- Wine Tips
Italian Wine Regions Explored at Felice
Felice is an Italian restaurant located on Manhattan’s upper east side. Owner Jacopo Giustiniani opened this establishment in 2007 and it has been a popular spot where diners can experience authentic Tuscan cuisine while sampling Italian wine from the extensive Italian-focused wine list.
Italy has 20 wine regions each with unique characteristics in climate and terroir, and this list is inspired by the spirit of the Italian countryside and the wines of Jacopo’s family’s vineyard.
So just how do the Italian wine regions differ and how does the terroir inform the wine?
First of all, it is important to recognize that in addition to the differing wine regions, there are also subtle differences in the grape, and there are about 350 official Italian wine varieties.
So let’s start with the most prominent and popular Italian wine regions and only DOC wines. D.O.C stands for “controlled designation of origin”; this is a quality assurance label for Italian wine. If you want to go a step higher, D.O.C.G. labels offer the highest level of control, guaranteed.
The three Italian wine regions most well-known for producing high-quality table wines are: Veneto, Tuscany, and Piedmont.
Veneto is in the northeast, a region that borders Slovenia. The terrain is diverse and ranges from the Alps to the Adriatic sea. Varietals grown here include an abundance of Pinot Grigio and Prosecco. However, it also is home to wines from Valpolicella and Soave. Valpolicella’s wines range from soft and approachable to rich and concentrated but, in general, these wines are dry, fruity and juicy with a trademark sour cherry note. Wines produced in Soave are often a blend of Garganega, chardonnay and Trebbiano di Soave or, as it is also known, verdicchio.
These wines are dry, crisp, and refreshing, notes of lemon with a saline mineral tang thanks to the area’s volcanic soils.
Heading to Piedmont in the east, this mountainous region's most well-recognized wine locations are Barolo and Barbaresco, both known for their nebbiolo-based wines. However, the weather and land alter the flavor of the grape. The soils in Barbaresco are mostly limestone-based soils of Barbaresco means less tannin while the Barolo wines have two different taste styles, sandstone or limestone. Varietals grown in sandstone tend to be bolder while limestone-based varietals are lighter.
A little to the south lies beautiful Tuscany, and one of the most well-known wines from this region is Chianti, a red blend made primarily with sangiovese grapes, a savory varietal with a name that is derived from the Latin sanguis Jovis, "the blood of Jupiter”. Not sure if that’s a good selling point for wine, but it sounds great. The middle of Tuscany has a Mediterranean-type climate with hot summers and mild winters. This area is where the sangiovese reds are produced: Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano.
Of course, there are many, many more varietals grown and many more wonderful wines to taste. For more information on Italian wines at Felice that should not be missed, listen to this 5-minute CorkRules podcast episode with certified sommelier Whitney Grant.
About the CorkRules Podcast: Each week we pour a glass and share top restaurant wine list picks, providing you with the knowledge to confidently navigate the wine list through sommelier recommendations, suggested food pairings and expert insights
About CorkRules: CorkRules, the first digital wine app experience, makes it easier for you to navigate the restaurant wine list, and provides you with personalized wine recommendations from your favorite restaurants. Through CorkRules you can find the perfect wine for every occasion based on your preferences. Connect with friends and wine experts to discover new wines to try and learn about wine. CorkRules makes it easier to discover and drink what you love.
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