In the province of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy in Italy, one of the most commonly cultivated grape varietals is the Lambrusco. This grape is most commonly associated with sparkling, strawberry flavored red wine, although vintners have often produced both white and rosÃ© variations on the classic fizzy wine, all of which have been consistently popular over the past century. Lambrusco is a grape varietal with an impressive history, and archaeological findings have presented the notion that they were cultivated even long before the Romans in Italy, by the ancient Etruscan civilization, making them one of the oldest used wine varietals on earth. Today, they are also grown in both Australia and Argentina, where they are also commonly used for sparkling wine of excellent flavor and character.
Tuscany is probably Italy's most important and widely respected wine region, with a history which stretches back almost three thousand years, and a set of fine grape varietals which produce some of the most delicious quality white and red wines in the world. Sangiovese and Vernaccia varietal grapes are grown all over this expansive region, and the way they are handled, aged and processed varies from town to town. The beautiful hot climate of Tuscany helps these grapes reach full ripeness, despite the fact the soil of the region is generally problematic for the vintners who work there. Despite this, there is a dedication to quality and flavor in Tuscany which is more or less unmatched anywhere else in Italy, and a great mix of strong tradition and willingness to experiment and think outside the box which has been a wonderful recipe for success in the region.
It isn't difficult to understand why Italy is famed not just for the quality of its wines, but also for the vast variety and range of characteristics found in the wines there. The terrain of the country varies wildly, from the lush rolling green hills and valley of Tuscany, to the sun drenched rocky coasts of Sicily, the mountainous and alpine regions of the north, and the marshy lowlands of the east. Italy really does have a little bit of everything. Combine this huge range of landscapes with an almost perfect climate for grape cultivation, and you have a country seemingly designed for viticultural excellence. The results speak for themselves, and it is clear to see that wine has become an inseparable part of Italian culture as a result of its abundance and brilliance. Each village, city and region has a local wine perfectly matched with the cuisine of the area, and not an evening passes without the vast majority of Italian families raising a glass of locally sourced wine with pride and pleasure.