Italy produces and exports wine more than any other country. It is also famous for a great variety of wine types. Italian winemakers create wine of an undeniable class in every region, north and south. Their wine does not derive only from native vines but also from a complete range of international varieties.
Italian wine regions can be divided into four large groups: the Northwest, the Northeast, Central Italy, South and Islands.
The northwestern types of wine vary greatly as, like the topography, the soil and climate vary to the extremes in these regions. Since the mountains take a major share of the space, vineyards are confined and wine is a commodity that must be either financially or spiritually rewarding. These Italian wine regions produce about twenty percet of Italy's total wine. Smaller regions inside the big Northwest Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta and Liguria prefer their own vines and tend to make wine in their own style. Piedmont's host of worthy natives includes Barbera, Dolcetto, Grignolino, Freisa, Cortese, Arneis, Brachetto, the Canelli clone of Moscato and Nebbiolo.
The vines of Valle d'Aosta often have French names, Petit Rouge, Gros Vien, Blanc de Valdigne due to the Savoyard history of the region.
Liguria favors the local Rossese, Pigato and Vermentino, while working with its own version of Dolcetto, known as Ormeasco.
Lombardy, the most populous of all Italian wine regions, ranks only twelfth in the wine production, but it really boast a major concentration of Nebbiolo vines.
Emilia-Romagna used to be a leading exporter of wines with shipments to America of sweet and bubbly Lambrusco. However, lately the growers have been concentrating on a distinctive type of wine from the hills ( Albana, Sangiovese of Romagna, Barbera, Cabernet, Chardonnay and Sauvignon).
The three northeastern Italian wine regions are known as Tre Venezie or simply Venezie.
Two of Italian best wine schools are located in Venezie (at San Michele all'Adige in Trentino and Conegliano in Veneto).
The growers here work with an amazing assortment of native and imported vines and produce a majority of Italy's fine white wine and a multitude of red.
The types of wine, produced in these regions, are Valpolicella, Bardolino, derived from the native varieties; Merlot, Cabernet, the Pinots, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Tocai, Prosecco, Verduzzo, Refosco, Schioppettino, Ribolla Gialla and Raboso.
Today, the Central regions, led by Tuscany with Chianti, Brunello and the other types of noble red wine are the forefront of the Italian winemaking. This large region is divided by the Apennines. To the west, on the Tyrrhenian side, Tuscany, Latium and landlocked Umbria lie. To the east, on the Adriatic side, Marches, Abruzzi and Molise lie.
The perfect Italian wine is represented by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, the Pinots, Chardonnay and Sauvignon, as well as by Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Umbria's Sagrantino, Grechetto and Latium's Cesanese.
The regions have a rather neat and straight-forward structure of the vines and wine. The vineyards are almost all planted on the hills, running in a tortuous strip between the sea and the mountains, where the climate is tempered by cool air currents.
The name "Oenotria", the land of wine, was given to the South and Islands Italian wine region in the times of ancient Greeks, who brought there vines and they are still planted today under such names as Aglianico, Greco, Malvasia, Gaglioppo and Moscato. The Romans in their turn gave them Falernum, Caecubum, Mamertinum and other types of heady wine.
These regions produce nearly forty percent of Italian wine. Studied techniques of the grape growing and the methods of the temperature controlled fermentation and maturation in oxygen-free conditions have permitted a production of dry, balanced wine that can be attractively light and fruity.
Italian wine is famous all over the world but the most popular one is Tuscany wine and Chianti wine. Tuscany's modern renaissance in wine began in Chianti and rapidly spread to take in the Mediterranean coast.
Much of the progress has come with the classical red wine, based on the native Sangiovese vine, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Carmignano. Chianti is still a dominant force in the Tuscan viniculture and has been rated as the most Italian wine for much time.
The main attraction for a visitor in this region is its many wineries and medieval towns: Castello di Brolio, Castello di Verrazzano, Castello di Vicchiomaggio, Monsanto and Villa Vignamaggio.
Now, when you have knowledge about Italian wine regions and the kinds of wine they produce, it will not be a problem for you to get a name of "professional" among your friends and colleagues.