An Italian wine supplier in the Philippines can be your prime source of fine Italian wine. When most talk about Italy, they think of pizza or pasta. But apart from food, wine also is a huge part of Italy’s culture and personality.
For most Italians, wine is as essential to every meal as bread. Wine, for them, is family because nearly all Italians make wine or know someone who does.
Here are some fun facts about Italian wine:
- Italy is the top wine producer in the world. They produced 49.1 million hectoliters in 2020. France produced 46.6 million hectoliters and Spain 40.7 million hectoliters.
- Vines grow in every corner of Italy. Its vineyards can only be compared in number to that of Spain’s.
- There are dozens of grape varieties in Italy and many of them grow only in the soils of Italy.
How Would You Describe Italian Wine?
It’s vital for a food service business to find a reliable Italian wine supplier in the Philippines. The quality of Italian wine is at a record high. Wine is present everywhere in Italy that most Italians have taken it for granted. But now Italian wine producers have become more serious about wine.
The quality of Italian wine styles are inspired by the way Italians dine. Wine is a mealtime beverage, that’s why Italian wines must pair well with food.
For example, Italian wines have the following essential qualities:
- High acidity, making white wines crisp and red wines firm.
- Little to no sweetness
- Subtle flavors and aromas to avoid overpowering the food
- Mostly light to medium-bodied
- Smoky or toasty flavor and aroma thanks to the okay barrels used
- Fruity flavors and aromas but less fruity than most Australian or Californian wine
How to Read Italian Wine Labels
To some extent, Italian wine labels are the most difficult to understand. Italy has so many wine names that even the most frequent wine drinkers are unfamiliar with them. So let’s try to understand how Italian wines are named so you can talk better with your Italian wine supplier.
The French have a concept called terroir that tells you about the place where the grapes grow. It includes the elements that affect the quality and character of the wine. These are climate, altitude, sunlight, and soil.
The French identify their wines according to terroir. It influenced the wine laws of many European countries, including Italy although some Italian winemakers have never heard of terroir before.
The Difference Between DOC, DOCG, IGT, and VdT
The official wine names in Italy are:
Vino da Tavola (VdT)
This simply means table wine. These are wines that don’t have geographical indications. They are made from grape varieties that are grown anywhere in Italy. They are not high enough in quality to be exported to the US or other European countries.
Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT)
This is the broadest category of Italian wines. All grapes in this category come from the region shown on the label. Wines in the IGT category are mostly, but not all, of lower quality than DOC wines. Some wine producers prefer to release their wines under this classification when they want to avoid the DOC or DOCG restrictions. So, IGT does not necessarily mean it’s not as good as DOC or DOCG.
DOC or Denominazione di Origine Controllata
It is equivalent to France’s Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC). Introduced in 1963, the DOC system specifies the wine’s production area and the method used. It also guarantees that the quality of the wine passed a government taste test.
There are 329 DOC wines in Italy. This includes sparkling wines like Prosecco, dessert wines like the Vin Santo, and red and white wines from all over Italy.
DOCG or Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita
It is the highest quality level for Italian wines. It was created in 1980 due to the criticism of DOCs. There were just too many DOCs and their quality wasn’t consistent.
Currently, there are seventy-four DOCG Italian wines. Most of them are from the Veneto, Tuscany, and Piemonte regions. The first ever DOCG wines were red wines from the nebbiolo variety, Barolo and Barbaresco and red wines from the sangiovese grape of Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
So, the difference between DOC and DOCG wines is the garantita or guarantee by the government that the wines are of the highest quality. DOCG wines must pass the tasting panel while DOC wines must only be grown and made according to the appellation’s rules.
How Do Restaurants Choose Wine?
A sommelier is a knowledgeable wine professional trained in all aspects of wine, wine service, and food pairing. However, not all restaurants can afford the services of a sommelier. Very few restaurants have a sommelier. It’s often the manager or the restaurant owner who can help customers pick the best wine to pair with their food.
