Famous wine such as Chianti, Barolo, and Prosecco are well known by a broad audience in Italy and overseas. The variety of Italian wines is dictated by the geographical diversity; native grapes from South Tyrol are different than the ones found in the Islands of Sicily. In fact, all 20 regions in Italy grow different grapes and have different wine styles, and some of them still use the same practices and traditions that stretch back to the ancient Romans and Etruscans.
In the region of Tuscany, Chianti is grown and produced; but this region offers plenty of other types of wines with excellent quality. Reds like the Brunello of Montalcino and whites like the Vernaccia di San Gimignano are some examples. And if bubbles are what customers are looking for, the rich and fruity Franciacorta DOCGs of Lombardy is another less known wine, but of high quality. In the Sardinian region, Vermentino is the wine that is used to accompany fish suppers because of its excellent balance of fruitiness and acidity.
The town of Montefiascone, near Viterbo, is famous for its wine called Est! Est!! Est!!! The legend states that the wine got its name from a German bishop who was traveling to visit the Vatican in the Middle Ages; while he was traveling he sent a prelate ahead of him and he ordered him to write the word Est, which in Latin means “'It is”, on the door of a hotel on the way with good wine. The legend continues that the prelate was so pleased with the wine he found in Montefiscone, that he wrote the word Est three times to make sure the bishop would not miss it.
One of the best ways to discover and to appreciate the variety of wines in Italy is to get into a car and to drive around the Italian countryside; stopping at the various little wineries found on farms with vineyards will give an opportunity to meet the producers and to get a feel of how the process of wine making takes place. Although this is the ideal scenario, unfortunately, not everyone can do so; the alternative is to look for websites the can convey the same information, only virtually. These websites offer selections of Italian wines chosen by experts after they have visited the producers’ vineyards and canteens. They have virtual sommeliers that assist the clients during any phase of the wine selection.