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The Italian Red Wine Sangiovese
Made from the best wine grapes from around the world. Learn more about Sangiovese grapes while you taste our classic wine collection.
Sangiovese is a red wine grape variety from Italy which gets its name from the Latin Sanguis Jovis, which means “the blood of Jupiter.
Valpolicella is a system of valleys between Lake Garda and the Lessini Mountains. Amarone is its most famous fruit.
A graceful, very modern wine, which has all the credentials to transform itself into the new indispensable classic of anyone who wants to drink Sicilian.
2001 is the first vintage that imposed the modern Docg structure on the world stage. How did it stand the test of time?
South Tyrol is a land of great whites. The Cantina di Terlano has enhanced the characteristics of a unique terroir, with wines that defy the decades.
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There are thousands of wines, and you can pretty much drink any wine anytime you want. Or drink your favourite wine regardless of your meal. But there are specific rules when it comes to wining-and-dining. Nothing can top pairing a good wine with good food, and that’s where it makes a huge difference.
Or you can also go for versatile wines like Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, or Riesling, which complements any food. Although wine preference is a personal choice, whether red or white, wines with more acidity or low tannin pair with all kinds of foods. Making the right quality wine choice can help you not be unbearable hungover the next day.
White wine is best served chilled, and red wine tastes best under room temperature below 60%.
Some best wine choices to drink for your evening meals:
- Rosé – Rosé is a versatile wine, and they’re typically dry. It has gained popularity over the years due to its refreshing taste. It pairs well with almost every food like sushi, saucy dishes, lamb chops, grilled or roasted meats, chicken, or seafood like lobster or grilled fish.
Another great pairing is a cheese soufflé with dry Rosé, and it’s simply delicious.
- Chardonnay – As one of the world’s most famous wines, Chardonnay is known as a winemaker’s grape as it can be grown in any climatic conditions. It has a dry to medium taste with moderate acidity and is loved by people for its versatility.
Shrimp scampi and Chardonnay is a popular choice—chardonnay pairs well with goat cheese, fish, pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, and oysters.
- Cabernet Sauvignon – Cabernet Sauvignon is a famous rich flavoured red wine with medium-high tannin, medium acidity, high on the alcohol, and dry. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs best with steak, hamburgers, fatty foods, and foods that have peppery flavours. Since Cabernet Sauvignon is high in tannin and dry fatty foods helps in reducing its dryness.
If you have ribeyes on the menu for the evening, a bottle of cabernet sauvignon makes a perfect pair.
- Sauvignon Blanc – Sauvignon Blanc is another popular white wine known for its refreshing taste. They are dry, high in acidity and low in sugar and hence sourer. Sauvignon Blanc is ideal for light foods like white meat, fish, clams, chicken, and vegetables.
Sauvignon Blanc is best paired with grilled vegetables as its taste doesn’t overpower the food.
- Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is a dry red wine with more acidity and is lighter than other red wines. It has an earthy flavor with mushrooms, berries, vanilla, and spicy notes like cinnamon and clove.
Pinot Noir is a versatile wine that can be paired with various foods. It is best paired with ham, goat cheese, grilled asparagus, roasted meats, turkey, venison, or goose.
Another great pairing is salmon with pinot noir. This combination can take your dish to the next level.
- Malbec – Malbec has a rich taste and is known for its deep purple colour. This wine is popular in Argentina and France. Malbec is dry, with medium acidity and tannin. It has flavours like cherries, tobacco, chocolate, and vanilla.
Malbec is best paired with foods like pork, mushrooms, cheese, mozzarella, and creamy sauce.
Another great pair is Malbec, with barbecue ribs for a satisfying evening meal.
- Merlot – Merlot is a popular dark blue–coloured wine with soft tannins and is dry. It has fruit flavours like blackberry, plum, raspberry, and vanilla with chocolaty notes. These are smooth and easy wines.
Merlot is best paired with foods like red meats, root vegetables, stews, and pork.
Another great combination is a roasted duck with merlot. These two pairs make a delicious meal.
