It’s definitely worth repeating—the wines of Italy are
so much more than a delectable drink for us to savour! They are a true expression
of their land and people. They are the embodiment of the entire region in
which they were born. As such, it is now our duty—we, the enlightened
wine aficionados—to be attentive and respectful enough to discover
all of this richness and authenticity with every sip.
This is a reality that the Italian wine culture wants us to be
fully aware of—a reality without which Italian wines risk fading away,
mercilessly crushed by globalization. The only real safeguard against such
a horrible fate? Promoting the specifities of Italian wine. And no one is
in a better position than Italy to do so! These wines, contained within
the bottles that you place upon your tables, do not stand alone. They have
not been tied off from their roots. It is quite the opposite, in fact. The
wonderful wines sing the praises of their homes—and what a glorious
song it is!
They sing of their homelands, their terroirs (soil and climate), each one
unique. They sing of the hands that have raised and created them. They boldly
and proudly celebrate their differences, their singularity, the originality
of their history, the beauty of the landscape, the culinary and artistic
traditions of their land, of their regions, of the very earth from which
they were created. They are, in a word, the true embodiment of their cultural
On a global wine-producing scene that is growing increasingly homogenous—one
where the palette of tastes seems restricted to so-called “quality”
varieties (Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, …)—and
where any relationship to the terroir is often artificial, Italy has taken
the initiative to preserve and promote a diversity that, after all, is its
natural and cultural heritage.
Italy: a mosaic of cultures
Italy’s tremendous diversity is evidenced
in its landscape and climate which transports one from the glaciers of
Trentino-Alto Adige to the sub-tropical vegetation of Sicily through to
the sweeping plains of Tuscany. The diversity of the numerous cultural
influences brought by renowned civilizations such as the Greeks, Etruscans,
Romans, Arabs, Germanophones, Normans, to cite but a few, make Italy a
true mosaic of languages and dialects as well as of traditions—culinary
or otherwise. A diversity such as this cannot help but be evidenced in
the country’s wines.
A thousand and one native grape varieties
Let’s start with a look at Italy’s countless native grape
varieties. Did you know that some one thousand varieties have been identified
throughout the country? That 400 are required, recommended or authorized
for the creation of wine in all of Italy’s vineyards? That some
of these varieties only exist in Italy? Aglianico, Grignolino, Nero d’Avola,
Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Fiano, Garganega… these are varieties without
which Italian wines would simply cease to be!*
* Information taken from Nouveau guide des vins italiens, written
by Jacques Orhon and published by Les Editions de l’Homme in 2002.
Wines unlike any other in the world
And because it is the fruit of the intimate collaboration that has existed
between mankind and his land for thousands of years, Italian wine is a
true expression of the history, culture, gastronomy and way of life of
its region of origin.
So, when you pour yourself a glass of Sangrantino de Montefalco, you are
preparing not only to enjoy the unique nectar of a vine variety found
only in Umbria, you are also awaiting to embark on a fantastic journey—a
stroll along the banks of the Tevere or by the shores of Lake Trasimeno,
or perhaps the discovery of flamboyant Perugia and its magnificent ruins.
And, for a taste of completely sublime harmony, you may decide to pair
this prestigious wine with a traditional Umbrian dish such as truffle
lentils or goose stew!
… All of this makes Italian wines among the most unique in the world.
In the image of the wines of Italy
This is a truth so absolutely wonderful that it was made into an illustration
that would allow the message to be easily shared. Hence, a new advertising
approach was introduced in an effort to let people take a “voyage”
to Italy through the country’s unique and exquisite wines.
Keep an eye out for the following publications: La Sélection Chartier
2005 (available in October), Vins & Vignobles (available October 29),
FOOD & DRINK (available November 10) or click
here to see the ad.