It was the Romans who perfected the art of wine making, even creating wines that would age. So winemaking techniques have been improved upon for 2000 years and the best spots are taken. The entire circumference of Italy is planted with vines including the off lying islands of Sardinia and Sicily. The volcanic soil of the country is ideal for some grape varieties. The average temperature varies incredibly between north and south and the thin strip of land that is Italy is cooled on both sides by two different seas. So you see, Italy rules Vino! Not France, Italy!
More wine is produced in Italy than any other country but Italy doesn’t have the highest drinking ratio, best grape yields or the most planted vineyards in the world. Rather it has a high combination of all these factors. Today I’m going to astound you with some hot “wine facts” that will make you spin in your chair! I stand accused of writing this Italian wine blog assuming the reader knows much already. So today’s blog is meant to give some background on Italian wines.
Yesterday’s red was the Castello di Camigliano 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon and I’ll post the review at the bottom of the page.
AMAZING FACTOID 1# – So, the world has 8 million hectares of planted vineyards (these are the registered ones we know about!) and taking up over 1 million of them is Spain. Despite massive culls of vines to control the vast amounts of wasted wine produced each year, Spain, France and Italy still contain 3 times more vines than the U.S.A each. Spain pulled up 500,000 hectares of vines in the last 20 years and still leads the vineyard count by a good margin. Spain is known for its Rioja wines and has vines planted all along its coastline.
AMAZING FACTOID 2# – Italians do not drink more wine per head either. That honour goes to the tiny country of Luxembourg. Luxembourg is positioned in an excellent place to enjoy some of the worlds best wines between Germany’s Mosel–Saat vineyards and France. Luxembourg even produces a fair amount of wine considering its size.
AMAZING FACTOID 3# – Italian wine yields are improving in quality so are decreasing in size. Of the European producers it is Luxembourg who have the highest yields with Germany coming in second. Luxembourg fancies itself as the New Alsace but might have to drop their yields a little if they seriously want to compete for quality. The most famous producer is Bernard Massard who producers a very good Pinot Blanc that you can buy here.
Italy is the 3rd greatest wine consumer, has the 3rd most planted vineyards in the world and the 2nd highest crop yields of any major wine producing country. These factors combine to create the worlds foremost wine Super Power! Italy is not only the largest producer but also the most varied. If you look at a map of Italy it is the perfect place to grow vines, split down the middle by a mountain range as rolling hills break gently to the sea.
Castello di Camigliano Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 – BUY
Deep dark ruby red with garnet reflections just sitting in the glass you can tell this is a serious wine, looks full bodied. Seriously interesting nose of blackcurrent, cassis and most noticeably graphite. This wine seriously smell like a 2HB pencil. Great structure to the palate, balanced tannins with a herby sensation in the mid palate. Good clean finish, mid length. Good VFM here, lots going on. – 91 Points
Question of the Day
Can you name something famous or interesting about Luxembourg?