If there’s one type of wine that shouldn’t be prohibited for its alcohol content, it must be the red wine. At this point, there a lot of studies that give some potential health benefits of drinking a glass or two of red wine.
These studies base their findings on some potential health benefits of drinking red wine from the fact that this drink is made from fruits, which is abundant in antioxidants. Keith from London personal training company Right Path Fitness says a lot of studies show that red wine owes some of its health benefits from the high level of antioxidants, also known as resveratrol that are present in the skins and seeds of the processed wine as well as fermented grapes during the rigorous process of making red wine.
Possible Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine
Antioxidants are thought to be a miracle substance that can fight virtually all types of diseases that come with aging. Since red wine is thought to contain a considerable amount of antioxidants, more and more people are making a glass or two part of their weeks.
Red wine may help prevent the possibility of diverse neurodegenerative diseases and illnesses
Some Studies potentially show that because of the high resveratrol content of red wine, its properties can assist in avoiding aging people to have illnesses and diseases common amongst seniors like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Red wine is potentially good for the heart
The specific substances in wines such as flavonoids and tannins can raise the levels of high-quality cholesterol or HDL or high-density lipoproteins in the person’s blood. This also has antioxidant properties that can stop a person from developing diverse cardiovascular illnesses, heart attacks, and strokes.
Red wine could potentially help lessen the damaging effects of food poisoning
The properties in red wine can assist cleanse the body from harmful toxins. Apart from preventing food poisoning, it can help you keep away from varying levels of dysentery as well as acquiring diarrhea.
Red wine could possible help treat and avoid diverse gum illnesses
Caused by swollen and irritated muscles in the gums as well as weakened tooth, gum illnesses is a common mouth issue to some people, particularly to smokers. Experts suggest people who suffer from gum issues to drink red wine as the polyphenols in it can lessen the presence of free radicals, which causes the infection and bacteria proliferation inside the mouth.
Red wine could potentially help specific cancers.
Because of the benefits brought by resveratrol in red wines, some professionals believe that moderate and regular consumption can assist in fighting possible cancer cells from proliferating.
This type of wine can suspend the progression as well as the risk of dementia, particularly for seniors.
Red wine also acts as blood thinners for people suffering from blood pressure, as it contains blood pressure lowering substances as well as compounds.
Red wine can help your skin healthy and glowing. Thousands of polyphenol can avoid the damages brought by the cell oxidation process as well as results to healthy as well as young-looking skin.
The best way to get an array of minerals as well as essential vitamins, the potential health benefits of red wine stretch from possible assisting with heart disease to potentially lowering risk of certain cancers, but always drink in moderation.
:Disclaimer we are not doctors or health professionals. This post is opinion only and you should always seek professional advice regarding drinking alcohol and any health benefits, preventions etc.
A winery is one of the best places to be when you are looking to spend a day away from home. There are many people who are trying to place special events which can allow one to get access to the whole process of the winemaking. This is one of the most charming ways to spend the evening well.
Get an empty box for wine
When you are in a winery, you are going to buy a local wine for the rest of the days. You need to make sure that you are carrying them well as there is a possibility that they have the right kind of bootle for each day. Getting a box will make sure that you are carrying it well and do not have to deal with broken wine bottles.
Have a designated driver
There is a huge possibility that you will be tasting wine, and there is a chance that the taste might add up. This will allow you to be responsible when driving. There is also a chance that you will have to encounter a lot of wine regions which will require you a vehicle to travel.
When you are planning to take the kids with you, you need to make sure that you are finding something to take with them. Taking rooms can be boring for the kids, and it is important that you have the right activities which will keep them engaged. You can bring in Rubic’s cube, Play-doh, colouring books etc., to keep them occupied.
A winery can be a fun place to chat with people, but the owner of small wineries have little to no time to talk. If you are going in the morning, you will find a good slot where you can talk to the winemaker, allowing you to understand everything better.
