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.
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.