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Piedmont, Italy

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Piedmont is the heart of northwest Italy and one of the most significant and vibrant wine regions where it lies at the base of the Alps, surrounded almost entirely by mountains. Piedmont has a cool continental climate with a hot growing season and often very foggy conditions during harvest time. The noble Nebbiolo grape of Piedmont is named after the Italian word for fog, nebbia. Piedmont produces more wine than any other Italian region and also generates the highest percentage of quality wines in Italy. It is home to some of the most robust, long-lived wines in the world, many of which are indigenous to Piedmont and rarely excel anywhere else. In particular, the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco are two of Italy’s best. Other major red grapes are Dolcetto and Barbera followed by Grignolino, Ruchè and Freisa. White wines from Piemonte region are Arneis in Roero and Cortese in Gavi.

Tuscany, Italy

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Tuscany is one of Italy’s top wine producing regions, rivaled in prestige only by Piedmont in the north. Vineyards grow on sloping hillsides to provide optimal sun exposure, drainage and cooler air and breezes. Soils are complex, the best ones contain a unique rocky blend called galestro. Tuscany has a number of very fine DOC and DOCG appellations; Chianti in the heart of Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Carmignano are all great quality wines made with Sangiovese grapes. The grapes grow everywhere in Italy, but it is in Tuscany that Sangiovese achieves its full potential. In Chianti the more traditional winemakers use pure Sangiovese grapes to make traditional wine, whereas in Tuscany’s Maremma area there has been a strong movement over the last decades towards the use of international grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Alicante and Aleatico to produce high quality reds wines and Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for white wines. Great blends of native and international grapes are also used in the production of high quality biodynamic wines in the Maremma coastal area.

Veneto, Italy

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Veneto is located in northeast Italy and its viticulture is influenced by both the Alps in the north and the Adriatic Sea in the south. It is a very fertile region and has become one of the major wine regions in Italy both in quantity and quality, on one hand it boasts some of the largest wine companies in Italy, but on the other hand the region is home to many experimental artisan wineries who produce exceptional wines. The region has been recognized for its many good blends of red wine that it produces, but also for the diversity of winemaking in such a small area, which ranges from the production of strong red wines to fragrant sparkling wines, all thanks to the numerous microclimates and indigenous grapes that the region has to offer. Generally the climate is milder than that of other regions in northeast Italy thanks to its proximity to the Adriatic Sea. Silty, sandy soil can typically be found across the region. The principal indigenous grapes used to produce Bardolino and Valpolicella red wine are Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Glera is the basis for Prosecco and Garganega for white wines like Soave.

Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
Trentino alto%20adige

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The Northernmost wine region in Italy is almost completely covered by mountains. Trentino-Alto Adige, also known as Südtirol, combines Italian and German winemaking traditions. The indigenous red grape varieties of the mountain valleys are the Teroldego, Lagrein and Schiava. In the northern part of the region vineyards are generally located at high elevations on steep slopes at altitudes of over 1000 m, the cool climate and and the stony mineral soil are ideal for growing fresh and aromatic grape varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio to produce quality white wines. Chardonnay was imported from France hundreds of years ago and is used to produce high-quality Trento DOC sparkling wines.

Lombardy, Italy

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Lombardy is the largest, most densely populated region in Italy and includes its capital, Milan. Lombardy borders with Switzerland to the north and the Po river makes up much of the southern border. Most of the region’s best wine is made in the Alps. Lombardy offers some outstanding conditions for vine growth, even if it is one of Italy’s youngest wine regions. It offers a great variety of wines with character made with both native and foreign grape varieties. There are a few important DOC appellations within Lombardy. Franciacorta DOCG is east of Milan and Franciacorta Metodo Classico wines are rated as Italy’s most complex sparkling wines. These bottle-fermented wines are made from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. There are also some good still wines labeled as Terre di Franciacorta DOC. Oltrepo Pavese DOC lies to the south of Milan and has the largest production in Lombardy. Oltrepo Pavese produces still, sparkling and liquouroso wines from Pinot Noir, Bonarda, Barbera Pinot Gris, Cortese, Moscato and Riesling grapes.

Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Emilia romagna

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On the northern peninsula of Italy lies Emilia-Romagna, a wine region made up of the Emilia and the Romagna districts sprawling area that. Both districts have distinctly different climates and soils. Emilia’s rolling hills in the west, influenced by the Apennines, are almost polar opposites to Romagna’s plains to the east of Modena and Bologna. There is no typical Emilia-Romagna wine, but the region does excel in its uniqueness and its sheer diversity. Emilia’s best-known wine is Lambrusco, though the exported variety is no match for the delicate, dry variety the locals tend to keep for themselves.The frothy style of Lambrusco is popular in Emilia and reflected in other wines throughout the region. There are three DOC zones for Lambrusco - Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro and Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce - as well as a Lambrusco subappellation under the Reggiano DOC The best Romagna wines on the other hand are largely based on the red Sangiovese grape. Their wines often have great depth and intense flavours and are capable of ageing majestically. White wines based on the Albana and Trebbiano, grape which are grown in abundance around the hills below Imola, Cesena and the historic Rimini, are important to the region as well. The Trebbiano grape is native to the region and Trebbiano wines produced under the Romagna DOC are often superior over those produced in other regions. and its wines tend to be a cut above the often neutral Trebbiano wines offered by other regions. Albana di Romagna is a local speciality that is best known for being Italy’s first DOCG for white wine. DOCGs from this region are Ecco, Amabile and Dolce wines, as well as an intriguing Passito. A sparkling Albana wine is also produced under the Romagna DOC.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Friuli venezia%20giulia

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Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a little region in the northeastern corner of Italy on the Adriatic coast. The culture of this region is unique, given its geographic location, sitting between central Europe and the Slav regions. The region has an outstanding reputation for its white wines, which are made with local and international grape varieties. Friuli’s own varieties are Malvasia Istriana, Ribolla Gialla and Verduzzo. Of the local varieties, Friulano is the most well known and important one, producing crisp, floral wines. The grape was widely known as Tocai Friulano but in 2006 the European Union banned names that have some similarity or association with the Hungarian wine Tokaji. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco are the most used international grape kinds. Red wines from Friuli tend to be made with local Refosco or with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Nero. The Friulani are very skilled wine producers, they are forward-thinking and love to experiment with varieties which have almost been forgotten like Picolit, a difficult grape whose yields are low but the wines highly reputed. In recent years there has been also a revival of orange wine production in Friuli which involves leaving the white wine grapes in extended maceration with their grape skins. There are relatively many small wineries in the region and the vineyard yields of Friuli are among the lowest in Italy, so they focus on high quality rather than quantity and they are creating exceptional wines as a result.

Campania, Italy

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Home to the historic city of Naples, the Campania region has four important wine growing areas. Starting from the northern hills, stretching towards the Benevento area and east from Benevento are Irpinia and the Avellino hills where the vineyards are maintained at an altitude between 400 and 700 meters. In the southern part of the region lies the mountainous Cilento area and the Sorrento peninsula which includes the Capri, Ischia and Procida islands. The volcanic soil in the region is very rich and ideal for cultivation. Campania has a very long history in wine production; it was the most important wine region during ancient Roman times. Great wines are still produced here today such as Taurasi, a red wine made from Aglianico grapes. The region is also home to some fine white wines like Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino, both DOCGs, which are of exceptional quality.

Liguria, Italy

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Liguria is a long and narrow region that spreads out between the Ligurian sea, the Alps and the Apennines mountains. The region’s spectacular scenery with it’s steep rocky cliffs is breathtaking, but also makes producing wines a real challenge. Yet, great wines have been produced in this region for centuries. Vineyards pop up wherever conditions permit, some are only reachable by boat and others have to make use of monorails to gather their harvests from the steep hills. The difficult conditions have resulted in many smaller wineries that cannot be operated with heavy machinery. The rocky slopes also give the wines their unique characteristics by shielding the grapevines from the winds and yielding limestone rich soils that produce excellent, minerally white grapes. Over 100 varieties of grapes can be found in the region, but the most popular are whites like Vermentino, Pigato, Bosco and Albarola. Popular reds are Rossese, which produces a light-bodied and fruity red, and Ormeasco, a more subtle and darker variety. The most famous Ligurian wine comes from Cinque Terre, represented by the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Marche, Italy

