Italian Region & Grape Explorations (Module 2: 2021)
Updated: 3 days ago
Chiant DOCG vs IGT
March 4, 2021 - 7:30 P.M. ET
Come explore the difference between DOCG and IGT Tuscan wines!
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Wine & IP: Celebration of Women in wine
March 24, 2021 at 5:00PM ET
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Over the next few weeks, each of these sections will be filled out as our journey and education takes us through these Italian Regions. Check back in and enjoy the explorations with us!
Sicily (Island - SW):
Located in the heel of Italy, this wine region has a reputation for being a producer of cheap bulk wine. This wine is historically shipped north, as far as to France, to help provide a blending grape to give wine bulk and weight. This year we are focused on the Primitivo grape coming out of Puglia.
The Primitivo grape comes from Croatia (called Tribidrag and Crljenak Kasteljanski). This grape is scientifically a clone of the Zinfandel grape. This dark, thin-skinned grape produces inky wines, high in tannin, with lower acid levels compared to other Italian varietals.
The Zinfandel grape is notorious for having uneven veraison.
*Veraison: The changing of small green berries that have very high acid to plump grapes where acid is converted to sugar.
Early in the veraison, some berries may be fully ripe while others have not begun to start veraison. Later in the season, some berries in the bunch may start to raisin as others in the same cluster are just reaching full ripeness. It is common to pick later into the veraison process whereby some grapes have converted more acid to sugar. This conversion in turn sets the stage for higher alcohol levels with lower acid since the higher levels of sugars will convert to alcohol during fermentation.
The region of note for Puglia Primitivo is Primitivo di Manduria
Primitivo di Manduria has mediterranean climate and therefore has adequate heat to provide for full ripening. It is common to trellis the vines which allows for the grapes to be elevated off the group and allow for regulation of heat.
These old world wines will likely exhibit a fuller body with lesser acidity compared to their Lodi clone brothers. The reasoning for this is the consistent temperature of Puglia compared to the diurnal temperature of Lodi. In Puglia, the temperature of the day and night are influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. This region is far enough south to where it does not gain temperature regulating protection from the Apennine Mountains. The Sirocco winds coming off Africa bring hot humid weather and large waves to the shores of Puglia.
Lodi is protected from the cool breezes coming off the Pacific Ocean by seacoast mountain ranges. The intense heat from the sun is regulated by a cool breeze that sneaks through the Delta gap of the mountain range to produce high diurnals that help produce complexity in wines.
*Diurnal: The temperature change between day and night.
During the hot, sun intense days, energy from photosynthesis coverts acid to sugar in the berries during veraison. At night, when photosynthesis is not occurring, the cooling effect of the Pacific air sneaking through the Delta gap allows for conversion of acid to sugar to slow. This effect results in berries with an optimal acid/sugar development.
For more information about Grape Maturation and Ripening.