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An Introduction to Italian Wines Available at AQUA Forte – Part 2

Sep 2, 2019
Italian Wine

AQUA Forte currently offers wines from 9 regions, including the most important wine producing zones. In Part 1 of the blog, we journeyed through the most famous regions of Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany. In this second part, we will talk about the other regions and some of the lesser known wines that you can try at AQUA Forte.

Italy is one of the most famous wine regions of the world. Thanks to its climate, virtually any part of Italy can produce wine and because of the variation of climate from north to south, from mountains to seaside, the variety of wines found in Italy is one of the largest in the world. Italy grows almost 400 grape varieties, about one third of the world total number of varieties. In the chart, all major wine regions of Italy are shown.

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Venture further into wine terroirs that’s lesser known and more unique as you read the 2nd part of the article.

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Trentino – Alto Adige Wines

As Italy’s northernmost region in the Alpine region, Trentino is one of the only 2 Italian regions with an entirely mountainous territory, the other being Valle d’Aosta. With one of the coldest climates in the country, due to its topography and latitude, vines can grow only in the valleys between the mountain ranges and especially in the main Adige Valley running through the region’s centre. The region produces some of the best white and sparkling wines in Italy. The territory around Trento (the Region’s capital city) was the first in Italy to be recognized as DOC (controlled origin denomination) for Spumante (the Italian counterpart for champagne) produced with Classic method (méthode champenoise).

Trentino – Alto Adige Sparkling Wines

Ferrari Brut Trento DOC

Ferrari Brut Trento DOC

Ferrari winery is now the most widely recognized producer of quality sparkling wine in Italy, thanks to Giulio Ferrari who, in the late 19th century, believed that the region around Trento would be ideal to produce quality wine similar to Champagne and started planting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Trento DOC (as the wine is now officially named) is different from Prosecco. It is fermented in the bottle with the classic method and can reach levels of quality and complexity to compete with most champagne wines. This Brut is produced with 100% chardonnay grapes. Offering a fresh and intense bouquet, with broad fruity notes of ripe golden apples, white flowers and a delicate scent of yeast, deriving from aging in the bottle for more than two years. The palate is well-balance and harmonious, with a subtle hint of ripe fruit and attractive hints of crusty bread.

Trentino – Alto Adige Wine Wines

Alois LageDer Estate Gewürztraminer 2017

Alois LageDer Estate Gewürztraminer 2017

One of the most popular grapes in Alto Adige is Gewürztraminer. This particular one owes its character to a combination of grapes from two wine growing areas: the warm sites around Termeno Lake which contributes to the wine’s substance, body and sweetness, while the higher altitudes and cooler climate of the mountains confer finesse, freshness and a fine aromatic structure. The nose is pronounced, aromatic of fresh ripen yellow fruits and spices The palate is medium-full bodied, with juicy pronounced minerality and a long after-taste. The wine is perfect as an aperitif and it pairs well with flavoured starters, cheese, pastas and fish.  

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Lombardy Wines

This region is famous as the commercial center of Italy, with capital city Milan and its fashion, furniture and design districts, scattered in the areas around Italy’s second largest city. However, in the mountain areas and the hilly areas between Como Lake and Garda Lake, some exceptional wines are produced, above all the sparkling wines form the world-famous Franciacorta territory. As for Trento DOC mentioned earlier, this is the other famous DOC territory for Italian sparkling wines produced with classic method, which can compete with Champagne.

Lombardy Sparkling Wines

Bellavista Alma Gran Cuvée Franciacorta Brut

Bellavista Alma Gran Cuvée Franciacorta Brut

As discussed for Trento DOC, this sparkling wine is produced with classic method, but in this case with a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It is a cuvee, so non-vintage wine, which means that the best and consistent quality is obtained by blending the winery’s wines under the careful direction of the winemaker, following a long and prestigious tradition. The nose is characterized by a strong minerality. It’s wide and inviting, with hints of ripe sweet fruits, meringue, pastry and candied citrus zests. The palate is dry, with creamy sensation, crispy, and a texture that combine elegance and lightness. Due to its freshness, it is a perfect aperitif but thanks to its complexity and body it can easily pair with a full meal, especially creamy pasta dishes, pork, fish and cheese.

Friuli Venezia Giulia Wines

This region is similar to Veneto in terms of climate and geographic position, situated between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. We find here most of the grapes found in Veneto and it produces Prosecco and other popular wines that we talked about in the Veneto section in the previous Blog. However, Friuli is famous for its Chardonnay, a very popular grape worldwide, but not widely grown in Italy (except for sparkling wines). This versatile grape gets in this region its best expression due to the cool climate and this is now one of leading Chardonnay regions outside Bourgogne (France).