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Marche is a region on the eastern side of central Italy. It occupies an area whose longer sides are formed by the Apennine Mountains in the west and the Adriatic Sea in the east. The Marche wine region is one of Italy’s last unscathed wine regions, with kilometers of untamed coastline. The Mediterranean flora like cyprus trees, olive trees and vines spread across a hilly landscape. The calcareous soils combined with dry maritime climate have proven excellent for varieties like Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Verdicchio and Montepulciano. The Pecorino grape is gaining popularity in Marche and many producers are making excellent white wines with this trendy varietal. Among the reds, the Rosso Conero and the Rosso Piceno are particularly appreciated.

Sicily, Italy

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The largest island in the Mediterranean and one of Europe’s oldest viticultural regions. It’s long winemaking tradition dates back to the time when the island was part of Magna Graecia. More grape varieties can be found here than in any other wine region, although for many decades Sicily has mostly been recognised for its sweet Marsala wines and has been associated with Nero D’avola wine, which is being produced in traditional fashion. A number of small wineries have emerged in recent years who have began introducing wines made of lesser known indigenous grape varieties such as Catarratto, Perricone and Grillo, growing in different fertile soils of the island and the ancient Carricante and Nerello Mascalese grapes which can grow in the upper reaches of Mount Etna where the vines can be more than a century old and some of them growing in Europe’s last surviving pre-phylloxera vineyards. Some of these wineries have become the best wine producers in the natural wine scene and thanks to these skilled artisans international markets have never been so interested in Sicilian wines as they are today.

Abruzzo, Italy

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The prevalence of mountains and hills and a long rugged coastline make Abruzzo into a very diverse wine region. Bordered by the Molise region to the south, Marche to the north and Lazio to the west. The Adriatic Sea provides a moderating Mediterranean climate for the vineyards to the east. In the northern area of Abruzzo the altitude of many vineyards are similar to other central Italian wine regions in Tuscany, while in the southern part of the region is affected by microclimates more similar to southern Italian wine regions like Calabria and Puglia. The two principal regional D.O.C. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo cover a very wide area and can be produced in each of the four provinces of Abruzzo region; L’Aquila, Teramo, Pescara and Chieti. This explains the difference within the same D.O.C. appellation wines. The ones produced on the slopes of the Apennines are lighter compared to the ones produced near the coastline. The wines produced in this area are more robust and contain higher alcohol percentage. The wine scene is characterised by native grape varieties, among whites the most cultivated are Trebbiano d'Abruzzo and white Bombino, but also Pecorino, Montonico and Passerina grapes are widely used. Among the reds the Montepulciano and Sangiovese find in Abruzzo an adequate terroir in which to express themselves. Abruzzo also produces wines from some of the most popular international varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, as well as the red Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Basilicata, Italy

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The Basilicata region is characterized by a mountainous terrain, 47% of its area is covered by mountains and 45% is hilly, including the volcanic Monte Vulture and the seismic faults in the Melfi and Potenza. The finest wine of the region is made on the upper slopes of Monte Volture. The volcanic soils and microclimate of long sunny days in the growing season between periods of cooler weather is very conducive to growing the Aglianico grape. The climate is influenced by three coastlines (Adriatic, Ionian and Tyrrhenian) the climate is continental in the mountains and Mediterranean along the coasts. The region boasts 4 DOC appellations, the most prolific of which is Aglianico del Vulture. Wines made from the Aglianico grape, also known for its contribution to Campania’s Taurasi, have gained a significant following in the international market, also defined as the "Barolo" of the south for its similar characteristics with the Nebbiolo grape. First introduced to Basilicata by the Greeks, in the 6th - 7th century, its densely flavoured and well-structured wines have tremendous ageing potential. The other three DOCs are fairly new: Grottino di Rocanova, Matera and Terre dell’Alta d’Agri. These DOCs cover reds produced from a mix of indigenous and international varietiels. For reds: Primitivo, Sangiovese, Monepulciano, Bombino Nero, Malvasia Nera, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Whites are predominately blends of Greco Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Moscato. Rosato styles are also found within these DOCs. There are also several IGT wines produced in the region which allow producers to do some experimentation with local and international grape varietals in style and aging techniques, including some fine Aglianico blends.

Calabria, Italy

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Calabria is the southernmost region in mainland Italy the “toe” that reaches into the Mediterranean sea. Mountains and hills cover 90 % of the land. During the winter weather conditions in the interior part of the region are cold and harsh with the climate near the coast being very hot and dry throughout most of the year. The majority of the region's wine production takes place along the Ionian coast on low lying hills. The soil is a mixture of clay, sand and marl which aids local wine growth. The most important wine produced in Calabria is the Cirò. Cirò is one of the oldest wines still produced today and dates back to the ancient Greek era. Cirò is made with the indigenous red Gaglioppo grape. The area mostly produces red wines, but also very structured high quality rosé wines are produced under the Cirò DOC appellation, as well as an appealing white made from Greco.

Puglia, Italy

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Puglia, also known as Apulia, is the heel of the boot of peninsular Italy and a region that stretches for over 350 km between the Adriatic and Ionian seas, giving it one of the longest coastlines of any region in Italy. It has been a crucial place for trade between different cultures for thousands of years because of it’s strategic position between east and west. This cultural exchange has influenced a lot the gastronomic and viticultural traditions of the region. The warm mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm dry but ventilated summers together with a fertile soil makes this region perfect for agriculture. Half of Italy’s olive oil is produced in Puglia. Wine is produced in diverse landscapes, spread out among the four main viticultural areas: Foggia in the north, Bari and Taranto in the middle and Brindisi and Lecce in the south. The soils in the production areas are mainly calcareous, clay and sandy soil and the typical “terre rosse” red soil of the southern area between Taranto and Lecce. In the northern part of the region the vineyards are mainly planted on the slopes of the mountainous promontory of Gargano where grape varieties like Verdeca, Bombino Bianco and Malvasia Bianca for the whites and Uva di Troia, Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes for the reds are being cultivated. The wines produced here have a light texture and are easy to drink. In the central area, in the rocky hills of Murge, more elegant whites are produced in addition to rose wines and reds made with Uva di Troia and Primitivo grapes. In the south red wines from Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes are stronger and more structured, but they can be surprisingly elegant with easy drinkability. These two grape varieties are the most cultivated among the local grapes of the region and they are the best representatives of Puglia’s viticulture.

Sardinia, Italy
Region italy

Beaujolais, France

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Beaujolais is a large wine producing region of eastern France, famous for its vibrant, fruity red wines made from Gamay. It is located immediately south of Burgundy wine region. The climate of Beaujolais is semi-continental tempered by the presence of the Massif Central to the west and the Alps to the east. This provides a relatively warm growing season, making it ideal for generating the ripe, fruit-driven flavors which characterize particular nouveau-style wines. The area is naturally divided into two sections by the Nizerand River. You’ll find different soils on each side of the river. Northern part of Beaujolais is made up of rolling granite hills with patches of clay and limestone, while the south is dominated by richer clay- and sandstone-based soils, and much flatter topography. This differing terroir is a dominant factor in the north, producing typically aromatic, structured and complex wines in contrast to the lighter, younger-drinking and fruitier style of the south. There are 10 crus in Beaujolais; St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly, which are all located in the north part of the wine region.

Karst, Slovenia

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The Karst region in Slovenia is a rocky limestone plateau bordering the Italian city of Trieste along with the Adriatic sea in the west and the Vipava River Valley in the north. Croatia forms the southern border. The landscape of the region, with its limestone, natural underground drainage systems, sinkholes and caves has resulted in Karst becoming the topographical name for similar landscapes around the world. This deceivingly picturesque landscape along with its springs, disappearing lakes and swallow holes certainly does not create the easiest environment for winemakers. However, the mineral-rich ground and unique red earth, coloured by iron, makes the wines distinct and the results worth the efforts. The Refosco grapes are the prinicipal red wine grape of the region and planted in the area’s red iron-rich soil leads to a very dark, highly acidic red wine. Other varieties grown here include the lighter bodied Piccola Nera.

