Italy is a country of delicious food, wine, and culture. And yet, few wine connoisseurs place any of its wines on the top of their lists. The country’s native grape, the Sangiovese, is an acquired taste, and its wines are not well known in parts of the world. But, this is where you come in. You have just landed in a place where the wine is more than just drinkable. It is elegant and crisp, delicate and complex.
White wines are beautiful, elegant and crisp—just like the grapes they are made from. White wines are made from grapes that are not colored by sunlight, so that they retain their natural color and taste. This means that white wines are often made from grapes that are picked very early in the season, which results in wines that are more fruity and sweet than regular red wines. White wines are often made from grapes that are more cold-tolerant than red wines, which allows the grapes to be picked more quickly and have time to develop over a longer period of time.
The grape is the most widely planted fruit in the Western hemisphere, and its popularity is growing worldwide. But, what makes a grape so popular? Does it have to come from the very best vineyards be be full of the most expensive grapes to produce the best wines? Do you have to have a bottle that costs hundreds of dollars? Are red grapes the only ones that make a good wine? We find these and much more in our blog post on the most popular indigenous grapes of Central Italy, one of the most important vitis vitis regions in the world.. Read more about where did wine originate and let us know what you think.Central Italy is home to classic white wines made from local grapes that produce dry, delicious wines with character and energy. The best varieties, such as the best varieties of Verdicchio from the Marche region, have a remarkable longevity.
In the past, overselecting grapes to increase their number has damaged the reputation of many of these fantastic wines. Today, however, quality-conscious producers make elegant and useful white wines that should be on every wine lover’s radar.
Giovana Madonia winery in Emilia Romagna / Photo courtesy of Giovana Madonia
From the southern part of the Emilia-Romagna region, where northern Italy meets the central part of the peninsula, it is the region’s most important white wine.
Known as Albana di Romagna until 2011, this wine is made from at least 95% local Albana grapes, although most producers use this variety exclusively. It is grown in a varied area of hills and valleys stretching between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea. The region has a variety of soils, including clay and limestone, and cool sea breezes temper the Mediterranean climate. Secco is perhaps best known for its sweet wines and passitos made from wilted grapes, but the dry versions range from crisp and simple to enveloping, complex and fresh. Typical aromas include wildflowers, stone fruit and honey, while flavors range from yellow peach to apricot to bitter almond.
Recommended Manufacturer: Celli, Giovanna Madonia, Tre Monti
Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Tenuta Calcinaie vineyard / Photo courtesy of Tenuta Calcinaie
Tuscany is famous for its structured red wines, such as Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico, but also for the white wines of Vernaccia di San Gimignano. It was bottled at noble courts throughout Europe in the early 19th century and is one of the most legendary Italian wines.
The production area of Vernaccia di San Gimignano is located on hills between 656 and 1312 metres above sea level in the municipality of San Gimignano, in the province of Siena. The soils are marine deposits of Pliocene origin and consist of yellow sand and clay. It is not uncommon to come across ancient marine fossils during walks in the vineyards. The sandy soils give Vernaccia di San Gimignano a spicy note.
Made from at least 85% Vernaccia grapes, this dry, subtly flavored white wine comes in two styles. The pure version is fresh, floral, fruity and ready to drink immediately, while the more complex Riserva versions take on notes of honey and flint minerals as they mature.
Recommended Manufacturer: Montenidoli, Tenuta Le Calcinaie, Teruzzi & Puthod
Once famous for its unique green amphorae and fish-shaped bottles, and not for the wines they contained, Marche’s most important variety, Verdicchio, is now one of Italy’s great white wines.
The wines made from this variety range from fresh and light to complex and long-lasting. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, the larger of the two appellations, grows in the hills surrounding the town of Jesi in the province of Ancona. The wine is available in different varieties, including Classico, Classico Superiore and Riserva. The wine growing area has calcareous, clayey and chalky soils and a relatively dry maritime climate influenced by the Adriatic Sea.
