ITALY & WINE
The very first vineyards have been successfully planted throughout Italy since the Etruscans in 750 BC. Later on, with the rise of the Roman Monarchy in 508 BC international varietals were introduced and cultivated. As the Roman Empire expanded into new regions, soldiers returned with wine from their conquests and the first international wine market was established.
In 410 AD, the Visigoths sacked Rome, causing many high-society Romans to run away to the countryside where they established vineyards. For the most part, those vineyards have been maintained through modern day, leading Italy to produce more wine than any other country and boast the most land under vine.
Italy grows more grape varieties than any country in the world. Currently, more than 1200 grape varieties are grown that produce more than 3000 specific wines.
Among others, the most notable red grapes are Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Primitivo, Nero d’Avola, Negroamaro, and Amarone grapes (Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara); of the whites, Pinot Grigio, Glera, Trebbiano, Cortese, Arneis and Garganega stand out.
Italian white wines are generally easy to drink, approachable and seafood-friendly, while the reds tend to be hugely varied. Northern Italian reds wines are deep, powerful that easily pair with roast meats and mushrooms. The reds of central Italy are a little less heavy and show more finesse when paired with tomato sauces and wild game. Southern Italian reds, with their full-bodied black-fruit-dominated flavors are some of the best pizza-wines in the world.