Focus on smaller places
You need to make sure that you are visiting smaller wine places which will allow you to see the quality time and the procedure they follow to make the same wine which is sold behind the bar. Big places, although offer a parking lot, T-shirts and help small places can show you the real winemaking process.
This is an obvious one where you can visit hundreds of tasting rooms, but you need to not be rude. In a small winery, they are likely to be a part of someone else’s home, which requires you to be nice to the owners. You are getting the wine for free or for a small change which is why it is important to show some respect to the winemaker regarding the skills and the process.
From the Cinque Terre to Tuscany, Campania to Alto Adige, our latest issue recounts an Italy that continues to surprise us, both with its indigenous grape varieties as with its international ones…
We are pleased to let you know that the latest issue of Slow Wine Magazine is now available online in English, German and Italian.
This issue’s main story is dedicated to white wine, a first! Fiano di Avellino, from Campania, is one of Italy’s finest white grape varieties but still remains largely undiscovered. Whoever thinks that Italy is just a land of great reds has much to discover! The article was written by Luciano Pignataro, an expert on Campania wines who we are also lucky to have as a regional coordinator for our Slow Wine guide.
The Retrospective section is dedicated to Nobile di Montepulciano 2005, one of Tuscany’s most intriguing Sangiovese-based wines, which we put to the test of time 10 years on from the vintage. How will it hold up? We reveal all, along with stunning photographs of the area (Tuscany’s breathtaking landscape didn’t disappoint for our photographer!).
Our New Frontiers section visits one of the most cherished landscapes in the world – the Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast. Our reporter Fabio Pracchia hiked the “five lands” to discover the producers, the history and the landscape – its severity and fragility – and the wines which today risk extinction. We tasting outstanding whites and passitos, extraordinary for their character and sense of place.
We end off with a mammoth vertical tasting (50 wines!). We tasted and reviewed the vintages from 1984 to 2010 of Löwengang Cabernet and Chardonnay by Lageder, the celebrated biodynamic winery in Alto Adige. These two wines astounded us with their extraordinary longevity.
With 58 pages, four maps and 160 wines tasting notes, divided into simple and easy top lists, this issue recounts an Italy that continues to surprise us, both with its indigenous grape varieties as with its international ones which have found their perfect natural habitats.
As always, our digital magazine offers several options: You can buy a single article (US$2.99), the entire issue (US$5.99) or an annual subscription of six issues (US$29). If you want to see what Slow Wine Magazine is all about, you can always check out Issue #1 for free.
It is difficult to utter the words natural wine without sparking a heated debate. The term polarizes people. The definition conjures confusion. Consumers seem destined to either love or hate it.
Much of the conflict is based in semantics. The vague quality of ‘natural’ fuels the argument, while mainstream producers take offense at the implication that such a term renders their wine ‘unnatural’ by comparison. Even amongst those who align themselves with the principles of the natural movement there is discord about what to call these wines and how to label them.
In general, natural winemaking (which I will call it for simplicity’s sake) encompasses the ethos of a group of winemakers who grow their grapes without chemical additions, hand harvest the fruit, avoid the addition of industrially produced yeasts, and keep sulfur additions to a bare minimum, if it is to be added at all. The degrees to which producers adhere to this ‘naturalness’ vary, as do the names by which they define their products – including ‘authentic’, ‘naked’, ‘artisan’, and ‘sustainable’. The one thing they share, however, is a drive to make wine with very little intervention.
This hands-off approach is celebrated because it is seen as a means of preserving identity and distinctiveness. Key to this classification is that ‘organic’, ‘biodynamic’ and ‘sustainably produced’ wines are not necessarily of the natural ilk. Many wineries employ such practices in the vineyards, but when it comes to the cellar, the grapes are often subjected to industrial methods. This includes techniques like reverse osmosis and microoxygenation, and can also mean the addition of colorants, enzymes, sugar, artificial flavorings, and synthetic preservatives.
