In Italy's beautiful northern region of Piedmont, wineries have been cultivating the Brachetto grape for centuries, as it thrives on the cooler, mountainous slopes typical of this area. The Brachetto grape is prized by wineries and wine lovers alike, as it produced remarkably light bodied red wines which capture the essence of a Piedmont summer â€“ delicate, breezy, pretty and packed full of summery flavors of strawberries and fresh mountain grasses. The Brachetto wines are also highly aromatic, and because of their mild tannin content, they are very smooth, light and drinkable, making them ideal for sharing on a warm summer's day. Whilst Brachetto varietal grapes are most commonly used for still wines, several wineries in Italy and elsewhere also use them in the production of sparkling wines, often referred to as 'red Asti' as a result of their finesse and elegance.
n Italy, the region most closely associated with excellent quality red wines and characterful sparkling wines is Piedmont. This alpine region is located in the north-west of the country, and features beautiful foothills of the impressive mountain range which forms the nearby border between Italy, France and Switzerland. Wineries in Piedmont work with the Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera grapes which thrive in the warm, dry summers and cooler autumns, as well as the beautifully expressive Moscato grapes which are used for the sparkling Asti wines the region is famed for. For generations, these wineries have perfected the art of aging their red wines, and blending grape varietals to get the most out of each one, leading to a region known all over the world for the exceptional quality of its produce.
For several decades in the mid to late twentieth century, Italy's reputation for quality wines took a fairly serious blow. This was brought about partly due to lack of regulation in certain regions, and too much regulation in others. This led to several wineries in the beautiful and highly fertile region of Tuscany making the bold move to work outside of the law, which they saw as responsible for the drop in quality in Tuscan wines. They believed that they had the expertise and the generations of experience necessary with which to make truly excellent, world class wines, and set about doing just that. These 'Super Tuscans', as they came to be known, quickly inspired the rest of Italy to improve their produce, and now, Italian wine producers in the twenty-first century are widely recognised to be amongst the best in the world. Regulation and law began to change, and wine drinkers across the globe woke up to the outstanding wines coming out of Italy, which are continuing to improve and impress to this day.