Are you a restaurant owner or a food service manager looking for the best wines to complement your dishes? A reliable Italian wine supplier who has substantial knowledge about Italian wines can help you make the right choices.
But of course, basic knowledge makes a difference. So here are some tips for building your wine list:
Choose the right flavor.
For example, wines with high sugar content will be sweet. Those with high tannin will taste bitter and feel dry in the mouth.
Consider these wine flavors when curating a selection of wines for your business:
Wines are either dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. When choosing a sweet wine for your menu, remember that it should always be as sweet as the food. The lower the alcohol content, the sweeter the wine.
Wines with high acidity are great for cleansing your palate. They are ideally paired with creamy dishes and food with rich flavors.
A good rule of thumb for pairing complex wines is to pair them with simpler food. Simple wines work best with dishes that have powerful flavor.
Wines have either low, medium, or high alcohol content. If your restaurant serves spicy foods, you must have wines with low alcohol content.
Oaky wines pair well with dishes that have smoky flavors.
Consider the temperature of the wine.
Remember the following when serving your wine:
- Red wines must be served between 62°F and 68°F.
- White wines must be served below 55°F or chilled.
- Sparkling wines must be chilled at least 3 hours before serving
So, when choosing wines, consider the temperature at which they will be served. Your customers will more likely want warm red wines during cold months and chilled rosés on warm nights.
LuCa Italian Corner: Italian Wine Supplier In The Philippines
The team behind LuCa Italian corner hails from Sicily, the largest region in Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean. Sicily competes with Puglia as the largest wine producer in the country. The region produces an average of 100 million cases of wine per year, making it the source of one-sixth of Italy’s total wine production.
Although we have wines from other parts of Italy, we take pride in the fact that Sicily puts a lot of emphasis on the quality of grapes. The wines of Sicily are simply some of the most iconic in the world.
We are especially proud of our dessert and fortified wines such as Marsala. It’s a wine beloved for its culinary uses. You can use it for making zabaglione, a custardy dessert. And you can’t make a decent vitello marsala, veal sautéed in a Marsala sauce, without it.
Marsala is so versatile that many countries including the United States imitated this Italian cooking wine. Trapani in Western Sicily and various other islands of the west coast are the major producer of Marsala.
Marsala comes in three different hues:
Light golden (oro)
Ruby red (rubino)
Its three different sweetness levels are:
Most Popular Italian Wine Grapes
Italy’s grape varieties vary great from one region to another because of local traditions and growing conditions. The country has more red than white varieties.
Italian Red Grape Varieties
There are four most important varieties in Italy’s 21 red grapes. They are:
Sangiovese is indigenous to Italy. It is the most planted red grape variety in Italy. It also grows in other regions, but they are an essential part of red wine production in Tuscany and Umbria. Sangiovese is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Sangiovese wines have medium color, high acidity, and firm tannin. They contain flavors of herbs and cherries. Some wines made from Sangiovese are light-bodied or full-bodied, but most are medium-bodied.
Nebbiolo grapes are a specialty of Piedmont. They make two of Italy’s most distinguished wines, Barolo and Barbaresco. However, you can find other lesser-known wines with nebbiolo in them.
Nebbiolo wines are full-bodied and high in tannin. They have medium color intensity and are high in acidity. They can be fruity, herbal, earthy or floral and may taste of strawberry, mint, anise, mushrooms, and white truffles.
Nebbiolo is rarely blended with other grape varieties, but when it is, it’s often with Bonarda or Barbera.
Barbera used to be the most planted red grape in the whole of Italy until Sangiovese took the throne about thirty years ago. Barbera still grows in many regions of Italy, but the finest wines are from Piedmont.
It’s a unique red grape because it almost has no tannin. It has high acidity and deep red color. It has a spicy flavor and aromas of red fruit.
Barbera wines are thoroughly refreshing thanks to the combination of low tannin, high acidity, and vivid flavors.
