The Lambrusco varietal grape has been grown in and around its native region of Emilia, Italy for several thousand years, with archaeological evidence suggesting it was even cultivated by the ancient Etruscans, long before it was a favorite of the Romans. There are actually over sixty different types of Lambrusco grape, however, the most commonly grown varietal is Lambrusco Salamino â€“ the varietal used for the sparkling and slightly sweet strawberry tinted wine which is popular around the world. Although very much an Italian varietal, there are wineries elsewhere in the world which work with this grape, most notably in Australia where it is also used to make a sparkling wine. It can also be used to make a wonderful dry wine, in which the strawberry flavor comes through a little more powerfully, followed by a pleasantly bitter finish.
Veneto in north-eastern Italy has always been associated with viticulture, being one of the most historically important regions in Italy and Europe at large, and having a strong tradition of trade and innovation. The history of the region has clearly had an effect on the wine which is produced there, as the influence of neighboring countries such as Austria is clear in the refreshing, clean and alpine flavored white wines which are typical of Veneto's wine culture and present in the excellent and famous Soave wines. Although over fifty-five percent of the ninety thousand hectares Veneto has under vine is used for the production of white wines, the region also produces some superb red wines which use a wide range of native and imported grape varietals. These include Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, alongside more traditional red grapes associated with Italian wines.
There are few countries in the world with a viticultural history as long or as illustrious as that claimed by Italy. Grapes were first being grown and cultivated on Italian soil several thousand years ago by the Greeks and the Pheonicians, who named Italy 'Oenotria' â€“ the land of wines â€“ so impressed were they with the climate and the suitability of the soil for wine production. Of course, it was the rise of the Roman Empire which had the most lasting influence on wine production in Italy, and their influence can still be felt today, as much of the riches of the empire came about through their enthusiasm for producing wines and exporting it to neighbouring countries. Since those times, a vast amount of Italian land has remained primarily for vine cultivation, and thousands of wineries can be found throughout the entire length and breadth of this beautiful country, drenched in Mediterranean sunshine and benefiting from the excellent fertile soils found there. Italy remains very much a 'land of wines', and one could not imagine this country, its landscape and culture, without it.