Italian wine regions (II) - North-east Italy


The North East of Italy is best known for producing neutral white wines, with various different styles in every region. Some of the most important regions in North-east Italy include: Alto Adige, Friuli and Veneto.

Situated at the northern extreme of Italy, Alto Adige mainly produces fresh, light whites made from Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Gewürztraminer. The reds made here, from Schiava and Lagrein, are particularly popularity in Austria.

White wines produced on the eastern border of Italy — Friuli — are known for their refreshing and crisp style. Best Friuli whites can be found in the hillside DOCs of Collioand Colli Orientali, rather than in the flatlands. Using the local variety Tocai Friulano and international varieties such as Pinot Grigio, Collio is known for making more aromatic and delicate whites, while Colli Orientali produces whites with more body and length.

Veneto is the largest wine-producing region in Italy, making both red and white styles. The region’s best-known wines are reds made in Valpolicella and whites made in Soave. The popular Italian sparkling wine Prosecco is also produced in this region.

Valpolicella, like Chianti, is one of Italy’s most important red wines. Corvina is its key grape variety, making light, fruity wines with a distinctive sour-cherry twist. Richer reds with chocolate and gamey characters can be found in Amarone della Valpolicella DOC. An outstandingly rich sweet wine, Recioto della Valpolicella, is also produced here.

Soave is known for producing dry whites from the rather modest Garganega grape. However, in the hillside Classico zone, Garganega can be used to produce delicate and crisp white wines with almond aromas.

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