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Italian Wine


In Italy, a meal is not complete without wine. It is served both in the finest restaurants and the humblest homes; in fact, ordering wine in a restaurant can cost less than a bottle of mineral water.

The reason lies in Italy’s 2000 native grape varieties, grown in varied terrain (the quality of the soil, even from one vineyard to another, creates subtle changes in flavour). Because of the diversity, and availability, of wines, there is a bottle to complement any dish, and any budget.

In general, there are two types of Italian wines: table wines, which are sold in large jugs, and the more expensive, high-end wines. Table wines are generally fruity, with a touch of sweetness and are light to medium bodied.

Three of the most popular and reasonably priced table wines are Lambrusco (particularly the Riunite Lambrusco, and the Ca de Medici Terra Calda Vino Frizzante Rosso), the Chianti, and the Bera Dolcetto d'Alba — ideal for creamy pasta dishes, robust meats, and barbecues. The Brunello, on the other hand, goes well with seafood and broiled meats.

For a bolder flavour, there is the Amarone, made from partially dried grapes and enhanced with cherry, raisins, plums and spice. Look for Masi, Speri, and Allegrini. Most Italian red wines need to breathe for a few hours.

For delicate pastas and fish, there is the Orvieto, the Pinot Grigio, and the Vericchio. Soave, a dry white wine, works well with salads. Champagne lovers can also try the Prosecco, a sparkling white that complements egg dishes, light pastas, and even dessert.

For special occasions, there are also special wines. This includes the Super Tuscans — a broad spectrum of wines that are generally a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah — such as Viticcio, Antinori, and Tenuta dell'Ornellaia. Other favourites include The Barolo, a Piemontese red that resembles a French burgundy, and the Barbaresco.


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