If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner when you go out, but you haven’t spent a lot of time learning about wine outside of looking at the occasional menu, you might find yourself feeling a bit lost when you consider an Italian wine list without the aid of a sommelier. The information in this guide is meant to teach you the basics so that next time you are dining out, you will know exactly how to figure out which type of wine is the best option to pair with your meal.
What information will I see?
There usually aren’t a lot of details on an Italian wine list. The facts that are listed about each vintage, though, can go a long way toward helping you determine which one you want to order. You’ll learn more about each piece of information below.
Producer – The producer of wine can be a single vineyard, such as Valentini, a co-op of vineyards, like the 56-member strong Produttori del Barbaresco, or a major wine brand, such as Ruffino. While all of these types of wine producers can craft high-quality beverages, knowing where various wines come from can help you deduce if a particular style is run-of-the-mill or rare.
Wine type – If you’ve ever even done so much as shop for wine in a grocery store, you are certainly aware of the fact that there are dozens of different types available. When viewing an Italian wine list, the wine type is likely to feature both the name of the region where it was made and the type of grape that was used during the fermentation process. Wines that have names, such as Ruffino’s “Modus” variety, are usually crafted from a blend of grapes.
Vintage – A wine’s vintage refers to the year in which it was fermented and bottled. Vintage variation is an entire subject in and of itself, but in some cases, the year in which a wine was bottled greatly affects its tannum depending on the state of that year’s grape harvest in a specific region. Furthermore, older vintages tend to have less tannum as a whole.
How many wine regions does Italy have?
As you look over an Italian wine list at a restaurant, you might find yourself wondering just how many wine regions there are in the nation of Italy. Officially, there are 20 regions, with some more prominently featured on American restaurants’ wine lists than others. Toscana (Tuscany), Veneto, Abruzzo, and Puglia produce many of the wines that are frequently sold in the States.
Hopefully, this brief overview of how to understand Italian wine lists will make it easier for you to select the ideal wine next time you go out. We encourage you to visit our authentic Original Strega in Boston’s vibrant North End for a delicious meal! Our wait staff is always happy to assist with wine selections should you require assistance.