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.
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…
In my last regional overview, we went to Portugal. So, I figured the next natural progression would be to talk about Port, a fortified wine made by adding grape spirit to a fermenting juice to create an alcoholic sweet wine. As I mentioned in my Portugal post, the key Port-making region is the Douro Valley. To learn more about the other grape growing regions of Portugal, please see the original post.
Today, I’m going to play with a pop quiz question I received during my WSET Level 3 tutoring class. Have your Port hat on?
There is so much to know about Spanish wine—I’ve only now come to realize (and appreciate) the vast diversity of the grapes grown and the wine styles produced. That being said, this is definitely one country that I’m worried will stuff me up on my upcoming exam (one month away, by the way). So let’s take a look at some Q&A and see if we can’t unravel the intricacies of this Old World wine country…
Oh, you guys. Chile is a lot more complicated than I initially thought it would be. Help me break it down a bit?
Chile’s winegrape growing region is a long skinny one, with vineyard plantings spanning over 900 kilometers from north to south, but just 100 kilometers from east to west. The four key geographical features that define the area are 1) the Pacific Ocean to the West along with the coastal ranges 2) the Andes to the east 3) two mountain ranges that merge just north of Santiago and 4) the great depression between the two ranges to the south of Santiago creating what is called the Central Valley.
Chile has a warm, Mediterranean climate. One major vineyard concern is drought, as the regions are dry and sunny and experience minimal annual rainfall. Although irrigation is utilized, water for irrigation is in short supply. The other concern comes with the weather: El Niño and La Niña. El Niñorefers to periods of dramatically increased rainfall levels; La Niña refers to periods of excessive drought.