Chablis, France

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Chablis lies about 16 km east of Auxerre in the Yonne department, situated roughly halfway between the Côte d'Or and Paris. Chablis is a town which identifies with its wine, the vineyards stretch for 20 km in the Serein valley. The soil is rich of marl, limestone and marine fossils which is ideal for growing Chardonnay. The cool climate of this region produces wines with more acidity and less fruitiness than Chardonnay wines grown in warmer climates.The AOC Chablis is divided into four production areas: Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru. The areas are devided in base of the quality of the vineyard site and overall terroir. For example the 'Petit Chablis' vineyards lie in the outer limits of the appellation, where the soil is heavier and has a higher proportion of clay. Grand Cru Chablis wines are the most complex and age-worthy wines from the region.100 hectares of vineyards which face south-east and south-west close to the waters of the Serein, are divided in to seven Chablis Grand Cru: Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Les Preses, Valmur and Vaudésir.

Saar, Germany
Champagne, France

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Champagne: a wine and a territory. When we think about wine and how it reflects the climate and the soil of the terroir, the grape varieties and the winemaking technics, nowhere else this synergy is so fascinating as in Champagne. Soil, climate and the qualities of the grapes play an important role here. The vineyards are situated on the hills of the department of Seine-et-Marne, Aisle, Marne, Aube and Haute-Marne in extreme conditions for viticulture. The climate is oceanic and continental and the oceanic influence brings steady rainfall without significant variations in seasonal temperatures. The continental influence ensures ideal levels of sunlight in summer, but also frosts in winter. The average annual temperature is around 10 degrees celcius. The soils are geologically homogenous with different combinations of chalk, marl, limestone, clay and silica sand which express different terroirs. The upper layer is generally formed of clay and sand and the deeper layers, the subsoils, are rich in chalk which is very important for thermal and humidity control. This type of subsoil provides good drainage and also imparts the mineral flavour in the wines. The Craie is the famous type of chalk soil of Champagne. The territory is divided into four main production areas, each one bringing together a unique combination of climate, soil and topography: Vallée de la Marne, Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs and Côte de Sézanne, Aube. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay are the main grape varieties of Champagne. In the Vallée de la Marne the predominant soil is clay and in this kind of soil the Pinot Meunier is mostly cultivated. The Montagne de Reims is where Pinot Noir is cultivated. The Côte des Blancs and the Côte de Sézanne is the area of Chardonnay and Aube is dominated by Pinot Noir.

Burgundy, France

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Burgundy is located in the east-central part of France, between the great Morvan forest, which is a real sample of biodiversity, and the wide pastures of the prized breed Charolais. The Burgundy vineyards stretch for about 120 km between the towns of Dijon and Macon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir define the splendid profile of Burgundian wine and express the essence and excellence of all that these grapes can give. The climate is mainly continental, winters are cold, rainfall is minimal in the period of budding, but intense between May and June. The soil of Burgundy is formed by marine sediments mixed with limestone, marl and clay. The territory can be divided into four major sub-regions: The Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and the Maconnais (excluding Chablis and Beaujoulaise).The Côte de Nuits stretches from Chenove to Corgoloin and its vineyards spread out over the slopes of hills rising up to 300 m. The optimal exposure of the vines to east and southeast, and the rich soils of limestone provides the best growing habitat to Pinot Noir. The Côte de Beaune stretches for 26km from Ladoix-Serrigny to the town of Santenay. The vineyards are spread over a succession of hills with rich soils of marl on the upper part and a mixture of marl, limestone and clay in the middle where the Chardonnay finds it's ideal habitat. The Côte Chalonnaise has a 25 km long strip of vineyards, with a geological formation similar to that of the Côte d'Or, Here the Pinot Noir is being cultivated together with Chardonnay and the second a white grape of Burgundy; the Aligote. The Maconnaise is a macro-region with vineyards where the Chardonnay resists while the Pinot Noir gives way to Gamay. The soils are composed of limestone and calcareous marl.

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