10 Pointers for Italy (reds)

A flight of Italian wines is not often confused as a flight from the New World but could be mistaken as wines from France or Spain. When faced with a flight of wines from the same country it’s good to have some pointers that justify taking you to the country you decide on. It’s rarely just one factor that’ll take you to a specific place. It’s usually a combination. The more unique this combination the stronger your argument. This is by no means an exhaustive list nor are many of these points particular to just Italy.

  1. Elevated Acid
    possibly a combination of indiginous varieties and picking at lower maturity
  2. A pleasant bitterness or dry tannic finnish
    something innate to Italian varietals or due to traditional winemaking practices (extended maceration, no new oak) or a combination of both
  3. Cherries
    Whether they’re dry, sour, red, or black, cherry is a frequent discriptor used on Italian wines of various varieities
  4. Food friendly style
    many Italian wines sing out for food. Probably due to a combination of points 1 and 2
  5. New oak use not prevalent
    some modern styles are using new oak but it is not the norm
  6. Traditional non-protective winemaking
    low sulfur use, oxidative handling, and use of old barrels can can give more savoury, balsamic, and appley aldehyde notes
  7. Moderate colour depth
    due largely to indigenous varieites like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo not being particularly pigment
  8. Indiginous varieties
    the likes of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Aglianico, and Nerello Mascalese are all fairly distinctive and don’t have a strong prescense outside of Italy
  9. Amarone
    a distinctive wine of Italian. Not many other places produce similar styles in significant quantities.
  10. Super Tuscans
    the antithesis of all of the above. However, still often notable for its elevated acid and dark cherry notes

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