Italian wine: the food experience

Bibendum A wine tasting session is always an interesting experience. For a few hours, you are invited (thanks to Bibendum Wine) to live in a world of vines and grapes, where some of the most complex alchemies in the food and drink industry are explained, and where the wonders of the whites, reds and rosés reveal their most fascinating secrets.

The great thing about wine tasting is how easy it is for a wine expert to explain how the industry works. More than twenty years of ignorance will suddenly evaporate in five minutes thanks to a piece of paper, a pen, a rough sense of drawing … and a glass of wine.

To achieve incredible variety in colours, tastes and smells, winemaking requires years of maturing and cultivation to create the right grape, followed by endless hours of experimentation to find the unique combination, which will give a wine its taste.

Among all the wines made across the globe, Italian wines have developed out of a perfect symbiosis: The combination of food and wine enjoyed in true Italian fashion means that restaurants usually serve 3 bottles of wine for every 10 plates of pasta. The marketing experts among you will all agree: if you want to sell wine in Italy, sell pasta or befriend a restaurant owner!

In the 60’s, Italy decided to apply the same scheme France had developed to market their wine:Wine

At the bottom of the pyramid, the ‘Vina da Tavola’, which is the basic table wine.

Next is the ‘Indicazione Geografica Tipica’, a certification that the wine possesses certain qualities due to its geographical origin and specifies the grapes’ origins.

This is followed by the widely recognised ‘Denominazione di Origine Controllata’ which has been the highest level for many years. DOC products should be produced in a consistent and traditional manner with ingredients from specifically classified producers in designated geographical areas. The products must further be aged at least partially in the respective designated area.

In their magnitude, Italy added another level ‘Denominazione di Origine Controllata et Garantita’ which is at the top of the Italian wine ranking system. Not only does the wine meet the DOC requirements, it is also subject to more stringent controls in the areas of cultivation and processing. Wine is awarded this certification only after a specially appointed commission performs a taste test and passes intricate chemical testing.Ceretto Barolo

to Barolo Zonchera 2004
First stop is the North West of Italy – Piemonte region –  in the city of Barolo, to taste the wines of Langhe by the Ceretto family.
The Ceretto Barolo Zonchera evolves a bit like Burgundy, where depending on the year and the weather, you get a great vintage or a harder taste. Soft and round, the alcohol and the acidity are well-balanced. This wine has been receiving an ever-increasing number of requests from around the world and works well with red meats or richly-cooked game.

Ceretto La
nghe Arneis Blange 2007
White wine is the most popular wine in Italy as demonstrated by Milan, named the City to drink, where people used to drink three times more white wine than red.
Rediscovered recently, Ceretto Langhe Arneis Blange is the white wine that shocked the industry by being the first made using a fully-computerized fermentation system over the traditional methods.
With the use of new cold processing techniques in steel tanks, Ceretto Langhe Arneis Blange is a fruity wine with hints of pears and apples. A very refreshing white to serve with fish appetizers, the wine is lightly fizzy due to its low sulphur content.

Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 2004Rosso Di Montalcino
Further in the South, the Castello Banfi, a family-owned vineyard estate and winery from the Brunello region of Tuscany, invites you to taste some delicate refined red wines that, produces.
Brunello di Montalcino was Italy’s first wine to be accorded D.O.C.G. status. The wine is made of the best grapes of the Montalcino region in Tuscany. The wine ages for 2 years in barrels and an additional year in bottles before distribution.
A well-loved wine that can age for years and still be flush, the Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 2004. Is best served with red meat, savoury game and aged cheeses.

Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino Poggio Alle Mura 2004
The wine is called “Poggio alle Mura” to honor the historical name of the medieval fortress crowning the vineyard estate. It is the result of over two decades of research in clonal selection and cultivating the optimal grape. The Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino Poggio Alle Mura 2004 is a fruity wine with a lot of character. To be served with red meats, roasts, hearty stews and rich powerful cheeses.


23 thoughts on “Italian wine: the food experience

    • Hi Dan,
      I’m very very pleased to know that you like my post! This wine tasting was a first one for me and I’m happy to see that I have managed to write some interesting information, even for you. That’s a honour! I would be more than happy to attend more wine events in the future and share some good glasses of wine with you.

  1. Mathilde,

    These wines sound absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    By the way, white wine is much more popular than red in Rome, too. Most of the local wines from the Castelli area (like Frascati) are whites. It may have something to do with the important role that seafood plays in the diet. In Florence, it seems that the opposite is true, however.

    One small correction: Barolo is in the northWEST of Italy (Piemonte region). And Barolo is a town in the province of Cuneo.

    Thanks again. Looking forward to your future posts!


    • Dear Frank, thanks for your great and interesting comment and I feel very honoured to get these words from an Italian! I appreciate your inputs and I will make the change you’ve suggested

  2. thanks for the great write up. SO nice to see the worlds of wine and food coming together properly. We wine ‘specialists’ can try and impart some vinous knowledge, and I really rather need educating about food – esp how dishes are put together. Over to you 😉

    see you again soon I hope

    • My pleasure, Robert, and as a French person, how can I not enjoy Wine AND Food together. I would be very happy to tell you more about food and I guess the best way is to share it so why don’t you come over to our place in Wimbledon for a nice evening in the next few weeks? Let me know!

  3. A lovely post about a really good wine-filled evening Mathilde. I loved the little pyramid on the paper bag drawing! Niamh has a good photo of it on her flicrk page…

    Hope to see you again soon.

  4. My husband and I are very fond of all of these wines, actually anything that has a big bold presence in the glass! Thanks for your information!

    I look forward to reading more of your stuff…

  5. Very well done! Bravo. We host the winemaker dinners and release parties here for the wines of the Central Coast of California. The day is not complete without some wonderful glass of goodness. Thank you, s

    • I’m very happy you like it! It’s always a pleasure to write about wine, especially for a French person and I’ll keep you posted when I will have the chance to visit Castello Banfi!

  6. Wow, color me thirsty forever! Great blog…

    After living in Los Angeles for years, I moved out to the east coast on Long Island where I now reside smack in the middle of wine country…so let’s just say I’m steeped into all this.

    And I just want you and your readers to know of a killer new contest going on where people are showing off how they pair their favorite wines with their best recipes!

    Santa Margherita wines is having their second annual The Great Taste Challenge.

    Submit an original recipe with paired with a Santa Margherita wine for the opportunity to win a trip to L.A. and dinner at Fabio’s restaurant.

    (The cool Fabio…the top chef!!)

    Anyway, it’s a lot of fun to show off what you can do in the kitchen and how certain foods go so perfectly with certain wines.

    If you like, you can learn more about the Santa Margherita Great Taste Challenge and see if you want to enter!

    PS…Thanks to some of these pics you have here, I may never leave this vineyard…


    Kevin Browne
    Mattituck, NY

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