Choosing a great bottle of wine suited for your taste is not easy. When you start to learn a new hobby, there is a lot of information and experience that you need to gather. The value of a bottle of wine does not depend on the value of money. The true value of a bottle of wine for us is in its spiritual value. The wine glass can bring joy to the experience of life.
This is an abstract product but it is also a scientific product. Therefore wine has an extremely diverse selection. The process of choosing wine is an extremely diverse and complex story. There is a lot of information for us to find out.
However, to experience a perfect combination of food and drink, let’s look at Italian cuisine. It is an extremely rich country in tradition and history. Besides the world-famous landscapes, Italy is a poetic place. Italian wine is the ideal gateway for you to enjoy what the Italians call dolce vita – the sweet life.
This blog post will focus on the topic of Italian wine. You can think of this as a wine guide for beginners.
History of Italian Wine
From more than 4,000 years ago in history, alcohol has been present in this country. Originating from the small nation of Oenotria, literally translated as the land of wine, grapes have been grown, harvested, and processed into wine. Before the Greeks arrived at the Italian mission, the wine was a part of the lives of the people of this land.
Following the Greeks was the culture of the Romans. They had a particular interest in wine production techniques. Accompanied by the growth of Christianity and the importance of wine in rituals, the art of winemaking in Italy continues to be developed. In the 19th century, many grape growing areas in northern Europe were devastated by the phylloxera beetle. Many Italian wine farms were shut down and destroyed. The wine farms after these insects were replanted with prioritizing quantity over quality. The amount of wine produced during this period made Italy a low-cost supplier of decent quality wine.
It was not until the 1960s that there were laws governing wine quality and branding according to modern standards. Today, Italian wine is extremely diverse and more world-renowned than ever. Despite the many losses caused by the phylloxera bug, Italian wine farms still produce extremely diverse varieties of wine grapes.
The Tradition of Wine Making
The diversity of Italian wine is due to the political diversity of the states of Italy during the country’s history. Each region and province of Italy exists independently with its own culinary tradition and accompanying its own wines. Italy is blessed with an ideal climate for growing grape wine. There are many mountains, hills, rocks and sunlight. These are ideal climatic conditions for wine farms.
Wine culture and culinary traditions of Italy are divided into 2 regions, North and South. Differences from climate, geography, and culture between the North and the South resulted in many wines with different characteristics.
The north of Italy produces more quality wines with a more advanced production process as well as the specificity of the wines. In the North, the most important region in the world of wine production is Piemonte, located in the northwest, and Tuscany, in central Italy. Other significant wine-producing regions are Veneto, Friuli and Alto Aldridge.
Southern Italy produces more average quality wines. They are lesser in quality compared to their Northern counterparts and their wines are often labeled as table wine. Accompanied by a large amount of production, the wine in southern Italy has a more rustic and casual flavor than the wine of the North. In the south, two important wine-producing regions are Campania and Sicily.
In addition, it is later to go to smaller regions in Italy with different wine characteristics. Before introducing to you the wine regions spread across this country, we will learn about the criteria for evaluating and ranking the wines.
Italian Wine Classification System
Ở Ý, có 4 phân hạng rượu, đó là VDT, IGT, DOC, và DOCG. Các phân hạng này được quyết định bởi nhà nước để phân biệt vùng và chất lượng của rượu vang ý.
Vino da Tavola Wine (VDT).
Translated directly is table wine. It can be understood as a common wine, used with daily meals. VDT is the first and lowest level of classification in Italian wines. This wine classification does not require the producer to state the type of grape or the processing of the product.
Alcohols in this category have few quality regulations in the manufacturing process. Usually, the wine with the VDT standard is not too lively, the alcohol content is low and has a little sour taste.
However, do not let this prevent you from trying the wines of this classification. There is some alcohol with this label but simply the quality ingredient of the place of manufacture does not qualify for a higher classification. There are some famous bottles with the VDT label.
- Tignanello Vdt, of Tuscany region.
- Antinori, a delicious red wine
- Sangiovese Vdt, from a famous Tuscany manufacturer
The Tuscany region in central Italy produces VDT wines of good quality. Some winemakers in Piemonte have also been experimenting with winemaking in this classification.
Indicazione geografica tipica (IGT).
This classification translates into signs of basic production land. More simply, the label identifies the place of production. Before 1992 there was nothing special about the wine in this category. It can be said that IGT wines are good quality but lack some criteria to become the wine of the 2 higher grades (DOC, DOCG). Unlike VDT wines, IGT wine producers are allowed to put the year of wine production on their labels.
There are currently about 125 wines of the IGT category.
Vino Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC).
This classification translates into a “controlled area/place of production”. Currently, Italy has 29 wines in this category. Wine of DOC class is produced and verified with many regulations to ensure high quality. These standards include elements such as:
- Place of origin of grape varieties
- Grape varieties used
- The ratio of grape varieties used in the production process
- The alcohol content in alcohol
- Planting form and harvest
- Form of wine storage
- There are many other standards …
Harvest time takes 62 hours on 1 hectare of land. This is a factor that affects the quality of alcohol. Enclosed with the maximum yield standard is to harvest the fresh grapes after each crop.
Vino Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).
DOCG means “Wine Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin”. This is the highest Italian wine classification. Currently, there are only 74 Italian wines in this category. The test elements of this rating are basically the same as those of the DOC but are more stringent. Typically, some factors include:
The grape production area/land is smaller
The annual harvest of grapes and wine is lower than that of DOC producers.
Accompanied by the approval of an inspection and wine tasting board to get this class mark.
Harvesting takes up to 250 hours per hectare of land. The process of harvesting wine from DOCG wine farms is extremely difficult. Because of the special geological factors that create high-quality wine, these areas are often located on hills, mountains, at the foot of volcanoes or along bays. The majority of the time, producers harvest the highest quality grape wines manually. First, the reason is that the machine harvester cannot be used on these unique geographic landscapes. Secondly, the machine might damage the vine rig.
Italian Wine Label
The labels on these bottles help users better understand the origin and characteristics of the wine. Classifications such as DOCG and DOC are only meaningful when the influence from the climatic characteristics of the place of production directly on the wine is clear. The state makes efforts to preserve grapes for winemaking and wine production, climatic and geological characteristics of Italian wines.
After reading this article you can understand more about the details on wine selection. Wine type, region/place of production, wine classification, and manufacturer. Please continue to experience, taste, and choose for your ideal bottle of wine.