“Modern winemaking techniques and refinements can erase perceived faults but they also kill personality,” says Giulio Armani, the winemaker at La Stoppa and founder of the new domain Denavolo, both in Emilia Romagna, Italy. “The joy of natural wines is that each one is living and every bottle is unique, even those from within the same vintage.”
Many opponents suggest that this approach is simply a fad, a trend that excuses sloppy winemaking techniques. Renowned critic Robert Parker Jr. has pronounced that the natural movement is “one of the major scams being foisted on wine consumers.” This raises the question of how we choose to define flaws and faults in products, a somewhat hazy overlap between food, art and craft. But what many people love about natural wines is not that they are necessarily the best—that is, the most refined or elegant—but that they are unpredictable, alive, personal, and reflective of a winemaker’s work with particular fruit and in a specific place.
In the end, there is definitely room to accommodate both markets. Natural wines counter what seems to be increasing homogeneity, and it is heartening to see producers and retailers embracing craft practices while creating products that do not present an ever-pervasive sameness.
There are many factors which go into making the right winery. Every soil lends a unique blend of qualities which can be utilised to help in the ageing process. For grapes, one of the most important aspect to look after is the soil. Grapes for wines grow in a land which has certain characteristics. White grapes tend to grow on high levels of minerality. If you are wondering the best soils in the world for growing wine grapes, keep reading to find out.
The Burgundy region of France is well known when it comes to the quality of the wine. The bottles of burgundy wines can be highly expensive can it is a collector’s items. This has something to do with the fact that there are some of the best winemakers who provide quality work. The soil is shared by Loire Valley and Champagne which is rich with nutrients in its centre-stage. The vineyards is surrounded by the producing the highest quality wines, which is the mix of clay, limestones and silica. The soil can result in one of the richest in nutrients characteristics which can last for a very long time.
Argentinian wine is loved all around the world, which is most probably due to the soil. The soil here is interesting enough across the board, which can typically consist of sands, schist, granite. The Mendoza is unique due to the altitude. There are many few vineyards in Europe which can claim such elevations which provide for sunshine which gives the grapes its signature spiciness. The air is dry and the nights are cool, which shines prominently, which allows for rich, full-bodied produce.
Sicily is one of the most difficult places to grow in the country, but the wine produced here is especially good. The Sicilian winemakers try to step up their game and made wines which is one of the most sought after commodity. Sicilian wines get more intense as the soil in Sicily is volcanic, and the rocky mineral can bring a lot of intensity to the wine. The wine, when consumed bounces off the tongue and can provide with a fruity feel. The wins from the region is heavily priced and rightfully so.
Staying in Italy, Tuscany is one of the best places for a winemaker to bring wine to life. Tuscany is unique and is home to many different types of soil. It is characterised by rocky soils which allows one to have the spicy taste to the wine. Tuscany is certainly one of the most celebrated wine region in Italy. The grapes grown here are said to have a distinctive taste to them which allows the wine to adapt the taste of the soil, which makes the difference.
Since 2009, Slow Food has published Guida alle Birre d’Italia, our Italian-language guide to what we consider to be the best craft beers across the peninsula. During tasting for the last edition, we discovered that, beyond the extremely high average quality of the some 400 beers we tasted, the craft beer movement has managed to achieve a strong identity both nationally and locally.
I’m not talking just about the fact that many brewers use local ingredients to flavor beers; by now this is a mainstay in Italian artisanal beer: grapes in Monferrato (Piedmont), peaches in Volpedo (Piedmont), citrus fruits in Campania, mountain pasture flowers in the Central Apennines (Abruzzo) and herbs from the Dolomites in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, to name a few.
Rather, while grouping the beers by regions, instead of by style, we realized that there exist macro-regions from a stylistic point of view.
Strongly hopped beers are mostly present in central Italy up until Lombardy. Lombardy on the other hand is influenced by the northeast, dominated by bottom-fermented beers, and having a much lower presence of English- and Belgian-styles (even though the few examples are of a very high quality). The region is in some respects in a class of its own, with a coexistence of strongly hopped top-fermented beers (concentrated in the central part of the region) and those in the Central European style, mostly done by older breweries.
