DipWSET Theory—Southern Italy

As some of you know, one of my study methods is to create a quick “Top 10,” an at-a-glance list a few key points from a certain country or region. They’re broad, general facts that will test my memory (or, more like, alert me to the things I still have to memorize). I want to provide my Top Southern Italian 10 for you here, but I’ve included a few anecdotes as well—just a few findings that I found interesting that may help with memorization (or, at the very least, entertain you for a moment).

Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy
Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy

For basic information about Southern Italy’s wine region based on WSET Level 3, please see Wine Region Overview: Southern Italy

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DipWSET Theory and Tasting—Valpolicella

When we think of Northeast Italy, we cannot forget Trentino, Alto Adige, and the Friuli regions—known predominantly for light, fruit forward, easy drinking white wines, typically for early consumption. There’s a broad range of international varieties produced. Specifically in Trentino and Alto Adige, which share geographic, cultural, and political ties to Germany and Austria, we find many varieties that grow in those countries as well. In Friuli, the aptly named Friulano is a dominant white wine grape, of course I believe most of our brain’s will veer toward Pinot Grigio grown in Grave di Friuli DOC. And don’t forget about the red wine grape Schiave. Pop Quiz: Where are more prestigious white wines produced and what is the dominant grape responsible for these higher quality wines? (You can find the answer below this post.)

For a general overview of Northern Italy, please see Wine Region Overview: Northern Italy.

Valpolicella Wine Tours
Valpolicella Wine Tours; veronissima.com

Today, however, I want to zero in on Veneto: specifically, Valpolicella because there’s something going on in there that, even in my Level 3 I kept getting confused. And, unfortunately that confusion came back to me in my Diploma Studies. I want to take the time to dive into the definitions of basic Valpolicellapassito/appassimento, recioto, Amarone, and ripasso and (hopefully) solidify that understanding with a conjunctive tasting.

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DipWSET Theory and Tasting—Piemonte

Today I’m zero-ing in on the northwest portion of Italy, specifically the key regions for the key red wine grapes grown—Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. Pop Quiz: Can you describe each of these grape varieties’ key characteristics? How would describe the market positioning for each?

Map by Jeff Quinn.
Map by Jeff Quinn.

For a more general overview of Central Italy, based on WSET Level 3, please see Wine Region Overview: Northern Italy

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This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: February 14—19

Hello and happy weekend. I’ve got your weekly round up of newsy wine items. Lots of great stuff both in traditional media and inside the blogs. So have a fun scroll-through.

For those of you following along on my WSET Diploma Studies, this past week we hit Italy (DipWSET Theory and Tasting—Central Italy (Part 1) DipWSET Theory and Tasting—Central Italy (Part 2)  [Paired with Metalica] DipWSET Theory and Tasting—Umbria ) and will continue with that massive, detailed country into next week.

Until then…cheers!

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DipWSET Theory and Tasting—Umbria

If you’ve been touring Central Italy with me, then you know we’ve stopped on the West Side and East Side—but what about poor Umbria stuck smack dab in the middle? It is technically on the West Side, as it is on the west side of the Apennine mountain range, but in my mind I keep it separate.

When I think of Umbria I think of white wines made from Grecchetto, and this may be because that was the focus in Level 3. And while there’s not loads of details on this central wine region in our Diploma text, it does go into a bit more detail. So below I’ve compiled a list of key points as well as a little tasting.

Before moving forward, test yourself. How would you describe the climate and terroir of Umbria? What are the key characteristics of the Grecchetto grape and what wine styles are produced from it? What is the key red wine grape? Describe its characteristics and the wine styles produced.

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