WSET Bitesize – What are Italy’s main wine regions?

Uh hello everyone welcome uh welcome to This webinar on um Italy's main wine Regions uh my name's Ed Wicks I'm an Educator for the WSET wsct providing Fantastic uh qualifications in uh wine Spirits and sarkays across many Different levels um this session Um thank you for joining will be Recorded and available on demand after Our events um on our events Hub or our YouTube channel where you can find lots Of other recordings of previous uh Webinars to uh to enjoy Um during the webinar please submit any Questions uh using our q and a box And at the end of the webinar uh we will Answer as many of these as as possible And just to remind you we will be uh Sending out a short feedback survey After the webinar uh to uh to hear back On your thoughts to help us shape our Future events so without any further Ado Let's uh get into our our main webinar So little thing first of all about Myself I absolutely love Italian wines It was a kind of personal note for me I Was working in Italian restaurants about 15 years ago and it was the first time I Really got excited about wines and and Actually pushed me personally into going And studying my wsct level one about 15 Years ago so this is um very close to my Heart uh so let's let's get into it so a Little bit of History first

So uh why making in Italy goes back Thousands of years Um at least six thousand years we have Evidence of uh winemaking vessels that Archaeologists have discovered Um although these ancient civilizations Uh it would have been quite rudimentary And and not really in any kind of scale That we would be familiar with at all it Was later on uh with Greek civilizations Settling in in Italy Um that really Advanced wine making and And grape growing uh to to be able to Expand and kind of Um introduce new new techniques uh to Winemaking Um fast forward a few hundred years and The Romans Really took that mantle and further kind Of pushed what was possible Um and really kind of almost made wine Into a into almost what we'd recognize Today okay much more modern kind of Style and then the Roman Empire of Course moving throughout Europe helped Spread winemaking culture uh further Abroad into into countries like France And Spain or or helped update and Um and kind of improve the winemaking That was already there and in fact the Name you can see on this slide on Atria This was the name the ancient Greek Civilizations gave to Italy it means Land of the trained Vine so they

Recognized the quality potential of of Of this nation Um and and it had obviously come true as Uh Italy now is the largest producer of Wine out of Any Nation annually Um so ahead of France and Spain that VI For second place Um Italy produces the most out of Any Nation and it also has the largest Number of great varieties Italy wasn't Really unified as a single nation until Uh 1861. Um so a lot of the regions in Italy have A kind of Uniqueness about them uh kind of uh Their own their own identity and and Culture and this has meant that lots of Different grape varieties are to be Found with over 600 great varieties Documented and and possibly many Hundreds more that have yet to be Cataloged Um we're only going to be covering a Small number today just to get a little Taste of of Um of some of my favorites uh Italian Wines So first of all uh having a look at are The the the country as a whole and we've Highlighted some of the regions that We're going to be uh looking at today uh Italy obviously a long Peninsula Stretching in to the war Mediterranean Um is going to experience lots of

Different climates because of its its Length Um with typically temperatures in the North of the country being cooler other Than temperatures in the South Um but that's not the only thing that Kind of affects our climate we also have Lots of mountains both the Alps In the North and the appenite mountain Range that stretches down the entire Spine of the nation and altitude and the Higher up you are the cooler your uh Your Vineyard is going to be and this is Going to affect how our grapes ripen Giving us more opportunity to create new And different styles of wine okay so We'll be looking at first of all uh a White wine and then we're going to Really be focusing on a lot of of black Grape varieties Um So our first great variety Is courtesy and now courtesy Um is a wonderful grape variety for Those who love really refreshing styles Of white wine Um it has quite high acidity and really Gets your mouth watering giving you lots Of zesty citrus fruits Aromas okay but It also has a really nice kind of Delicate floral note Um lots of Blossom and elderflower type Aromas uh to this wine so it has very Attractive