Southern Italy is the land of Belgian-style beer, due in part to the significant use of spices and fruit, in particular citrus, which characterize the aromas of the beers.
The northwest is dominated by Belgian-style top-fermented beers and, compared to other areas, has a large number made with spontaneous or mixed fermentation.
What is the reason for this division? In my opinion, it’s simple. The differences in style are the result of the influence of the very first entrepreneurial beer producers in each region, whose personal brewing styles have left a strong imprint on the local beer culture.
I don’t want to go into aesthetics or the physical format of wine lists (which today spans from the classic leather-bound book to the ultra-modern iPad), nor the monstrosity of spelling mistakes I often see printed. Rather I hope to touch on a few simple questions you can ask when you peruse a wine list – whether it be in a Michelin-starred establishment or your local Italian trattoria – not only to choose what to drink, but also to critically evaluate the quality of a restaurant’s wine list.
Question #1: Who put together the wine list? Was it the owners (or sommelier)? Or the distributors or sales representatives in the area? If you’re familiar with the catalogues of the main local distributors, often the answer is immediate: The wine list and the catalogue will be almost identical. But if you’re not well versed on this matter (and I realize this is slightly useless information in the life of a mere mortal) there is another way to find out: Choose two or three or the more unusual wines on the list and ask the restaurateur to tell you a bit about them. If he or she starts to mumble and fiddle, or worse, begins to blandly recite the catalogue descriptions, you know that the list has been put together by someone else. If on the other hand, he or she spends a few precious minutes excitedly talking about the wines and their producers, you can bet that the wine selecting is being done in-house.
Question #2. If you ask the restaurateur, “How much wine do you sell in a year?” you might be met with a shrug of the shoulders. But knowing this is fundamental to forecasting. And you can gather if it’s not being done well when you catch a glimpse of unsold merchandise: wines lingering on the list not because they’ve been aging in the cellar, but because nobody ever bought them.
And let’s say it loud and clear, the length of the wine list is not necessarily synonymous with its quality. Between a wine list with 200 wines where 150 were bought at the local supermarket and one with 20-30 wines chosen with care, there is no doubt which one is superior.
Question #3: The restaurant’s identity. Considering the cuisine served, why are these wines on the list? Is there a list full of tannic reds but the menu offers mostly seafood? Is there a cellar packed with whites but the kitchen is serving game and grilled meats?
Harmony between the cuisine and wine is fundamental in judging a wine list, and the restaurant in general. If a restaurant proposes an elaborate menu, it can’t have a dull wine list with the same wines as the local supermarket. And vice-versa. Likewise, if it does traditional regional Italian cuisine, it’s a bit out of place to then offer French wines. In my opinion, the wine list should be in line with the personality and expectations of the restaurant. From a Michelin-starred restaurant I expect one thing, from my local trattoria, another.
In culinary are moving towards slowly developed food, allowing you to enrich your food with the beautiful tasting outcome. No matter how good fast food might taste, it will not taste as good as the slow-cooked food which tastes time to cook. The same goes for the wine as well. Slow wine is a movement that everyone is adopting as it allows you to cook food better. This is a trend which has made home cooking restaurant quality. The trend is longsighted and can give serious treatment to sustainable and healthy growing philosophies.
There is a wine writing partnership which works with the relationship slow food. Slow food, although has been going down due to the aspects which comes with fast food. The slow food was seeing a resurgence in 2001—the slow food ideas which can allow one to have the adventure with the food. There are many wines and winery which have differentiate themselves from Vini which is explored from the potential readers to know. They began to have adjectives which filled descriptions of the wine’s aroma, which can allow one to get the right insider notes which is made of wine.
Slow wines are the ones which can make anyone get the right kind of taste—built into the first ideas which is of the importance of lands themselves which includes more than 2000 wines which can visit by slow food reviews. It is very important for us to help ensure that wineries adapt to these procedures which produce their wines to be better tasting. There are many wine yards which allows one to get the glimpse of the larger world where the variety, state of soil is important to help ensure that they have access to the best grapes.
