Lesser-known Italian grapes you need to know: Five gems from Central Italy

For the second post of the series on native Italian grapes, we’ll explore a few of the most notable varieties from the regions of Umbria, Lazio, Marche, and Abruzzo in Central Italy. SAGRANTINO (Region: Umbria) Native to the medieval hilltop village of Montefalco in eastern Umbria between Perugia and Spoleto. Historically known for its sweet passito-style wines, the grape almost disappeared in the mid-20th century, … Continue reading Lesser-known Italian grapes you need to know: Five gems from Central Italy

Lesser-known Italian grapes you need to know: Five gems from the North

Like most wine lovers and serious enthusiasts, you have probably enjoyed or at least heard of the classic Italian wines from well-known, quality regions: Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Amarone, etc. Though they only represent a small percentage of production, these wines command the largest mindshare are the first that come to mind when thinking about Italian wines. However, with over five hundred native varieties and a … Continue reading Lesser-known Italian grapes you need to know: Five gems from the North

On becoming a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador

This past June I became an Italian Wine Ambassador. Yes! I attended and passed the rigorous exam organized by Vinitaly International Academy (VIA), which awards the certification which has become the gold standard of Italian wine education and expertise. VIA’s main goal is to build a global network of qualified professionals who will promote and advocate for Italian wines throughout the world. The program consists … Continue reading On becoming a Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador

Valtellina: Nebbiolo from the mountains

Nebbiolo, the finicky, pale-colored grape from northwest Italy has a place close to my heart.  Wines from the fog-prone hills Langhe hills of Piemonte, particularly from Barolo and Barbaresco, are some of the most complex, aromatic, ethereal wines and single-handedly brought Nebbiolo to the top echelon of the fine wine world. Top-quality Nebbiolo is rarely seen outside Piemonte, however, the alpine region of Valtellina, in … Continue reading Valtellina: Nebbiolo from the mountains

Alto Adige: Alpine wines from the roof of Italy

Pristine alpine blue skies and sun-drenched Mediterranean valleys surrounded by a spectacularly beautiful mountainous backdrop at the northern tip of Italy.  We are in Alto Adige (Südtirol in German), an autonomous province within the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, which enjoys a distinct identity, language, and culture that sets it apart from its neighbors to the south.   One of the first things you notice as … Continue reading Alto Adige: Alpine wines from the roof of Italy

Cangas: An undiscovered gem in Asturias, Spain

There are spectacular mountainous landscapes in Cangas, vineyards growing on steep hillsides in deep river valleys, all surrounded by lush greenery among the clouds. In the province of Asturias, this may be one of the least-known wine regions in Spain, but not for long. A land of heroic viticulture The Principality of Asturias is located in North-central Spain. It belongs to an area known as … Continue reading Cangas: An undiscovered gem in Asturias, Spain

Portuguese Wines: A World of Difference

Situated on the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, and isolated from the rest of Europe until joining the EU in 1986, Portugal has clung to its rich landscape of native grape varieties.  Unaffected by Chardonnay- and Cabernet-mania that took over the world in the 1980s, these unique flavors represent a point of differentiation and originality in today’s wine world.              Portugal boasts an incredible diversity … Continue reading Portuguese Wines: A World of Difference

Five Greek Grapes you need to try

Greece has one of the most ancient and richest wine cultures on the planet, however, in the modern era it’s gone largely unobserved by the rest of the wine world.  However, in the past 30 years the country has experienced a dramatic modernization in viticulture and winemaking, which coupled with the wealth of native grape varieties, make it an exciting destination for wine lovers and … Continue reading Five Greek Grapes you need to try

The wines of Aragón, Spain

Garnacha (Grenache) is in the midst of a renaissance in Spain and across the world. A grape variety historically undervalued and unappreciated, it is nowadays the lynchpin of many fashionable projects in Priorat, Gredos, Southern France, and even in its homeland: Aragón. Many of these new producers have been inspired by the concentrated underpriced reds that have long been made from old Garnacha vines in … Continue reading The wines of Aragón, Spain

Discovering Spain’s lesser-known red grapes

Diversity is one of the main strengths of Spanish wine, primarily driven by a wide breadth of native grape varieties – both red and white – which are capturing the attention of wine lovers worldwide These group includes internationally-known grapes like Garnacha (Grenache) and Monastrell (Mourvedre) as well many unique varieties that had been nearly forgotten until recently. In a previous post, I shared a … Continue reading Discovering Spain’s lesser-known red grapes