Um kind of aromatics to it as well this Is a great variety That we're going to find in the north West of the country in peer months uh The foot of the mountains this kind of Translates into English And Peter Monte has Um lots of mountain ranges both the North to the west and to the South and In the mountains to the South we have a Town called Garvey now cortezi does grow Widely throughout pyramonte but it's Where Um these mountains that cool our Vineyards allow us to make even fresher And more refreshing styles of Cortez and Garvey Is my top tip it pairs absolutely Wonderfully with Um foods that are typically quite high In fat so maybe Seafood some oily fish Would be fantastic or fried foods would Be very good as well so an absolutely a Fantastic refreshing white wine from the Uh from the north Of Italy there And we're gonna go jumping straight into A black grape variety now Uh with nebiolo and this is a great Variety that has Great potential for producing really Complex Uh red wines Um we have really ripe red fruits uh in

Quality nebulos but we can also get some Floral notes as well so it can smell Like roses and herbs also so we can have Some like dried herbal flavors as well Really adding to the depth of the flavor Of this grape variety it has notably Very high levels of acidity and very High levels of tannin as well giving it Quite a full body Um and often typically I would say wine Makers are going to age our nebiolo Based wines For quite a long time in Oak barrels and This is going to give us more flavor Um Oak barrels give us sweet spices such As vanilla and clove flavors But it's also going to smooth out uh the The body of our nebiolos Now there are many famous examples of of Nebiota the two uh most famous are uh Found again in piermonte this is native To to this area of Italy Um barolo and barbaresco Both are phenomenal wines Um very premium wines unfortunately that Does often translate into quite a high Price for uh the bottles but they are Absolutely delicious and barolo is Perhaps the more famous of these two uh These two small regions in piermonte Um but barbaresco is for many people uh Equally as good it just produces less Each year than barolo so it's perhaps Less well known and less less widely

Known Both these wines will by law have to be Made from 100 nebula And we'll both have to spend several Years maturing before release to again Help smooth out the wines texture And to also help come increase Complexity in the wine as they start Developing flavors getting dried fruit Characteristics and some Savory notes as Well So absolutely fantastic unfortunately uh Can sometimes hurt your uh your wine Purchasing budget if you if you get a Few of these they're they're not Unfortunately cheap Um but for a special occasion uh very Worth it in in my opinion We're going to talk about another Black Grape variety now from the same Region that thankfully is much more Friendly to your wine purchasing budget Uh Barbera It also has some lovely fresh red fruit Characteristics lots of ripe cherries Plums uh sometimes even kind of like Raspberries uh cranberries and so on I Can also in some examples have a really Nice kind of spicy element to it with Lots of kind of Freshly milled black peppercorns This is another wine that has lots of Acidity But unlike nebiolo

It has far fewer tannins and this can be Really Um A real Um fantastic thing for those who prefer Wines that are maybe a little bit more Easy drinking a little less aggressive On their pallets uh sometimes a bit more Smoother and lighter in body so it's a Really good Counterpoint So a lot of the nebiolo-based wines of The same uh it's the same area whereas Nebioto is is big Tough Um and sometimes uh quite aggressive With its tannins Barbara being soft Smooth and quite easy drinking And it is found in the same kind of Areas That Um that nebiolo is found so just next Door to the the regions of barolo and Barbaresco is uh is quite a large area Actually of Barbera the Asti uh around The town of Asti and being a larger area Under Vine Uh and also a wine that doesn't require Necessarily the same length of Barrel maturation that are nebiola-based Wines do this does mean that a typical Barbera will be sold at a lower price Than a typical Nebula based wines and that soft easy Fruit forward kind of characteristic

Means they are very popular indeed and Especially in my house Okay So that is uh the North East that's uh That's some absolute delicious uh styles Of wine uh there Um and it's very much influenced by the The kind of climate that those mountains Give giving us fresh fruit kind of Flavors to our wines I'm going to jump now over Uh to the north east rather than the Northwest And another Black Grape variety called Corvina Now Corvina is is a very interesting Great variety Um and one where really wine making Technique Can drastically change the characters Of our of our wine that we uh we consume So Corvina has high acidity and an all Corvina-based wines will have high Levels of acidity making them quite Refreshing and lots of red fruit flavors Similar to The Grape varieties in the North uh Northwest of the country lots Of red cherries and red plums Uh now however the tannin levels of Corvina will either be Very low or Very high and there's no middle ground Really with our Corvina base wines so How do we get this kind of

