For most people, one of the most appealing aspects of visiting Italy is experiencing the culture through its bounty of regional foods and wines. Getting to know the country by consuming it, if you will.
Well, I’ve already devoted a couple of podcasts to the traditional food of Rome, Bolognese cuisine, and the disgraces found on the menus of “Italian” restaurants in North America. So today we will attempt to pair those regional dishes with an appropriate glass of wine. I’m no wine expert myself, but luckily I met Jen Martin via Twitter, and she really knows her vino.
Touring Italian Wine Regions
Obviously there are just too many Italian wine regions to discuss within the space of this podcast, so we stuck to just three during our conversation. I chose Lazio, of course, and then asked Jen to pick two others that were not the usual Tuscany (Chianti, Brunello), and Piedmonte (Barolo, Barbaresco). I must say, I was quite pleased with the two that she chose.
Below is a very brief summary of Jen’s “Tasting Notes” from these three regions, but to learn more, you’ll have to listen to the podcast episode, and then visit Jen on her blog.
Lazio – this region is known for more easy drinking, quaffable wines and is mostly dominated by white wines. The wine region is located in the Castelli Romani in the Alban hills. Top Grapes of Lazio:
- Frascati – A blend made from the Malvasia, Trebbiano and Bombino Bianco grapes.
- Cesanese – The native grape of this region is mostly a spicy, aromatic grape.
Sicily – one of the top producing wine regions of Italy by volume. Known for producing unique wines, especially in the volcanic area of Mt. Etna. Top Grapes of Sicily:
- Mt. Etna produces wines made from the grapes Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. The volcanic ash imparts of lot of minerality, smokiness, and complexity to the wines.
- Top white wines of Sicily are made from the Grillo and Inzolia grapes.
- Top red wines are made by the Nero d’Avola grape. There is only 1 DOCG wine of the region, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which is produced from the Nero d’Avola grape and Frappato.
Campania – another region, in addition to Sicily, known for volcanic soil. Many of the grapes are grown in the Irpinia region in the area of Avellino. Top Grapes of Campania:
- Many whites of this region include Fiano, Greco di Tufo and Falanghina.
- Top red of this region is the Aglianico grape known as the “Barolo of the south” with wines known as Taurasi and Aglianico del Taburno, with Taurasi going through a longer aging process.
Jennifer Martin is a Boston-based Italian wine writer that runs an Italian wine blog called Vino Travels. Her love of wine first started years ago when she studied abroad in Florence, Italy. She’s traveled all over Italy a multitude of times, and her love and passion for Italy not only comes from her experience of living there, but also due to her Italian heritage.
Jen began her blog to share her experiences and educate folks on the world of Italian wines, traveling throughout all 20 regions of Italy, and sharing winemaker interviews, winery visits, and of course the wines she samples and enjoys with all her followers. Join her on her journey!
I would like to give a big “GRAZIE” to Jen Martin for taking the time to discuss this delicious topic with me. I am always eager to expand my understanding of Italian wine, and Jen is a knowledgeable and patient guide.
You can find Jen on her blog: Vino Travels
Click the link to check out other episodes and see my list of the best podcasts about Italy.