Italian Wine Country: Friuli to Tuscany Article -
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Italian Wine Country: Friuli to Tuscany

Italy's civilized beverage.

Let's look at some of Italy's top wine producing regions--and pair up a few recipes with the wines we find!

Friuli-Venezia Giulia Wine Region

Tiny Friuli sits in the far northeast corner of Italy, wedged in between the wine-growing region of Veneto and the Italian border with Slovenia, with Austria just to the North. Here, cool Alpine air sweeps down through the terraced vineyards--a fine situation for developing fruity and refreshing white wines. Look for wines labeled Collio, Collio Goriziano and Colli Orientali del Friuli. The white grapes include many local Italian varieties plus familiar European grapes like Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc), Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris), Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Friuli's red wines include Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir). 

Favorite Red Wines of Friuli: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Nero

Favorite White Wines of Friuli: Collio, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc

Regional foods of Friuli

Friuli's cuisine has enjoyed the influence of Austria and Slovenia and has benefited from its close proximity to the worldly city of Venice. The Adriatic provides plenty of seafood options for Friuli's fresh and fruity white wines. The prosciutto from San Daniele is a renowned regional specialty that often reveals itself in ham and bean soup or ravioli with ham and cheese filling. The influence of Eastern Europe shines through in paprika beef stews and meat-filled cabbage rolls. 

Regional Italian Recipes to Pair with the Wines of Friuli-Venezia Giulia:

Emilia-Romagna Wine Region

Emilia-Romagna is situated above Tuscany and below Lombardy and Veneto, with a narrow outlet to the Adriatic. If you love Italian food or Italian cars, then Emilia-Romagna is no doubt your kind of place. The region is Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini HQ. It is also the home of many of Italy's finest status-protected foods. And the region's capital city, Bologna, is often hailed as the food capital of all of Italy--no small boast, to be sure. Curiously, the wine industry here is not quite as esteemed as the food industry. The major red grape is Lambrusco, along with Sangiovese, Barbera and Bonarda. Albana is the primary white grape. Trebbiano grapes are used to make Modena's prized balsamic vinegar.

Favorite Wines of Emilia-Romagna: Lambrusco, Sangiovese di Romagna, Trebbiano di Romagna, Albana di Romagna and Colli Bolognesi

Regional foods of Emilia-Romagna

If the names Parma, Modena and Bologna sound familiar, it could be because each of these place names lends its name to some of the world’s most appreciated regional foods. There’s Parmesan-Reggiano cheese and Parma ham, generously aged balsamic vinegar from Modena (on the labels, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena) and Bolognese sauce and Bolognese pork sausage (mortadella). The cuisine here is rich and delicious, and includes meaty lasagna, tortellini, tagliatelle and mortadella (Americans call a version of mortadella "bologna").

Regional Italian Recipes to Pair with the Wines of Emilia-Romagna:

Tuscany Wine Region

Just above Italy's midsection, atop Rome's home region of Latium, we find the beautiful rugged hill country of Tuscany. Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany is home to several of Italy's most breathtaking cities: Florence, Sienna and Pisa. It is also the land of Sangiovese, the primary grape of violet-scented Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Chianti is an appellation within Tuscany that is itself further divided into seven sub-appellations, including Chianti Classico and Chianti Ruffino. Fragrant Sangiovese-based wines offer good levels of acidity and nice tannins that make them terrific food wines. Besides Sangiovese, Tuscany is gaining respect for wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are often blended with Sangiovese and sometimes marketed as "Super Tuscans." Trebbiano is the traditional Tuscan white grape. It makes dry wines, but is often used to make Tuscany's signature dessert wine, Vin Santo, made from semi-dried grapes.

Favorite Red Wines of Tuscany: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (all made from Sangiovese grapes); Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot
Favorite White Wines of Tuscany: Vernaccia di San Gimignano

Regional foods of Tuscany:

Sangiovese-based wines go well with Tuscany's roasted and grilled meats and poultry, often seasoned with rosemary and sage. Broiled T-bone steak and wild boar are two classic regional dishes. Tuscan wines are also paired with seasonal produce and soups made with dried beans like cannelloni and toscanelli. Chianti is a classic partner for tomato-based pasta sauces and pizza.

Regional Italian Recipes to Pair with Tuscan Wines:

Other Italian Wine Regions

Read more about Italian wine regions.

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