Friuli Venezia White Wines

Attems Chardonnay Venezia Giulia IGT 2015

Attems Chardonnay Venezia Giulia IGT 2015

This wine is produced by blending wines that are matured in stainless steel tanks with a small portion of oak matured wine. This produces a rich, luminous straw-yellow colour. The wine gradually releases its aromas, initially banana and apricot, followed by subtle hints of tropical fruit and summer flowers, with herbaceous notes of sage completing its impressive aromatic mosaic. Vibrant and well balanced on the palate, the wine boasts full flavours and superb elegance with a very crisp finish. The delicate frutiness and crispness of this Chardonnay pairs well with veal and cheese filled pastas, and poached fish.

Abruzzo Wines

This region hosts some of the highest mountains in the Apennines mountain range in central Italy and its climate is dictated by the influence of these mountains on the west and the Adriatic Sea on the east. It has a long wine producing tradition, although the mountains separated it from the Roman and Etruscans in the ancient times. Its most famous native grape and homonymous wine is definitely Montepulciano, that makes this region one of the biggest producers and exporters in Italy.

Abruzzo Red Wines

Emotivo Montepulciano 2016

Emotivo Montepulciano 2016

Montepulciano grapes produce deeply coloured wines with pepper and spice notes. Highly aromatic, tannic and with low acidity, the wine has earthy notes and a thick, almost syrup-like feel to taste. This young, approachable Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Emotivo offers aromas of Morell cherries, chocolate shavings, vanilla, dry tobacco and cedar with floral undertones. The palate is sweet and supple, with simple, rustic flavours of earth, spice and black cherry. With a smooth finish and enough acidity, the wine pairs perfectly with meaty, tomato-based pastas.

Sicily Wines

Sicily in the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea and Italy’s southernmost region. It has been the melting pot of several cultures from the Greeks to the Romans and from the Normans to the Arabs. Due to its position, it enjoys a warm climate with mild winters and hot dry summers, perfect for growing some of the island native grapes like Nero d’Avola, Cataratto and Grillo. The region was once referred to as Enotria by the Greeks, by virtue of its celebrated vocation to vine cultivation. The wines of Sicily reflect the intensity of the Mediterranean sun, the marine influence and its mountainous interior, dominated by Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. This region is getting more appreciation and quality has been constantly growing, bringing some of the Sicilian wines to the international stage.

Sicily Red Wines

Baglio del sole Nero d’Avola 2016

Baglio del sole Nero d’Avola 2016

Significant to Sicily, Nero d’Avola wines are the best expression of Sicilian territory with its dark ruby red tone. Generous aromas characteristic of this variety, reminiscent of red plums and with notes of Mediterranean scrub intersected with pleasant shades of black pepper. A wine that impresses with the integrity of the fruit, fleshy, rich, consistent with the typical characteristics of the variety. The wine is best enjoyed with spicy fish soups, grilled vegetables, first courses consisting of various meats, especially red meats, and grilled vegetables.

Sardinia Wines

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and just slightly smaller than Sicily. It’s famous for the amazing marine sceneries, with pristine white beaches and turquoise waters. The island’s interior is rugged and dry, sparsely covered with vegetation and mostly devoted to animal farming and growing olive trees. Maintaining vineyards is not as widely present as other Italian regions and its history is more recent. However, high quality wines are produced in the region and are gaining popularity. The two most famous grapes of Sardinia are Cannonau (otherwise known as Grenache) and Vermentino (known as Rolle in Corsica and France).

Sardinia White Wines

Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2015

Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2015

Argiolas is one of the most important wine estates in Sardinia that produce typical wines from native varietals. Established by Antonio Argiolas in 1938, it is now Sardinia’s leading wine producer.

Taking its name from the area, Costamolino is made from Vermentino; a native white grape variety. The grapes undergo a vinification process in stainless steel tanks to retain acidity after they’re harvested in August and September. A small percentage of the wine sees malolactic fermentation which defines the wine’s texture and roundness. The wine’s fragrance resembles that of macchia, a mix of evergreen herbs and shrubs that’s common to the Sardinian terroir. The wine offers aromatic hints of mint and pine, with sweet citrus and ripe stone fruit. The palate is first vibrant and textural, and then finishes with lingering acidity. The lemony acidity of the wine pairs with seafood starters or vegetable dishes but has enough depth to pair with spaghetti topped with bottarga.

Our collection of fine Italian wines offers you a sophisticated & sensory experience. Drive down to the historic Galle Fort to treat your taste buds to a collection of premium Italian wines available exclusively at AQUA Forte.

Do you want to know more about authentic Italian cuisine, best wine pairings and secret offers at AQUA Forte? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to-date!

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