Italian wine drinkers have been enjoying the various flavors of wine ever since the time of ancient Rome. Wine was so much part of their culture, that they named one of the gods of ancient Rome, Bacchus, the god of wine.
The wine culture of Italy may have not been as widely exported centuries ago to other countries as were the French and the Spanish, but they are known internationally for the quality of fine wines they produce and domestically the Italian level of wine consumption is testimony to the fact that the Italians practice the wine culture they preach.
On the bottles specifically, people considering such wines may see these categories abbreviated as VGT, IDT, DOC and DOCG respectively. The first two categories refer to table wines, while the last two refer to wines of more superior quality.
The Indicazione Geografica Tipica refers to wines that come from a particular region and which are slightly better than the Vino da Tavola wines which are simply just wines that bear an indication that they have been bottled in Italy.
The two superior wine categories refer to wines that have been made and bottled according to strict regulations meant to guarantee quality.
A wine labeled Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita has passed what is known in wine making as a blind taste test. This test is carried out by skilled wine tasters in order to determine the quality of a particular wine from a specific estate.
Wine of DOCG status may also be classified as Classico, Riserva, Superiore or Vigna.
A wine with the Classico term on its label means that it was made in a region traditionally known for such wine.
Riserva on the other hand is used to denote wine that has been aged for 2 yrs and more.
Superiore is used to indicate that the alcohol content of the wine is higher than the standard for the region (Denominzaion) where the wine was produced.
Vigna or vigneto is used to indicate the name of the vineyard responsible for the production of such wine.
Red wine in Italy is known as Rosso while white wine is known as Bianco.
There are many grape varieties used to produce either kind with some of the most popular Italian grape varieties being the Sangiovese and Montepulciano for red wine and the Trebbiano and Moscato for white wine.
Other grapes are used to make different brands of Italian wine as well and the wine is usually as distinct as the regions they come from.
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