For too long Italy rested on its laurels of an illustrious winemaking past and wine tourism promised much but often flattered to deceive.
However, more than ever before, now is the time to enjoy Italy and its fabulous wine in all its glory as not only have winemakers learned how to get the most out of their remarkable array of indigenous grape varieties and tremendous terroir, but Italy’s great gastronomy is providing the most delightful pairing. Add to this the sheer beauty of Italian wine country and the flourishing agriturismo movement, which takes visitors to the very heart of the agricultural action, and Italy has an unbeatable formula for fantastic wine holidays.
Italy and its wine industry, which depending on the given vintage is often the world’s biggest wine producer as it was in 2015, has at last made the most of the formidable foundations laid by the Romans. Winemakers have cleaned up their acts considerably and also their cellars by bringing the industry into the 21st century and are now making cleaner, purer and rounder wines with the help of modern winemaking innovations and diligent vineyard work. For example, temperature controlled fermentation allows the freshness and fruitiness to come through, as opposed to rustic flavours, while the use of modern presses enables the extraction high quality juice to ferment into fine wine. With the wine now at a peak in terms of quality and while the scenery and gastronomy had never been in question, Italy offers the most rewarding experiences in the way of wine tourism.
Italy offers a huge diversity of grapes and wine styles, as well as distinctive and delectable regional dishes that appear to have been tailor made for the wine. It may sound like a cliché, but Italy really is incredibly diverse, thanks in part to it having being formed out of the remnants of a number of fiercely independent city states, such as Rome, Florence, Venice, Sienna, Milan, Perugia and Genoa. These one-time city states continue to be massively influenced by their proximity to nearby vineyards whose wines have long been a central part of local culture.
The northern, Alpine provinces of Alto Adige and Trentino were part of Austria-Hungary until after World War 1, and are autonomous to this day – arriving in these important wine regions is like stepping into another country architecturally and gastronomically speaking. Pinot Grigio takes on new meaning and depth in Alto Adige’s awe-inspiring mountainous terrain with wines that have a magic mountain freshness and purity oozing out of them. Italy is full of options for adventurous wine lovers. Head south to the island of Sicily and scale the slopes of the active volcano of Mount Etna, the new El Dorado of volcanic wine, to check out the Carricante grape.
For something more familiar, there are also the classic wine holidays. Italy can do it all. While a trip to Tuscany is teeming with beautiful countryside and delicious dishes, its wine country is remarkably varied. Sip on a superb Super Tuscan or see how the Sangiovese- based blend varies between Chianti Classsico DOCG, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOCG and Brunello di Monltacino DOCG, among a host of many others appellations. White wine lovers are even guaranteed a good time in Tuscany, thanks to the vibrant high altitude whites from Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG from around the town of San Gimignano, often dubbed the ‘Medieval Manhattan’.
At Wine Paths, our team of local experts have their fingers on the pulse and organize private wine tours that take wine lovers to heart of Italian wine and on walking tours through the vineyards.
If you're interested in one of our Italy Wine Tours, please visit this link.
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