk wine ever in any Italian restaurant.
The popular wines from this region include Chianti, Brunello, Vino Nobile di Monepulciano and Vernaccia de San Giminagno.
The Sangiovese grape gets used in medium and full-bodied red wines with its robust flavour. For sweet and dry wines, you’d naturally prefer the Vernaccia grape.
Anyone who loves wine can order wines from Italy in any style, colour or flavour. But, it is the DOCG (Controlled and Guarantee Designation of Origin) classification to which you must pay attention if you want to be confident of choosing a great wine. See wine classifications below.
This classification doesn’t guarantee a better tasting wine; it indicates the quality maintained for at least five years, which increases the likelihood of excellent quality.
A simple, easy-to-remember rule of thumb that goes a long way towards helping you make your best meal choice is this “Whites wines go with white meat, like chicken, while red wines go with red meats”.
In Italy, Wine is serious business. Italians strictly regulate their wines within four classifications, from tightly regulated superior wines to lenient regulations and creative innovation.
The purpose of the classifications may be obvious – to protect the quality and authenticity of Italian Wines.
You use this classification system to help make your wine choices.
As a beginner, you could use this classification to determine how to identify wine of sufficient quality to match your budget.
I list the four classifications immediately below for your convenience.
01:- DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)
- DOCG is the strictest regulation level, which means that the following items get considered and regulated: – The wine’s output yield, composition, minimum alcohol content, and ageing periods.
- These wines are also tested for taste and chemically analysed before getting bottled.
- Know that in Italy, there are 74 DOCG designations
02:- DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata)
- DOC is the qualification of all classy wines. The following gets regulated: – the wine’s output yield, its provenance, its minimum alcohol content, minimum ageing periods and grape variety.
03:- VdT (Vino do Tavola)
- Table wine is what Italians drink every day that includes, by definition, some of the expensive wines and some more reasonably priced wines.
- The lowest quality wines exist in this category.
- Those wines that failed to conform to the above categories fall into this classification level.
- Know too that it’s not just the level of alcohol that the industry regulates, so too are the wine-making techniques similarly controlled.
04:- IGT (Indicazione Georgafica Tipica)
- IGT wines get classified as exceptional value for the cost.
- This classification has fewer quality restrictions and more expansive territories, and grape ratios are not regulated.
- This classification, introduced in 1992, holds wines of the quality between DOC and VdT and has the purpose of keeping certain wines, known for their unique quality, out of the Table Wine (VdT) category.
So armed with the information above, you’re now in a position to know how to choose a quality wine based on the prevailing category system designed to make it so you can do just that.
Immediately below is a list of Italian Wines you could seek out if you want to try them at home.
Rather than figure it all out from the beginning, why not try these Italian Wines for yourself. Some of the names give a clue of where you could obtain them.
Know that some places sell mini versions of their wines also.
- NV Morisons, The Best Prosecco Veneto
- NV Tesco Finest Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene, Veneto
- 2020 Soave, Veneto
- 2020 Auretta, Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
- 2020 Garganega/Pinot Brigio, Veneto
- 2020 Brio, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
- 2020 Piccozza, Pinot Blanco, Alto Adige
- 2020 Tesco Finest Gavi, Piedmont
- 2020 Masseria Pietrosa Verduca Puglia
- 2020 La Gioiosa, Rose Millesimato, Prosecco Veneto
- 2020 Surpass, Barbera Passito Piemonte
- 2020 M&S Found, Ribolla Gialla Venezia Giulia
- 2019 Tesco Finest Valpolicella Ripasso Vaneto
- 2019 Tesco Finest Soave Classico Superiore
- 2019 Taste The Difference Maremma Toscana
- 2019 Morisons The Best Negroamaro, Puglia
- 2019 La Masseria del Borgo, Primitivo Manduria, Puglia
- 2018 Lianto Primitivo Salento, Puglia
So you can see you’ve seen a label close up; here’s an example of Italian wine.
And the matching backside of the label is shown here.
Finally – How To Choose A First Class Italian Wine For Beginners
We’ve covered a lot in this short article, the point of which was to expose you to some aspects of Italian wine sufficient for you to tell how to know when you come across a great Italian wine.
As per our plan, here’s hoping that it was quick to read and that you learned a little.
The previous article in the series: An Introduction To Wine For Occasional Drinkers – First Glass Series
The following article in the series: How To Choose A First Class French Wine – For Beginners
Any comments or thoughts, be sure to leave them in the comments section below.
How To Choose An Italian Wine – Streetdirectory. https://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/beverages/wine/how_to_choose_an_italian_wine.html