Italy is one of the largest producers of DOC and DOCG fine wines particularly known and appreciated around the world. Amongst the most important wine producing areas include Valpolicella, Soave Colli Euganei and Valdobbiadene in Veneto, Chianti Classico in Tuscany, the Langhe in Piedmont, and Frascati in Lazio.
All these Italian wine producing regions deserve a mention, however, with peaks of excellence, think of Sicily, Sardinia, Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia, with widespread areas of great winemaking traditions.
In order to define the finest wines of Italy first the criteria should be established, then should they be classified by its world reputation, its price, its presence on wine lists of the best restaurants or by the awards received by the best sommeliers and the most dominating wine guides? There are many Italian wines and grape varieties popular in Italy and throughout the world, mostly reds: one cannot forget Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico, both from Tuscany and also Barolo, Barbera and Barbaresco from Piedmont.
There are however fewer wines universally known which are often in the top of the charts for the best wines in the world, for instance the Tuscan Bolgheri Superiore DOC or IGT Tignanello or even the Flaccianello della Pieve IGT. Among the great Tuscan wines you can not fail to mention the production of Marchesi de Frescobaldi, Castel Giocondo Brunello, Riserva Chianti Rufina DOCG Nipozzano and the wines of Tenuta Ornellaia.
Commonly there are the great Tuscan wines which match the standards of the great French wines. To be precise, the most sought-after wines include Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido (at 13th place), the Marchesi Antinori Tignanello (28), Ornellaia (33) and the Masseto (39) of Ornellaia, and Solaia (51), also of Marchesi Antinori.
From a different point of view, if we look carefully at the level of excellence in wine, there is so much production worthy of a mention over all the regions of Italy, with many autochthonous varieties. This “renaissance” helps people to rediscover Italian wine.
The autochthonous variety is a particular variety of vine used for the production of wine, grown and spread in the same historic area of origin of the grape itself, therefore planting a grapevine but not transplanting it from other areas.
Each autochthonous variety has its own unique and distinctive shape and color of the fruit, the vine and the leaves thus giving the wine some very specific and typical organoleptic characteristics. The cultivation and protection of autochthonous grape varieties, as well as the rediscovery of varieties, which has almost disappeared from the agricultural scene, is undertaken as part of the development of wine-making in the creation of quality products, a local name, unable to resist the importing of wines from other regions or areas of the world and also not able to counteract the marketing of commercial, low cost wines without specific organoleptic properties.
In Italy there are about 350 autochthonous grape varieties officially registered, and all major agricultural Italian regions with wine production have a list of local autochthonous grapes. Among the most important autochthonous varieties we must mention Aglianico from which the “Barolo of the South”is made. The great “Aglianico” is produced in Campania and Basilicata, where as in Veneto the famous Amarone is produced with Corvinone, Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes.