Italy is a fine country for white grape varietals, and white wines have been produced in this ancient country for thousands of years. One of the more popular varietals in the modern age is Garganega, which is currently the 5th most planted white grape across Italy. This grape is most closely associated with the Veneto region of Italy, although it is also grown in Sicily, where it is known as Grecanico Dorato. Garganega is a rigorous, hardy grape, which can grow in huge yields - explaining its popularity in the past. Today, winemakers must be careful to keep yields as low as possible, as this a varietal which can easily lose its distinctive characteristics and fine qualities when grown in bulk.
We know Garganega most commonly from the Soave wines which have been consistently popular over the past few decades. Indeed, the Soave Classico wines which still sell in large quantities across the globe are made from 70%-100% Garganega varietal grapes, and these wines showcase the varietal’s fresh and delicate qualities. The most common flavors present in Garganega wines are delicate, citrus notes, balanced by a hint of almond, and the best examples have remarkable balance and length, with wonderful aromatic notes.
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' – the land of wines – 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.
As historically one of the most important regions in the world regarding trade and experimentation, it comes as no surprise to discover that Veneto has always been a well respected and innovative wine region. This area of north-easterly area of Italy benefits greatly from a continental climate tempered by the Alps, and plenty of influence from the Germanic countries it is near to. Veneto is most commonly associated with beautifully elegant white wines, such as those of Soave, and has over ninety thousand hectares under vine. Impressively, within that area, over a third of the vineyards in the Veneto region have been granted official AOC status, and many of the sub-regions and appellations of Veneto have gone on to be world-famous in regards to quality. One such example is Valpolicella, where some of Italy's finest and most complex red wines are produced.