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Italian wines are genuinely among the most delicious and exquisite options on the market when it comes to fine wine. Indeed, if it’s the highest quality bottle of wine that you’re looking for, you won’t find a better bottle than an artisan Italian wine producer. But what makes a great bottle of wine, and why Italian wines could be the best option to add to your wine collection? So first, let’s clarify what exactly makes a bottle of wine great.
Indeed, some believe that most wines are primarily the same; in fact, some would even argue that only the longest-aged bottles have any particular flavour benefit over mass-produced new world wines.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. A few cheap bottles of wine might not age particularly well, admittedly. However, high-quality wines need to be carefully aged and matured by the winemaker to bring out their full potential. Below you can find the key features of a delicious bottle of authentic Italian wine.
Invariably, great bottles of wine start from the field and the grapes that are used. And, as it happens, Italy is one of the best places for growing fine grapes for winemaking! Some factors that can impact the quality of the wine include the variety (and ripeness) of the grapes used, the soil and climate conditions, the harvesting time, and more.
As such, when choosing the best bottles of wine, you should choose ones that are made from premium varieties of grapes! And, quite frankly, few grapes are better suited to producing fine bottles of wine than the grapes are grown in the hot, sun-soaked climate of Italy.
One of the most notable features of the best bottles of fine Italian wines is that professional winemakers have carefully aged them. Ageing wine isn’t an easy process, and it needs to be carried out in perfectly controlled conditions. Some of the ageing conditions that need to be followed for ageing bottles of fine wine include the following.
One of the most significant factors with fine ageing wine has to be the temperature. Indeed, wines generally need to be stored at very cool temperatures so that the ingredients don’t begin to turn; however, these conditions need to be carefully controlled.
If the conditions are not managed with extreme caution and the temperature is allowed to get too cold, the wine could be at risk of freezing. This would reduce the exquisite smoothness of the wine, and even when you have fully thawed the wine, and it would negatively impact the drink’s structure.
Another critical aspect to consider with ageing fine bottles of wine is the humidity. If wine is stored at low humidities, it can draw moisture out from the cork. In turn, this can allow air into the bottle, resulting in the oxidation of the wine.
If the wine has started to oxidise, it won’t have the same flavour and aroma that you might expect. As such, the humidity needs to be incredibly carefully regulated to prevent this from happening. Fortunately, professional Italian fine winemakers will have the appropriate setup to ensure the humidity remains ideal.
In order to allow the wine to age correctly, one must store the bottle in a cool and dark environment. Therefore, high-quality wines will have been stored in a purpose-built wine cellar. As such, you can expect the wine to have a genuinely irresistible flavour and aroma when an Italian artisan winemaker has made it.
A final important factor in the ageing process for fine wines is freedom from vibrations and disturbance. This can be hard to achieve in many places. However, vibrations – even subtle ones, such as from footfall in busy areas – can disturb the wine and change its ageing practices. This can have significant impacts on the wine’s final flavour and texture.
You can see now that there are substantial differences between the different winemaking techniques, and be assured that Italian wine producers are among the best in the world to offer the highest quality of production. But surely, you might be wondering, countries outside of Italy can still make great bottles of wine? What makes fine Italian wines so much more delicious than alternative bottles of wine? Well, the difference here largely falls to the winemaking methods used.
Read our next article to learn more about the difference between Italian winemaking techniques and other countries.