There are many guides and labels which can be useful when growing them. You need to understand the brief notes on the fertilisers, plant protection, weed control, certifications, etc. This allows the winemaker to develop the taste which has the body and can be described as fresh, cordial and have the flair to bring the right notes into the food.
Let me start by saying that you should never buy wine at a supermarket or a giant liquor store. The choice on the shelves can seem plentiful, but is falsely abundant, offering mostly industrial wines whose only qualities are bargain prices and perhaps a pretty label.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a winemaking country, go directly to the source: Visit wineries in your area, meet the producers and buy the wines you like the most. I also suggest consulting Slow Food’s Slow Wine guide and buying online.
The next best option is to get to know your local wine merchant. Find a small wine shop, go there often, get to know the retailer and let them know your tastes and preferences so they can help you with your choices.
If none of these options is possible, for reasons known only to you, I guess your only choice left is to go to a supermarket or chain liquor store.
So now you’re in your hour of need. You find yourselves in front of a 50 meter-long shelf and your favorite wine isn’t on it. Before you throw in the towel and move on to the fruit juice aisle, take a deep breath and follow this simple advice.
Don’t buy a wine that costs less than US$9/UK£7. It is practically impossible for a 750ml bottle to cost less than this and still be good, or be produced with minimum standards of quality.
Let’s do a quick calculation in the case of a large-scale Italian wine company. Under €1 per kilo of grapes (the amount needed to make a bottle of wine), it is difficult for a wine company to buy grapes that have been cultivated with a minimum criteria of care in the fields. Add another €1 to cover the cost of production (cellar, machinery, electricity, labor, etc.) and 50 cents for the bottle, label and cork. We’ve arrived at €2.50. Add a bit of margin for the retailer and producer, the distributor’s markup, and VAT which can come to 22%.
For a price below $9/£7, you’ll be getting a wine that has cut costs in one of these areas. Guess which? In my opinion, it is certainly in the purchase of grapes (or more likely, of the pre-made wine).
How is this possible? It’s easy if you exploit desperate farmers and vintners. Wine companies drop by a month before harvest, when producers need to empty the tanks for the new must, and say, “We’ll do you a favor and take this wine off your hands, but we’ll decide the price.”
2. LOOK FOR “ESTATE BOTTLED BY” OR “PRODUCED AND ESTATE BOTTLED BY” ON THE LABEL
This means the wine was grown, produced and bottled on the wine estate. This is very useful as it tells us that it is the result of a production chain controlled by a single winery: Grapes, wine and bottling are in the hands of just one producer and not sold to third parties who have then transformed them. You can make a general assumption that the wine is probably be a bit better because whoever cultivated the grapes, vinified them and then plastered their name on the bottle probably wants to make a good impression.
3. OPT FOR A DOC (DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE CONTROLLATA) OR DOCG DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE CONTROLLATA E GARANTITA), FOLLOWED BY AN IGT (INDICAZIONE GEOGRAFICA TIPICA).
These quality assurance labels require that wine is produced within the specified region using defined methods. Though of course there exist some exceptions–some excellent wines are made outside of appellations–this is a good rule of thumb for supermarket buying. It means that at least you know where the grapes come from, and normally for the DOCs and DOCGs the quality of the fruit is slightly higher.
However, pay attention that the wine has been bottled within the DOC/DOCG zone, because unfortunately there are many exceptions. For example, the Sicilia DOC outsources its bottling, even to other regions. If you see that the bottle of Nero d’Avola with the pretty label you’re holding has been bottled in Verona, Cuneo or Asti, gently place it back on the shelf and run for it. For an IGT, 15% of the bottle’s contents can be made with wine bought in from other regions – not exactly a sign of great care and traceability.
These are my main tips. I suggest you use all three together because each on its own doesn’t guarantee much. If the wine that you are considering meets all three prerequisites there is the possibility that it won’t disappoint.