Aglianico is the pride of the Basilicata and Campania regions of southern Italy. It’s not as well-known as the previous varieties mentioned, but it grows in many parts of Italy including Molise, Lazio, Puglia, and Calabria.
Wines from the Aglianico variety are powerful, high-quality red wines that are dark in color. Aglianico is often blended with other southern grape varieties, but it remains one of Italy’s finest.
Other Red Wine Varieties
Cabernet Sauvignon is of French origin. Introduced in 1820 to the Piedmont region of Italy, it is now used in many IGT and DOC wines. It is often blended with Nebbiolo, Barolo, and Barbera.
Cabernet Sauvignon is usually best paired with red meat dishes such as steak and lamb. However, it can also go well with vegetable dishes. If your restaurant offers a mean burger, you definitely have to serve a good Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
Serving Cabernet with cheese platter? Make sure you have cheddar, gorgonzola, or gouda.
Syrah or Shiraz
The origin of Syrah has long been debated, but the Rhone Valley in France is considered its renaissance home. In Italy, you can find Syrah everywhere from Aosta Valley in Sicily to the central and southern regions of the country. It is also widely popular in Tuscany where it is used to either blend Supertuscany wines or bottled on its own.
Syrah wines are dark, full-bodied red wines. They often have flavors of dark fruit like sweet blueberries and black olive. They have a spicy, peppery note which makes them perfect with spareribs barbecue, braised beef, grilled meats and veggies, and hamburgers.
Pair Syrah with blue and soft cheeses. They will absorb Syrah’s high tannin. Try Grana padano, gouda, gruyere, cheddar, Camembert, and pecorino.
Merlot is originally from France, specifically the Bordeux region. Italian Merlot is planted in the Friuli region where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the coasts of Tuscany, Merlot is blended with Sangiovese.
Italian Merlots are often light-bodied with herbal notes. They have flavors of black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and plum with undertones of mocha and vanilla.
Pair Merlot with grilled or roasted beef and fillet mignon, grilled or roasted chicken, roasted pork, mushrooms, and lamb. It also goes well with parmesan, gouda, and gorgonzola cheese.
Nero d’Avola is one of the most well-known red grapes indigenous to Sicily. It produces wines with a rich ruby-red color with purple tones. The aroma reminds one of blackberry, cherry, raspberry, ginger, blackcurrant, and chocolate. These wines often have high sugar content. Nero d’Avola wines are medium-bodied, velvety, and often have an alcohol content of over 15%.
Italians pair Nero d’Avola with all kinds of pasta, especially lasagne with a rich, flavorful sauce. Serving sushi? Be sure to have a Nero d’Avola on your wine menu. Nero d’Avola also goes well with risotto, potatoes, veal, beef, poor, lamb, duck, and turkey. When it comes to cheese, Gruyere, cheddar, and parmesan are the most ideal.
Nerello Mascalese is a dark-skinned red grape variety that grows on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. They make wines that are light-bodied fruity, herbaceous, and earthy.
Nerello Mascalese wines have dominant flavors of wild strawberry, sweet cherry, and cinnamon. They are easy to drink and has the elegance of Pinot Noir.
It’s easy to pick the right food to pair with Nerello Mascalese. You just have to remember that since it’s indigenouos to Sicily, it pairs perfectly with Sicilian dishes. Nerello Mascalese complements meat dishes such as Sicilian sausage, Swordfish with Tomatoes and Capers, Steak, meat balls, and Sweet andn Sour pork. You also can never go wrong with pairing this wine with a baked pasta dish.
Nerello Mascalese makes a heavenly refreshment when snacking on pecorino, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and gruyere.
Italian White Wine Varieties
Italy has 17 major white grape varieties and 5 of them are the most popular when it comes to white or sparkling wine production. These are
Trebbiano is known as Ugni Blanc in France. It is one of the most planted grapes in the world, but it’s not as popular as Chardonnay or Riesling.
Trebbiano is used to produce table wines, but it’s more often used to make brandies. Trebbiano wines are usually dry and high in acid.
