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In the Italian category, our focus is on value for money reds from Piedmont and Tuscany as well as fresher style dry whites and sparklings. We also regularly secure wines from Sicily and Puglia to name a few, as well as small volumes of big gun Italian super stars such as Tignanello and Sassicaia and the "Killer Bs": Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello di Montalcino. If there's a wine you're looking for that's not listed, call us on 1800 069 295 and we'll try to find it for you. A general guide to Italian wines has been produced here to help you in your choice.
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Buy Italian Wine Online.

Many decades ago, Australians were slowly becoming acquainted with mass produced Italian wines that reflected high yields and generally inferior-quality. They were the Lambruscos, Frascatis, Spumantes and basket Chiantis synonymous with cheap & cheerful Italian restaurants. Since the industry has been modernised, the range and (more importantly) the quality of Italian wines has developed exponentially. The very best examples combine distinct regionality with contemporary winemaking flair. Frequently leading the way are small grower-producers at the high end of the passion scale. Nicks Wine Merchants continue to offer a selection of Italian wines as well as traditional Italian liqueurs & aperitifs which you can buy online and have shipped to most areas of Australia.

Italian appellations: a myriad of regions and grape varieties.

In the 1960's, a national effort to raise the country's profile brought about the first controlled-appellation laws, although only a relatively small percentage of Italian wines were certified. The Italian government created two designations, 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita', or "DOCG" for the highest quality of wine; and 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata', or "DOC" for quality wines. A third also exists for table wines called 'Vino da Tavola'. The system dictates guidelines to ensure that wines are made according to certain rules that regulate the type of grape(s), the area of production, the maximum amount of tonnage in the vineyard, the minimum alcohol, total acidity, the aging of the wine in wood (if applicable) as well as in bottle, and so on. The Italian system has been controversial with some of the most notable bottlings of recent decades being those that actually break the DOCG rules.

The reality is that Italy is too large and too diverse for its wines to be separated into two or three simplistic categories. Like France, the wine landscape is best thought of as a group of regions and sub regions and wine styles can vary dramatically. There are the richer, riper, fruit filled efforts of the warm south, the tannic, long lived, medium to full bodied dry reds of the central zone, and the pretty, floral, more feminine styles of the far north. The wines are generally food-friendly and less overpowering than those that many Australians will be used to.

Common Italian Wine Label terms.

Tenuta - a large estate or property
Fattoria - a medium to large wine growing property
Podere/Poderi - a small wine farm or property, sometimes part of a fattoria
Vigna/Vigneto - a single demarcated vineyard with a particular name (like "Smith Vineyard")
Feudo/Feudi - a fief or estate held on feudal tenure
Azienda Agricola - a crop producing farm, not necessarily limited to wine production, that grows all its own grapes
Azienda (Casa) Vinicola - same as azienda agricola but also buys grapes grown elsewhere for their wines

There are other words that refer to various geologies or terrains that are sometimes included in wine producers' names:

Ronchi - terrace
Ronco - hillside vineyard
Bricco/Bric - high, steep ridge vineyard (usually assumed to be of high quality)
Colli - hills
Poggio - mound or knoll
Sore - vineyard site of the highest quality, usually facing south
Valle - valley, dale

Lastly, there are words that refer to wine property buildings or the producers themselves.

Cantina - a cellar, winery or wine shop
Villa - town house
Castello - castle
Cascina - the house on a farm property where not only wine is produced
Produttore/Produttori - producer, grower
Viticoltore/Vignaiolo - vine grower

A more in depth guide to Italian wines has been produced here to enhance your appreciation and help you in your choice.