The small region of Verdicchio di Matelica, further inland, has a more continental climate and produces lively wines with even higher acidity. There is also a Riserva version that ages well.
The quality has been declining for decades. Verdicchio is associated with cheap, uninteresting wines for immediate consumption. Legendary winemaker Ampelio Bucci is known for pioneering quality winemaking in the early 1980s with his Villa Bucci Riserva. Made from low-yield grapes and aged in large Slavic barrels, it has incredible elegance, complexity and longevity.
Verdicchio premium is characterized by floral and caustic aromas of citrus fruits, with flavors of yellow stone fruit and white almonds. The best samples from Castelli di Jesi also have spicy mineral notes, and the best samples from Matelica are characterized by intense concentration and energy.
Recommended Manufacturer: Bucci, Colle Stefano, Umani Ronchi
Harvesting in Decugnano dei Barbi in Orvieto / Photo: Nick Corniche
Umbria, known as the green heart of Italy, is the only landlocked region in the central part of the country, bordering Tuscany, Marche and Lazio. The region is known for its full-bodied red wines, such as the Montefalco Sagrantino, but also produces lively and refreshing white wines. Orvieto, the region’s most famous white wine, is named after the town where it is produced. The wines are produced in both sweet and dry styles.
The Oriveto Classico designation of origin, the original production area, extends from Umbria to Lazio. The wines are a blend of Procanico, a Trebbiano clone, and Grecetto. The soils of Orvieto include areas of tuff of volcanic origin in the south, clay in the centre, sand with marine fossils in the north-east and silty alluvial soil along the River Paglia.
The dry Orvieto is crisp, with exotic fruit, peach sensations and zesty acidity. The Classico Superiore versions have a creamy texture and fresh acidity, while the wines from the volcanic soils around Lake Bolsena have salty notes.
Recommended Manufacturer: Barberani, Decognano dei Barbi, Marchesi Antinori Castello della Sala
Regions : Marche, Abruzzo.
Pecorino is native to central Italy and thrives in the rolling hills around Ascoli Piceno in the Marche region and in neighbouring Abruzzo.
Nearly extinct in the early 1980s, this grape was saved by local pioneers like winemaker Guido Cocci Grifoni. After several years of experimentation, Grifoni brought out its first crop of 100% Pecorino in 1990.
More and more wineries in both regions are producing this wine, thanks to its intense floral aromas of acacia and jasmine, its aromas of white stone fruit, its creamy texture and its spicy mineral notes. Tastings of old vintages prove that with the right care, Pecorino can age remarkably well.
Recommended Manufacturer: Cantina Tollo, Clara Marcelli, Tenuta Cocci Grifoni
WineTrebbiano d’Abruzzo harvest at Emidio Pepe / Photo by Anca Emanuela Teaca via Alamy
Trebbiano is generally a working grape variety, widespread throughout Italy and producing unimpressive wines at best. However, one clone, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, has been grown in this region for thousands of years. The growing season is extremely long, which ensures complexity and longevity.
Although up to 15% other white grapes may be added, the best varieties are generally made exclusively from Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. The best examples have an elegance, depth and minerality that develops with age.
Recommended Manufacturer: Amorotti, Emidio Pepe, Valentini
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most famous white wine made in Italy?
The most famous white wine made in Italy is Chardonnay.
What kind of wine is crisp white?
A crisp white wine is a dry, white wine that has a light, refreshing taste.
How many Italian grapes are indigenous?
There are many different varieties of Italian grapes, but the most common are: – Trebbiano (also known as Tuscany) – Sangiovese (also known as Chianti) – Montepulciano – Chardonnay – Pinot Grigio – Pinot Nero – Pinot Bianco – Sauvignon Blanc – Vermentino – Primitivo – Malvasia – Trebbiano di Lugana – Vermentino di Sardegna – Vermentino di Gallura – Vermentino di Cagliari – Vermentino di Elba – Vermentino di Sardegna – Vermentino di Gallura – Vermentino di Cagliari – Vermentino di Elba – Vermentino di Corsica
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