Italy is divided into 20 administrative regions all of which produce wine to some extent, and all of which contain various wine regions. The most significant, when both quality and quantity are taken into consideration, are Tuscany, Piedmont, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto.
Each region has its flagship wine styles. Some are famous because they are produced in large volumes and can be found all over the world, others because of their consistently high quality. Tuscany is known for its Chianti, of course, but among devoted wine aficionados its Brunello and Vino Nobile are even more highly regarded. Likewise, Piedmont’s most famous wine is now Moscato d’Asti , but the region is most respected for its Barolo and Barbaresco. Veneto’s vast output of varietal Pinot Grigio, Soave and Prosecco does little to boost its reputation as a fine wine region, and yet it produces one of the world’s richest, finest wines: Amarone della Valpolicella.
Italy’s vineyards are home to more than 2000 grape varieties, many of which are on the brink of extinction. The safest and best-known Italian grapes are Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano and Glera (although technically the latter is more French than Italian). These varieties cover many thousands of acres of vineyard, and can be found in various regions. At the other end of the scale are such little-known rarities as Ribolla and Dorona.
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