Pinot Grigio is the Italian name for Pinot Gris. This grape variety originated from France and immigrated to north-eastern Italy. Pinot Grigio wines are high in acid and light-bodies.
It’s an ideal substitute to a glass of lemonade during summer days. Perfect for the tropical Philippine climate.
The verdicchio wine variety grows well in the Adriatic coast. It produces wines with crisp acidity, medium body, and aromas of almond, lemon, and peaches. But it can also be used to make sweet passito wine or sparkling wine because of its high acidity.
Verdiccio wines are best paired with prosciutto and seafood dishes such as seafood risotto and seafood paella.
Two Italian grape varieties go by the name Vernaccia. There is one in Tuscany and another one in Sardinia. The finer one can be found in San Gimignano, hence it is called Vernaccia di San Gimignano. It’s a crisp white wine with butterscotch overtones and medium acidity.
It is best paired with savory, herbal, vegetable dishes. However, it can also complement fried fish, grilled meat, non-tomato based pasta, prosciutto, risotto, and salads with oil dressings. It can also enhance the flavor of various cheeses such as Pecorino and goat cheese.
Tocai Friulano or Sauvignon Blanc
This grape variety comes from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy’s northeastern-most region. It produces light-bodied wines that are pale in color and has an intense floral aroma.
Tocai Friulano wines are ideal with artichokes, green beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. They are perfect for washing down fish, shrimps, scallops, and cured meats. Cheddar, feta, mozzarella, gouda, gruyère, havarti, parmesan, and Pecorino Toscano taste better when accompanied with Tocai Friulano.
Other White Wine Varieties
Zibibbo is one of the rarest grape varieties in the world. It has multiple uses; it can be used to produce wine and raisins, but it’s also delicious when eaten fresh. The Phoenicians and the Greeks brought it to Sicily around the 800-700 B.C.
Zibibbo grapes contain high levels of terpenes, organic compounds that are known to lift your mood. Its high concentration of linalool, nerol, and geraniol gives Zibibbo wines their intense aroma.
There are two main Zibibbo types. The first type produces golden-yellow fruits that have milder acidity than the second biotype and have higher alcohol potential. The second biotype has higher acidity and creates a wine with a lower alcohol level.
Zibibbo wines can be light and dry with aromas of flowers and citrus fruits such as apricot and oranges. Zibibbo can also be used to produce complex dessert wines that taste of honey, nuts, and dates.
The most appropriate food to pair with Zibibbo is seafood. White meat also makes a perfect combination. Aged and blue cheeses, such as gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Stilton taste better with a glass of Zibibbo.
Chardonnay came from the Burgundy region of France, in the small village of Chardonnay. Today, it is grown in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region where it was granted its first DOC in 1984. It can also be found in other wine regions such as Sicily, Apulia, Piedmont, and Tuscany.
Chardonnay can be found in wines blended with Catarratto, Grecanico, and Nebbiolo. In Lombardy, it is used to make spumante. It is one of the world’s most popular white wines.
Chardonnay wines vary in taste depending on the region and winemaking process. But the typical Chardonnay is dry ad medium- to full-bodied. It has moderate acidity and alcohol content. Its flavors can be reminiscent of apples, lemon, pineapple or papaya with notes of vanilla. If the grape comes from a cooler climate like in Northern Italy, the wine tends to be more citrusy in taste. Southern Italy, with its warm climate, produces full-bodied, less acidic wines with ripe fruit flavors.
Chardonnay makes a lovely apéritif that goes well with goat cheese, gruyere, gouda, chicken, oysters, and fish.
Italian cuisine is popular in the Philippines. Our best-selling Italian wines can give your customers one more reason to keep visiting your restaurant. Italian wines are made especially to be enjoyed with food, so if you are a food service business, you must serve your food with one of our wines.
A trusted Italian wine supplier in the Philippines can be your source of great wines for your business. Call or visit us today so we can introduce you to Italy’s most iconic wines.