Who is the world’s largest wine producer?
It’s easy to assume that the powerhouses of world wine – France, Australia or the USA – produce more wine than any other nation. However, all those countries are now playing second fiddle to wine’s new superpower: Italy.
The Daily Telegraph recently reported that European Commission figures showed that Italy produced 4.96 billion litres of wine in 2010, compared to 4.62 billion in France. And, in embarrassing news for the French wine industry, production of prosecco – Italy’s version of champagne – exceeded that of their rivals by 20 million litres.
The UK buys around 12 per cent of all the wine produced in Italy. So, with Italian wine growing in popularity, what Italian wines should you be considering this summer?
While 21 red grape varieties compose Italy’s major wines, three are particularly important. Until the rise of Sangiovese, Barbera was Italy’s most planted grape variety. The combination of vivid flavour, high acid and low tannin make Barbera wines particularly refreshing. Nowadays, Sangiovese is the most planted red variety in Italy’s vineyards. The leading variety in the central Italian regions of Tuscany and Umbria, it is the major grape of Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and the only variety in Brunello di Montalcino.
The third major variety is Nebbiolo. A specialty of the Piedmont region, this native Italian grape makes two of Italy’s best red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco.
Italian white wines have seen a huge surge in popularity over recent years. Rosie Davenport, Editor at Off Licence News, recently told the Daily Mail: “Italy is having something of a renaissance and has seen a major boost thanks to the Pinot Grigio effect. Pinot Grigio is really rocketing and now accounts for 40 per cent of the country’s UK sales.”
Pinot Grigios such as our Mirabello are light and dry wines, often with a lemony or nutty flavour. Alternatives to Pinot Grigio include Soave, Gavi and my favourite, Verdicchio. Our Coste del Molina is a perfect summer wine, with quite full, intense aromas of grapefruit, pineapple and lime and a fresh, dry palate.
Of course, prosecco is also growing in popularity as a rival to champagne and Spanish cava.
As Rosie Davenport from Off Licence News adds: “Italian wines are also known for being great matches with food and overall the country offers good value, reliable wines at affordable prices.”
That’s why we offer a wide range of great value Italian wines with free local delivery. Based in Saltby, Leicestershire we offer free delivery across the county as well as Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland.
In addition, we’re planning a number of special offers on cases of our best Italian wines over the next few weeks. For more details of these and other superb wines please click here .