Wine that sits at the extremes and Doesn't have this kind of middle area What we also see Um extra levels of flavor so we can see Some corvinas that get us really dried Fruit characteristics lots of Raisin uh Counter characteristics and lots of kind Of vanilla and sweet spices From maturation in Oak barrels okay and These flavors will be paired with the Corvinas that have very high levels of Tannins and will typically not be Present in the corvinas that have very Low levels of tannins And the reason is to get those high Levels of tannins Some wine makers will dry their grapes Before crushing them and turning them Into our wines so they'll slowly turn Their grapes into raisins effectively They'll lay them out in mats In a well-ventilated Um buildings so they don't rot uh and Instead just dry out in the Autumn Shriveling up and they're shriveling up Is going to reduce the amount of water That are in those grapes But what's going to happen is the Tannins aren't going to change levels Um the water however is going to be Lowered so the ratio of tannins is going To go up significantly and the process Of this drawing not only is going to Give us a wine with lots and lots of

Ripe tannins but it's going to give us Flavors of dried fruits as we're Naturally making the wines From these berries So this is a way of turning this this Wine which would typically be Light-bodied low tannins into a wine That is very full bodied a very Pronounced Aromas of of uh dried and Fresh fruits and and something quite Extreme to behold So where do we find Corvina being grown Corvina is grown Um throughout the Veneto and this is the Kind of region that surrounds Venice on The uh the north east coast Of Italy Um and the best expressions of Corvina Will be found in the area of Valpolicella Valpolicella sits on hills On the south of the Alps giving us not Only a little bit of altitude to cool Our our Vineyards but lots of steep Slopes that face towards the South and Gets maximum exposure to sunlight This exposure to sunlight is going to Give us more intense concentrated fruit Flavors In our wines now you see here we have Val polycella Classico and Valpolicella Itself valpolicello Classico Is the original Center of production of Valpolicella which has extended over Time and valpoicello Classico the

Original Center is deemed by most people To be where the highest quality fruit Comes from okay so you might see this as A as a key labeling term on on some Italian mines and it's in more regions Than just Valpolicella if you see the Word Classico it usually denotes an Extra level of quality Um and we'll see this in our labelings Here so you have a valpara will be Typically light Bodied Um Red fruit flavors and and fresh and and Just a really nice easy drinking kind of Everyday wine Uh whereas our valpolicello Classico These will usually have a little bit More complexity Okay and a little bit more character and A little bit more depth to their floats If we were to air dry our grapes turn Our fruit into raisins Um then we can make a wine called Amaroni Bella Valpolicella and this now Is one of Italy's most prestigious red Wines Um that unfortunately just like our Barolo's retails uh typically for a very High bottle price but now we have this This intensity from the fruits uh being Dried and complexity as well and these Wines incredibly full-bodied lots of Italians uh these are wines to pair with Very rich foods

Um to to to be a an absolutely fantastic Treat Okay I'm gonna drop down now so that was our My pick of my North Italian uh great Varieties the kind of the coolest end of Italy uh now we're going to go down to Kind of central uh Italy and Probably the most famous uh grape Variety Um from Italy uh certainly one of the Most widely planted we have sanjivasi Um it also has lots of uh very ripe red Cherry and red plum flavors this is a Kind of common theme with a lot of Italian Black Grape varieties It also has lots of herbal notes as well Giving it lots of complexity Uh or lots of potential for complexity I Should say Similar to nebiolo it has very high Levels of tannins and very high levels Of acidity and these kind of elements Along with the along with nebiolo and Are barolos and barbarescos can really Help wines uh age in bottle for a long Time preserving them on their Journey Where they're able to gain extra levels Of of flavored layers of complexity So Santa Rosa can certainly become quite A a serious wine indeed And we are going to find sanjivasi Um planted Widely throughout Italy in fact I had uh

