Custoza, if you’ve not heard of it, is located Northern Italy in the Provence of Verona—comprised of nine townships, named after village of Custoza, a hamlet of Sommacamapgna. The hills originate from glacial deposts between Verona and Lake Garda – massive amount of deposits created an incredibly complex and variable soil situation. The main soils are calcareous clay, interspersed with gravelly rocks and sand. It is this soil structure that greatly differentiates Custoza from surrounding DOCs. It is the soil that creates a uniqueness to the white wines produced, providing a savoriness that will make any doubter of the reality of ‘minerality’ a true believer.
Recently, I had the opportunity to learn and taste through the wines of Roero, located on the western side of the Langhe region, just below Asti on the map. The tasting and master class was provided by the The Consorzio di Tutela Roero. Founded in 2013, the Consorzio di Tutela Roero aims to protect and promote Roero Docg Bianco and Rosso through the synergy between vine growers and winemakers in the area. According to the Consorzio, the Roero appellation, a DOCG since 2004, covers a total surface of 1,158 hectares of vineyard, of which 889 are planted with Arneis vines and 269 with Nebbiolo vines. Out of an annual production of about 7 million bottles, just over 60% is exported.
And so was our focus of the tasting—the Arneis and Nebbiolo grapes, which can produce a variety of wine styles dependent on specific terroir.
Ok cool kids—or, bambini—this is our last stop on our tour of Italy’s wine regions—Southern Italy. Don’t forget to check out what we learned in Northern and Central Italy as well.
[Information based on WSET Level 3 material]
First thing you have to know is that Southern Italy is hot.If you’ve been there during the summer months, you know what I’m talking about. Luckily, despite many preconceived notions, the wines of the Southern Italian world are not all big, bold reds. Let’s take a look…
Overall, the climate of Southern Italy, is hot and dry in the inland areas, becoming more humid toward the coast. As in, Central Italy, many vineyards are planted along the slopes of the Apennine, in which case the vineyards are cooled by altitude. Those planted in the coastal area of the Puglian Peninsula will receive some moderating sea breezes.
Traditionally, vines were bush-trained low to the ground as a way to utilize the canopy to protect grapes from sunburn. Many old vines still use this viticultural method, however newer vineyard plantings use cordon training and trellising in order to incorporate mechanization in the vineyard.
It’s time to hit the Italian wine world. And if I thought France and Spain were huge, well, let’s just say I’ve hit a new hurdle. Luckily, I have a few short answer questions from my WSET tutoring session last month to help get me warmed up. Andiamo…
If you’re new to Franciacorta, like I was when I received this wine, then you may be interested to know that the name, like Champagne, refers to a region — a region in northern Italy. Like many of Italy’s finest wines, the Franciacorta DOCG is located in a hilly portion of the country — between the southern shore of Lake Iseo and the city of Brscia — with mineral-rich, calcereous gravel and sandy soils and deeper limestone bedrock.
The DOCG spans 5,400 acres which is planted to Chardonnay (85%), Pinot Nero (10%), and Pinot Blanco (5%) — the DOCG’s “permitted” grape varieties.
All Franciacorta is made inthe metodo classico. Nonvintage Franciacorta must be aged for 18 months with yeast contact (as opposed to 15 months for Champagne). Vintage Franciacorta, or Millesimato must have 30 months of yeast contact (comparable to Champagne).
Designations for dosage is the same as Champagne: pas dosé, or dosage zéro; pas opéré: maximum 2 g/l of rs; extra brut: 6 g/l; brut: 15 g/l; extra dry: 12–20 g/l; sec: 17–35 g/l; demi-sec: 33–50 g/l.