The Wines of Northern Italy
In the last few months, we have traveled together – drinking our way up the Italian peninsula from the volcanic-rich lands of the island of Sicily through the blessed wine country of the Mezzogiorno, all the way up to the vineyards of central Lazio in a comprehensive nine-week wine tasting tour of the southern regions of Italy.
Starting today, we will present italyMONDO! Blog readers and fellow wine lovers with the sublime wines of the north. We will be diving into and getting our hands dirty with the soils that nourish the vines of Umbria and Le Marche, then we’ll be moving up to the “motherland” of Italian wine—Toscana (Tuscany)—followed by the radical Emilia-Romagna plains before moving up to the prized vineyards of Veneto, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige (Südtirol). And if that wasn’t enough, we’ll continue even further north to taste the delectable wines of Lombardia and Liguria, even reaching the northernmost regions of Piemonte and its spectacular wines before ending our journey in the vine lands of Italy with the Peninsula’s smallest region, Valle d’Aosta (Vallée d’Aoste).
Northern Italy, a relatively small area–roughly half the size of Arizona–is home to many of the best wines in the world.
In Il Bel Paese, one cannot travel five miles without seeing grapevines. Northern Italian vineyards are planted in widely diverse terrains: gritty, high altitude Alpine plateaus, damp foothills, sunny coastal terraced trellises and, of course, lush undulating countryside like that of Tuscany. There is hardly an inch of Italy that cannot ripen grapes suitable for quality wine, and consequently there is a myriad of regions producing a diverse array of great vino italiano. Just think of the cool, mountain vineyards of Piemonte, which produce—among its excellencies—the noble, crisp, austere Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto d’Alba; the Veneto flatlands rearing both classic whites like Soave and authoritative reds like Amarone and Bardolino; the sunny, temperate central region of Tuscany yielding bold, lusty, full-bodied Brunello di Montalcino, Vernaccia and Chianti sensations along with “Super Tuscan” variations; Liguria and its 100 different types of grapes; or the astounding whites produced in the Friuli Venezia-Giulia wetlands and rocky Trentino Alto Adige highlands (…and I could continue!) Northern Italian wines boast a complexity and earthiness that reflects the wide diversity of its soil, the unique grape varietals, and the illuminated Italian winemaker’s craft.
In our tour of Italy’s northern wine regions, we will place special emphasis on wines widely available in markets such as the continental U.S. and Canada, as well as those of superior quality. But we will also mention wines that are harder to find, and even some which can only be purchased in Italy (an excuse to come and visit, maybe?)
We will begin our journey of the wines of northern Italy by bidding farewell to the south-central grapevine plantations of the Lazio region where we left off, venturing north to explore the picturesque countryside and rolling hills home to the vineyards of Umbria, our gateway to the vino del nord.
Did your family come from northern Italy? Have you ever dreamed of walking in their footsteps, evening finding and meeting your northern Italian relatives still living there as well? Contact us today and find out how italyMONDO! can help you research your nothern Italian (and southern, of course!) family tree or create a vacation of a lifetime with a custom Heritage Tour for you and your family!