Sandovasi from the south of Italy just This weekend Um for my my Sunday dinner Um which was very delicious but the kind Of spiritual home where most people Would Source Sanchez from would be Tuscany and In particular in the region of Chianti Okay and chianti Um is actually a a region that dates Back into the Middle Ages really were After the kind of fall of the Roman Empire Um Catholic monks uh kind of kept wine Making Traditions alive and chianti is One of the oldest uh regions referred to Uh in in Italy from from these kind of Times Um And it is a wine that is uh made into Well not entirely so I should say from Santa Rosa you can have a little bit of Blending but it's a sanjivasi dominant Wine Um it's it's quite a large region and it Encompasses lots of different kind of Areas some areas closer to the coast That's going to get some benefit from The sea some breezes helping cool their Vineyards and some Vineyards Um towards the center of the country Which are at higher altitudes and again We'll have some influence from the the Cooler air at higher elevations to give

Extra freshness to the San gervaisy Um and extra extra qualities to them as Well These are typically wines that are Um unfortunately usually Um more every day in style there's a lot Of everyday kind of chiantis which Thankfully are very affordable which Will have some nice red fruit flavors Um however Canty also has some of the Finest wines uh in all of uh and all of Italy producing wines that can age for 10 maybe 20 years in Bottle getting Extra levels of complexity uh as they go Foreign Ty a great variety again that thrives in Kind of the climates in central Italy The slightly warmer climates that we Have going uh further down Montaponciano Um and now we have a slightly different Kind of character to our wines instead Of those red fruits we now have lots of Black fruits lots of plums Blackberry Often black cherry Um we have lots of tannins and multiple Giano giving it quite a full body a lot Of the time And moderate levels of acidity not Nearly in the same kind of Um category as our nebulos our core Venus or a Sandra vases but enough Acidity there to give it a nice kind of Uh refreshing

Uh refreshing flavor Mont polgiano is a a grape again found Widely throughout Central Italy but the Region of Abruzzo is where it's most Commonly found and the Um the wine month of oziano diabrutso Um has become incredibly popular uh in Recent years similar to barbaras these Are wines are a little bit more Affordable very fruity Um easy drinking and then also don't Necessarily require you to age the wine In a Cellar for five years or so or ten Years so a much more approachable Uh and quite easy food pairings with Nice ripe fruity flavors Um uh giving you lots of options Um so yeah another wine that is very Popular in in the Wix household for for Kind of more everyday uh meals Um our Last grave variety And I wanted to jump down now to The south of Italy Um and get into our warmish climates And we have a great variety called Primitivo another great variety that has Really become very very popular Um from Italy and we here have again Lots of black fruit flavors incredibly Ripe plums cherries you can get Blueberry kind of Aromas almost kind of Like black curranty kind of Aromas as Well in a good Primitivo primitivos will

Kind of sit A medium to high levels of acidity Um so not crazy high but certainly not Low at all and again knee gym to high Levels of tannins Um so a decent level of both Um and because they're not Particularly high on both acidity and Tannins it can make them feel very soft Fruity on the palate and make them very Approachable uh to to most people Um Primitivo Um Is a great variety that has found a home Elsewhere as well so Um in America and California Primitivo Goes by the name Zinfandel And we have lots of different styles From rose wines to very full-bodied red Wines uh under the title Zinfandel in California so if you enjoy your red Zinfandels from California you'll find a Very easy wine to enjoy in Primitivo From the south of Italy Um and it grows again widely it's Planted across the south of Italy but it Really likes the Heat and Puglia the Heel of the boot of Italy Is a region that gets very warm indeed And Primitivo loves it and Laps up all This nice Mediterranean sunshine to give Us a super ripe Um super super delicious flavors lots of Uh intense black fruits and quite a soft

Full body Well there we go uh thank you very much Um I will Um Get rid of my screen share so we can uh See my pretty face and uh answer some of Your questions so um thank you very much Um So Let's have a look uh so Thank you Roger so amaroni makes witch Grapes so amaroni is actually a um Is actually the name given to the wines From Valpolicella Um and that is uh the style of wine Which made from those dried fruits okay So it's actually still 100 Corvina or Close to 100 Corvina Um Thank you very much everyone and uh Justine Miller is the lightest skinned Great compared to nebulo uh is this Barbara by any chance Um in interestingly one of the facts About nebiolo is Um even though Um nebiolo has very high levels of Tannins in its grape skins uh nebiolo Doesn't actually have a lot of color Pigments so wines from nebiolo like Arborolos or barbarescos will actually Be very pale in color intensity but Um very high in tannins so light color High talents

