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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 49, February 2007   
Italian Wine: Higher and Higher!Italian Wine: Higher and Higher! MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 48, January 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 50, March 2007

Italian Wine: Higher and Higher!


 Italian wine has walked a long way. Since the beginnings of Italian enology, wines produced in the boot were appreciated for their quality and many authors of the past have praised them in their writings. Wines which made dream the men living in past times, exported and appreciated everywhere in what was considered - at those times - the known world. Wine was also one the first things produced in Italy to be exported outside the borders of the country, then - as everyone knows - the beverage of Bacchus was followed by other products, art and culture. Wine, after all, fully represents the culture and the expression of the ones making it, therefore - since those times - together with wines was also exported the Italian culture, or at least of that territory that will be called in later times Italy. Then, the fairy tale underwent a time of deep decline, the splendor of Italian enology passed the dark times of the Middle Age and - with alternate fortunes - has come to our days, after having undergone a very long period of productive logic in which quantity was more important than quality.


 

 During this period, the name of Italy abroad was however kept “high” by other productions, by the delicacies of the Mediterranean cooking, clothes, Italian style and by all the other products generically classified as “made in Italy”. Among them there was also wine, but its role was certainly marginal, so far from what it was and from what it represented in past times. The decline was not only because of the way wine was generally produced in Italy - lots of quantity and disputable quality - and the few producers who made quality the primary characteristic of their wines, had a pretty hard time in selling their wines, in particular abroad, because of the not very noble fame of Italian wines. And while in Italy they mainly thought about making oceans of ordinary wine, the other countries - including the ones of the so called “New World” - were taking giant steps forward in terms of quality, progressively getting more and more marketing shares as well as building up a solid fame of quality producers.

 In the last 25 years the world of Italian wine - luckily - has lived a revolution in every aspect, both because of the will of some producers who believed in revaluating the enology of this country, as well as because of the increasing interest for Italian wine. These two events, including the renewed worldwide interest for the beverage of Bacchus, have started a change which can be defined as epochal, literally changing the production criteria and - thanks to the progressive introduction of modern technologies and wine making techniques - Italian wine has resumed its way towards quality, “suspended” for a very long time. The reprise towards quality has begun - at the beginning of the 1980s - with white wines, also helped by the fashion of the moment, followed by red wines and, in recent times, by the excellent production of classic method and Charmat sparkling wines, particularly concentrated in northern Italy.

 Even though slowly, Italian wine was attracting the attention of foreign markets again, conquering, once again, the dignity and the role which in past times distinguished Italy. however competition was - as it was easily predictable - pretty tight: progresses obtained by the other countries of the world were surprising and certainly not easy to surpass. Also because the enological production of the competing countries was - and still is today - of excellent quality, therefore consumers, in front of the possibility of choosing a series of products, they prefer, of course, the ones having the higher quality and possibly sold at the most convenient price. A non easy scenery, of course, in which if they would have simply relied on the “made in Italy” branding - still attracting in every country of the world - this was not enough to ensure to Italian wine a renewed success. It was the time to show facts, not only words.

 And the facts have finally arrived. Since many years the quality of Italian wines has indisputably reached levels such to be superior than the one of the many wines coming from the other countries of the world. Whether it was because of the “made in Italy” branding or not, the charm of culture and Italian tradition, this is not important at all: the result is clear without trying to find a reason or merits somewhere else. Also the figures about the export of Italian wines abroad are very clear. The statistics about the export of Italian wine in 2006 say there was an increase of 13% about quantities and an increase of 9% about profits than 2005. If we consider the holiday period which has just passed - a period in which the sale of sparkling wines increases considerably - the results obtained by bubbles in foreign country are surprising. The sale of Italian sparkling wines in 2006 have recorded an increase of about 17% in quantity and 13% in profits. A result which confirms, once again, the progresses and the results obtained by Italian bubbles, both classic and Charmat methods.

 Italian bubbles are getting more and more successful in Japan, acquiring more and more market shares in the country of the rising sun. In Germany Italian wine has considerably increased export, and now it represents the larger share in German market, followed by France and Spain. In the other side of the Atlantic ocean are being recorded encouraging results as well. In the United States of America the sales of Italian wine has considerably increased, including the interest of knowing the history, tradition and the wine areas of Italy. In fact, whereas the situation of the export of Italian wine in the country of the European Union can be considered pretty stable, export has considerably increased in all those countries outside the Union. The first ranking of export is occupied by red wines and, progressively increasing, sparkling wines, an indisputable sign the bubble produced in Italy have reached high quality levels.

 This is what has been reported by the ICE - Istituto Nazionale per il Commercio Estero, National Institute for Foreign Commerce - about the export of Italian wine abroad. In this scenery, it is also found out the main share of wine export goes to the regions of northern Italy - representing more than 70% - whereas the export of southern regions is a little more than 5%. A surprising result, by considering the good production of southern regions, in particular of red wines. The good trend of the export of Italian wine in the world is certainly something which confirms the remarkable progresses Italian enology did for quality. The confirmation the hard and tenacious work done by producers for the success of Italian wine was effective and that quality was the main thing asked by wine lovers. The wish is that the result will be confirmed in 2007 as well and that quality of Italian wine will be increased, not only for the joy of the countries of the world in which it is being exported, but also for the joy of wine lovers in Italy. Alla salute!

 



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 49, February 2007   
Italian Wine: Higher and Higher!Italian Wine: Higher and Higher! MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 48, January 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 50, March 2007

MailBox


 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial or fill in the form available at our site.

 

How is Sciacchetrà produced? How should this wine be served?
David Matteoli -- Meadow Vista, California (USA)
Sciacchetrà - according to the local dialect should be called Sciachetrà - is a wine produced in the Cinque Terre, Liguria, locally known as rinforzato (refursà, reinforced). Sciacchetrà is produced with Bosco, Vermentino and Albarola grapes, allowed to dry after harvesting in order to diminish the quantity of water while concentrating sugar. The grapes are then pressed and vinified, therefore obtaining a sweet and thick wine. Sciacchetrà must age at least one year before being commercialized, whereas the Sciacchetrà Riserva requires at least three years. Sciacchetrà is generally served at a temperature of 14° C (57° F) in small dessert wine glasses and it is a good match for confectionery and hard and piquant cheese.



It is said Champagne must be served in the flûte glass and at a temperature of 6-8° C (42-46° F). Does this not excessively penalize aromas?
Hiroshi Yoshida -- Kyoto (Japan)
Champagne is generally served in a flûte glass at a pretty low temperature in order to favor one of the aspects considered to be more elegant for this wine: perlage. The development of carbon dioxide is in fact favored in tall and narrow glasses, with a pretty pointed base, whereas low temperatures avoid the sudden dispersion of this gas, while ensuring a longer lasting of the development of bubbles. However these two characteristics excessively penalize the development and the perception of aromas, also because the flûte is generally filled completely. In the last years it is a common practice to use for Champagne, as well as for other great classic method sparkling wines, a wider flûte glass, in order to ensure not only the development of bubbles, but also a better development of aromas. Temperature has a primary role in the development of aromas and at low temperatures, also in case the wine is served in a wider glass, they are however penalized. For this reason, some bubbly lovers prefer serving these wines in larger glasses - the same used for aged white wines - at a temperature of 10-12° C (50-54° F). This solution penalizes the “show” of perlage, however allows Champagne to better express its aromatic qualities, a result of years of patient aging in bottle.



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  Editorial Issue 49, February 2007   
Italian Wine: Higher and Higher!Italian Wine: Higher and Higher! MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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