STATION SAYS: You are never more than a stone’s throw from the wine growing area in Italy and it is home to over 3,000 commercial varieties. Wine is an intrinsic part of the dinner table in Italy and you cannot go wrong matching the origin of the dish with the wine. The King in the North (West) is Nebbiolo, responsible for the rich and tannic and highly ageable expressions of Barbaresco and Barolo (require extended ageing before release). Barbera sits in the shadow of Nebb but is becoming more recognised. In the North East of the country, Valpolicella is an expression that has been popular for its rich, syrupy and alcoholic style. Soave is one of the oldest white wine appellations in the world and the Northern border is littered with appellations that make stellar dry whites.
Tuscany dominates the centre of the country, Sangiovese is the grape of choice, responsible for the ancient expression of Chianti. The wine used to come in a wicker basket called a fiasco, which was fitting for the colourless and insipid liquid contained therein. Thankfully the laws modernised and the winemaking improved greatly. Classico refers to the original Chianti producing area. Brunello di Montalcino is a 100% Sangiovese made in the town of Montalcino requiring 4 years of age before release.
The South’s dis-enfranchisement economically is reflected in the wine they produce. Without any superstars a la Barolo or Brunello they have been unable to garner the excitement of the wine world though this is changing. Sicily is an exciting centre of quality (and bulk it must be said) centered around the Etna volcano and the Nerello Mascalese grape. Campania is one of the most exciting and forward looking regions in the world and their whites and reds have garnered fanatical praise. There are dozens of deliciously simple and satisfying holiday reds and whites.