Italian Wines


Italian Wines -

Italy ranks second in the production of wine, its estimated yield being nearly a billion gallons a year. The greater part of this is retained for domestic consumption, and of the export the United States receives only a comparatively small percentage, the bulk going to South American countries, but the demand here is increasing - especially for Chianti as a general table beverage of low price, and for some of the finer varieties, particularly of the Sparkling Wines.

Chianti is a light wine, ruby-red in color, agreeably sub-acid, and, in the best varieties, of a very delicate bouquet. It is distinguished by being bottled in attractive straw-dressed, belly-shaped flasks. It is in its prime during its fifth or sixth year, but is palatable at half that age.

There is also a steady sale of Italian VERMOUTH (which see), and a limited market for Marsala, a wine resembling Madeira, but lighter both in body and color, which originated in Sicily. It was at one time very popular, especially as a "ladies' wine." Sicily also produces a noted Malmsey.

Other well known Italian Wines are Lacryma Christi, from Southern Italy, the choicest being produced on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius - both "white" and red in the "still" types, and the white also in "Spumante" or sparkling (champagne) style; Capri, still - red and "white" - from the Island of Capri at the entrance of the Bay of Naples; Asti, red, dry, both sparkling and still, from Tuscany; Falerno, still - red and "white"; Barolo, still, resembling Burgundy, but somewhat dryer; Barbera, resembling Barolo; Malvasia (Malmsey) and Malvasia Spumante; the red Nebbiolo and Nebbiolo Spumante from the Nebbiolo grape, and several white Moscato (Muscat) wines, including Siracusa, or "Moscato di Siracusa," Moscato di Stramboli, and Moscato Spumante, resembling Sparkling Moselle.

Vino Santo is a very sweet wine made from dried grapes of varieties especially heavy in sugar. The bunches are hung on strings until shortly before Easter, being then pressed for use as an altar wine at that season. It is also popularly consumed as a liqueur wine.


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