Um Is Garvey comparable enticed to a New Zealand Sauvignon it has similar levels Of acidity Um it has similar citrus fruit Aromas And it has similar floral fruit aroma so There are a lot of Common Grounds Between them what New Zealand sauvignon Blanc has that Garvey doesn't is those Really herbaceous Um Avaces kind of characteristics like Green bell pepper okay Um thank you very much Eugene uh Valpolicello Paso there's some slightly More complicated process Um but in in essence it's kind of Halfway between a fresh fruited Policella made from regular Corvina Grapes and an amaroni which is made from Dried Um berries so arapaso you kind of add Some dried fruit To a regular fermentation of Corvina to Kind of gather A halfway point it's halfway in kind of Terms of intensity and also halfway in Terms of of Um Price points so it's a maybe more Approachable style line Um yes uh uh actually a very very good Point something about Pinot Grigio is Something that I really should have

Talked about in my apologies so Pinot Grigio in Italy has taken the World by Storm Um so the same area where we see our Valpara cellos the Veneto this is an Area which has Um This has this is an area that is very Fertile and is able to produce a lot of Uh grapes at quite a low Um you know quite high yields right Um which gives us wines that are Generally quite affordable and they Don't have a lot of cost in the Production Um so Pinot Grigio from the Veneto is is Light lots of green apple and kind of Lemon flavors we also find our proseccos I was just wanted to cover kind of still Wines today but we find Prosecco being Made in the same region where we can get Lots of grapes Um Uh now uh uh Steve sorry I I have heard Of philanian wines Um these were the most famous wines of The day in uh in Rome uh but I Unfortunately I'm not an ancient Historian and they've kind of been lost To time Um I do know they would have been often Flavored with Um Uh with honey and and spices as well so

They would have tasted very different uh To to what we see now Um uh Adam uh what our famous orange Wines mentally so uh orange wines are Quite a complex style of wine they are Uh kind of white wines made in Um the method of red wine so we get lots Of tannins uh in in our white wines Um there are quite a few of them made in A region called friuli which is near the Slovenian Border in the north uh east of The country uh gravner is an example I Had recently which was absolutely uh Fantastic Um Joseph nebiolo has starts with good Color I would slightly disagree even a Young nebiolo will quite often be very Very pale it's because of the fact that Nebiolo has very few pigments in its Skins Um so it never really gets the chance to Um Next whenever he gets a chance to have Lots of deep color Um and the fact that it's matured for Several years before it's being released Also means that it's going to be more Pale when you find it Um Barbara de Asti from Barbera to Alba Um they are Donovan actually very Comparable in qualities Um they are really depending on uh Individual producers of of each of these Wines will have different uh qualities

So they're kind of hard to really split Apart Barbara the Alba is a region just Slightly to the west of Burberry there In Asti but shares Um the the same kind of Aroma Characteristics and Um acidity and Tanning levels so some Individual producers might produce Wines In Alba that have higher acid than a Producer in Asti and vice versa Um Justine uh fiano yes another Fantastic great variety we could have Easily talked about Um fiano is a white grape variety from The south of Italy generally speaking in The South Italy we see and Central Italy We see much more Black grapes being grown because of the Climate but fiano is a a white grape Variety that can thrive in the Heat and We get kind of stone fruit flavors like Peaches and Um uh melon Aromas as well so some Tropical fruits so it can be a bit more Full-bodied than a northern Italian White wine which are more typical Um prakash why super Tuscan wines always IGT not doc or docg Um well there's there's two things here Um so first of all supertastic wines Were Um typically styles of wine from Tuscany That were using French grape varieties Uh so

