The Romans would say in vino veritas, or wine makes the truth come out, how true! Wine has been for centuries a key element in the Italian cuisine that perfectly accompanies all of our meals. Italy is the number one producer in the world of wine, thanks to precious Mediterranean climate.
The Aglianico grape variety was probably brought to the south of Italy by the Greeks who occupied the south during the 8th century B.C. The term "Aglianico" is a variation of the word "Hellenico," which was changed to Aglianico during the Spanish rule of the XV century. Currently this grape variety is found in the southern regions of Italy and islands where the warmest climate is found. Since it is a grape that ripens late in the season, it needs to be in the heat for the longest time possible. It surely could never survive in the central or northern regions of the peninsula.
The black grape is very popular in the region of Basilicata, where the Aglianico del Vulture DOCG is made. It is also grown all throughout Campania where different wine varieties are produced including the Taurasi DOCG from the province of Avellino and the Taburno Rosso DOC in the province of Benevento. Other than the DOC/DOCG wines, Aglianico is even used for IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wines, or rather wines that are less valuable since DOC/DOCG wines are a require strict production discipline. The wines made from the Aglianico grapevine are a ruby red and turn brick color with aging. They are rather fruity with notes of blackberries and prunes with hints of violet. These wines are structured with soft tannins and have a good level of acidity. They are perfectly paired with first course meat sauce pasta dishes, roasted meats and aged cheeses.
Nero D'Avola is a typical Sicilian grape variety that is actually starting to being cultivated outside the region of Sicily. To write about Nero D'Avola means to write about Sicily. The highly widespread wine of the southern island incorporates the basic characteristics of the main red DOC/DOCG and IGT wines. It usually is created together with other grape varieties like Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah, to ensure it to be full of charm and elegance. Nero D'Avola is a deep, dark and intense ruby red wine. When held up to the nose scents liquorices, cloves, blueberries and wild berries can be identified. When tasted, the wine fills your palette with a soft, fruit sensation with hints of raspberries and even bitter chocolate. Nero D'Avola goes well with rich first dishes (such as lasagna, cannelloni, spaghetti, etc) and with roasted meats.
The grape variety Vermentino is a sub-variety of Malvasia, which arrived in Italy from Spain toward the end of the 14th century. It probably arrived first in Liguria, then expanded to Sardegna (where the best version of it is foundâthe Gallura wine) to finally end up in the coastal Tyrrhenian and Adriatic regions. The wines made from this grape variety are usually a gold color (even often a straw-colored yellow) with green reflections. The wine offers fresh and delicate aromas with notes of wild herbs. The taste of the wine has a hint of salt with light touches of peach. It contains a great acidity level and structure, which lends it great for grilled fish dishes, fish soups and white meats.
For many years, Pinot Grigio has been the best selling wine in the United States and in Germany. The Pinot Grigio grape variety is found in every Italian region, however it originally arrived in Friuli towards the end of the 19th century from France (a genetic mutation from the Pinot Noir variety). The region of Veneto is probably the region that produces the greatest quantity of it and exports it the most. A rather premature grape, Pinot Grigio adapts easily in different climate conditions however offers different tastes according to the weather and terrain. It is usually straw-colored yellow and has a fresh scent to it with hints of green apple and coriander. Pinot Grigio has a nice body, holds a great persistent flavor in your mouth and compliments delicate dishes such as risotto, white meats and fresh cheeses.
The grape varieties and wines in Italy are endless. As Italians, we are so fortunate to have this valuable essentiality part of our daily life.