Italian Wine List 101
We’ve all been there – you sit down to enjoy a meal at a new restaurant with a group of friends, and the waiter hands you all menus and fills your water glass. He then sets down on the table a hefty wine list – a binder full of sheets in plastic sleeves, a booklet of absurdly fine print, an oversized laminated card of indecipherable names, places, and prices. Somehow, you’re expected to quickly digest pages of information, and make a choice that will satisfy a group of individuals with different tastes, who will be eating different meals, all without missing a beat in the conversation.
And for all its merits, Italian wine can often be the most complex of all to understand. Italy has at least 550 native grapes – and by some estimates, up to twice as many more that haven’t yet been documented – which is more than the number of grapes native to Spain, Greece, and France combined. Add to that 20 different regions, innumerable microclimates, and a dizzying number of denominations, and the result can be difficult for even a seasoned wine pro to digest.
As a basic introduction, Wine Folly has created this handy guide to deciphering an Italian wine list, by breaking down the four pieces of information contained in a typical menu description of a wine: producer, wine type, region, and vintage.
Producer - Knowing who the producer is - or even just what type of producer it is - will help you understand if the wine is rare, easy to find, organically produced, etc.
Type of Wine - A producer can give his or her wine its own unique name, but Italian wines are often named for a region, or a sub-region, which is classified according to certain production rules. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi must contain a minimum of 85% Verdicchio with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes rounding out the rest.
Region - Italy has 20 regions, and each one specializes in certain grapes or wine types. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is a traditional, and highly prized, wine of the Le Marche region.
Vintage - Like all produce in Italy, the climate conditions of each year affects the wine; and for red wines, generally the tannins mellow with age.
Read more at: https://baronepizziniblog.com/2016/07/08/italian-wine-list-101/