Um uh French grape varieties so Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Etc so they weren't Following the local rules of voc so they Couldn't be labeled as doc okay so they Had to be labeled as IGT which is uh Basically saying this is a wine of Tuscany it tells you where it's from but They have freedom to to plant these Non-traditional grape varieties now Further to this we are now seeing some Super Tuscan wines being given doc Status so Bulgari sasakaya is now a new DOC for uh super tuscans wines of that Style Run from that place Okay uh is Chianti cassico Uh back or are more Super tuskers being Made both Paul uh County Classico is Fantastic super high quality uh wines And super tuscans are still incredibly Popular super Tusk against those Cabernet Sauvignon and other uh International great variety based wines Are very sought after Um and uh but so are Chianti classicos These are these are premium wines of a Different style okay Um are there fruity but dry Moscato Wines in Italy not typically Um Moscato Um in the north uh does favor or the Tradition does favor making Um wines with some sugar in them and Moscato to me actually does taste better

With some sweetness to it it makes the Fruit flavors and kind of a bit more Alive that being said there are a few Rare examples of dry moscatoes in Piemonte in the north Um Northwest Are any of the white grapes from the North Blended Um it's not as typical our Pinot grigios Are typically single varietal Of things like Suave which is a style of Wine we could have talked about made From a great variety called garganaga Typically single varietal but it's also Not unheard of Uh Chardonnay there is lots of International grape varieties planted in Italy Chardonnay there is some very high Quality chardonnays in Sicily in the South And in the north uh as well uh in Um in in in in in places in in Northern Italy also Um How does Primitives very difference talk About as Infidel they can be very Similar so Um a an outstanding quality Primitivo From the south of Italy will taste very Much like an outstanding quality Zinfandel uh from California the main Difference I would say is the Californian tradition is typically To have more Oak maturation so you might

See more vanilla Aromas in a typical Californians infantile uh so the Italian Style maybe just a little bit more fruit Forward Um what about Blanding racing is the Other minds of amazing Goods yes there Is lots and lots of blending Um in in Italy uh the SuperSonics all The grand taskins as you mentioned are a Great example of this where you take an Italian grape variety and potentially a Uh a French great variety and blend them Together so Cabernet Sauvignon and San Gervaisi uh being Blended would be a Great option And is climate change affecting physical Regions in Italy like we're seeing in The south of England yes unfortunately It is very much so it's affecting all Wine growing regions across the world so Uh efforts are being made to try and Adapt uh grape growing as they are Across the world to to overcome some of The challenges and also to make sure That wine Growers and wine makers are Trying to be more sustained sustainable In their approaches to not exacerbate The situation any further Um Are there any wines you can try to give You the same experience as the wine from Proto without breaking the wallets I Would recommend uh tracking out other Nebiolo wines so you could have nebiolo

De Lange is spelled l-a-n-g-h-e Uh and that is a wine made from Nebiolo maybe about 10 kilometers away From brolo has some similar Characteristics as is very much Um in the same kind of uh realm as as Barolo but much more affordable okay Aglianoco that is another great example Of a wine that if you really like Nebiolo you will like it's a black grape Variety in the south of Italy like I Said there are 600 plus grape varieties In Italy so we we could keep going on About fantastic great varieties again 100 I agree with is a fantastic great Variety in the south of Italy it has High acid High tannins just like nebiolo Deep color which is different but lots Of similar flavors so it's kind of known As the nebiolo of the South Um and we do see reasoning initially the Very north of Italy has got a lot of Germanic influence it was part of the Austro Austrian Hungarian Empire for a Long time there's a lot of German Speakers in in the very north of Italy And we see a lot of Germanic great Varieties uh uh doing really well there Governz tramina Riesling uh Etc Is Italy organic region in terms of wine Making Um there is lots and lots of organic uh Producers in Italy there is also lots of Producers uh that are doing more kind of

Conventional agriculture if we find a Region that is typically quite warm and Dry we are typically going to see it Being easier for organic viticulture That's just a general rule of thumb so Mediterranean a little bit warmer a Little bit drier maybe a little bit Easier to go down that road Okay Um that is is those those questions Thank you so much for your participation Um please make sure you fill out Um the uh the feedback survey it really Does help us out Um uh remember that you can find the Recording of this uh the events Hub in a Short while Um and please find out uh more about our Qualifications uh where you can study Find a local school to you by visiting Our website Um and have a lovely rest of your day Everyone thank you And