For over a thousand years in its native Italy, the Trebbiano grape has been grown and cultivated for the production of high quality white wines. Its success on home soil led to the grape being planted in several other European countries, and later in the New World where it has also proven to be popular. Whilst the Trebbiano varietal grape is most commonly associated with fortified wines, it is also commonly used as a blending grape, as its naturally high acidity makes it ideal for boosting less acidic blends. Trebbiano grapes are also cultivated in Italy for the production of fine single variety white wines, and wine makers prize the Trebbiano for the fact that it is excellent for expressing terroir. Indeed, alongside the expected flavors of citrus fruits, it is common to pick up mineral notes and all sorts of pleasant surprises in wines made from this grape.
The small central Italian wine region of Umbria has a wine making history which stretches back over two thousand years, and was considered an important center of viticulture by the Romans, who used the fine soils and excellent climatic conditions in Umbria for the production of their wines. Today, the wine industry in the region remains strong and unique, with the region benefiting enormously from the excellent weather and terroirs which typify the region. Many wineries in Umbria keen to experiment with imported grape varietals, which are often blended and aged with native varietals in order to make highly characterful and delicious wines. In particular, the blended white wines made from Chardonnay and Grechetto grapes are well worth looking out for, as are those made from Sangiovese and imported French varietals.
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.