Pouring red wine from bottle into glass
Italian Wine Is Simply Made Different
Italy is home to old-world wine dating back 3,000 years, and four variables distinguish each region to set Italian wine apart: the grape variety, soil type, climate, and producer.
Italy is home to many microclimates that nurture different wines, from Italian whites made in the frigid Alps to tannic, tart reds produced in desert-like Sicily.
The country is home to 2,000 grape varietals, and each produces different-tasting wines depending on whether they're planted in volcanic, clay, sandy, or rocky soil.
Italy has strict requirements that govern vintners' practices, and the country leads Europe in organic wine production, banning the use of fertilizers, pesticides, or other additives.
The country also has a transparent quality classification that deciphers the wine's quality and indicates whether it's passed a government taste test guaranteeing the quality.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) distinguish the highest quality Italian wines.
These labels identify what type of grape was used in production and where it was harvested. DOCG further distinguishes historically exceptional and superior wines.
Other labels include "Classico" for wine made in a historic wine region, "Superiore" for wine with at least 0.5% higher ABV, and "Riserva" for wine aged at least two years.
While any Italian wine is bound to be good, primary wine-producing regions include Veneto, Tuscany, and Piedmont, which contain most of the 74 wines classified as DOCG.