Lento Wine Blog

  1. Volcanic Wines: An Eruption of Flavour

    It may seem a little counterproductive to plant a vineyard on the slopes of an active volcano: Sicily's Mount Etna has erupted four times in the last 10 years and, although further back in time, Mount Vesuvius last erupted in 1944.

    But, there's a good reason to plant vineyards in soils of volcanic origin: they produce some of the most intriguing wines. Italy's volcanic soils impart mineral sensations, including flint, crushed rock, and saline, giving depth and complexity to the wines. The resulting wines are structured, taut, savoury, and concentrated in flavour. They are rarely heavy, making them ideal for the cooler early days of spring.

    Active volcanoes aren't the only place where volcanic soils exist. These mineral-rich soils also appear on sites of extinct volcanoes and are just as helpful.

    When we think of volcanic wines from Italy, the first to spring to mind are those made in the shadow

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  2. 30 Most Planted Grape Varieties in Italy

    Italy vies with France as the world's largest wine producer with one of the most extensive areas under vine. Vines are grown in all 20 of Italy's regions. This abundance of vineyards is only possible because of ideal growing conditions. Italy's latitude correlates to warmth, yet its mountains and hills provide the elevation necessary to moderate temperatures and extend the growing season.

    Native Grape Varieties of Italy

    Italy has an unrivalled abundance of native grape varieties with some dating back to the days of the Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans. Of course, not all can be traced back this far but many also appear in historical texts dating back to the Middle Ages.

    Historically, Italy's wine-growing areas have been somewhat isolated due to geography, topography, or politics, which has allowed many native varieties to survive into the modern age. Over the centuries,

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  3. Vine Training Systems in Italy

    Italy employs a large number of vine training systems. Every region (and often the districts within them) has different viticultural traditions and practices that have been shaped by the local environment.

    Modern vine training and pruning systems are common across Italy today. However, there are still certain areas that train vines using traditional systems. These traditional systems are largely used by growers in combination with modern vineyard management techniques to produce quality grapes.

    High-Trained Vine Systems

    The Etruscans introduced the first type of high training system. Vines were trained to grow high in trees using the branches as support. This resulted in long canes and cordons for the vine, producing a dense canopy and an abundance of grapes. This system, known alberata or vite maritata all’albero (meaning: vine married to the tree), remained widely practised until the middle of th

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  4. Christmas Wine Pairings

    Christmas tree made of stars

    Have you decided what wines to pair with your festive dinner yet?

    Before we get to the main event, let's start with breakfast. The 25th of December is the only day of the year where it's slightly more acceptable to open a bottle over breakfast! We would recommend sticking with Prosecco. It's lower in alcohol compared to Champagne and mixes much better with orange juice for a less alcoholic drink. What better way to get into the festive spirit and have you involuntarily singing along to all those Christmas songs on the radio?

    Assuming you've not consumed too much Prosecco over breakfast (if you have, you need not read any further), you'll probably be keen on pairing a suitable wine with the main dinner.

    Let's start with turkey, the go-to meat for this time of year. Turkey tends to be dry, so you're going to need something juicy to slosh it all down with. A great option would be a Valpolicella

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  5. When Should You Decant Wine?

    Young and mature wine decanters

    Have you ever wondered whether or not to decant a wine?

    Perhaps you don't care: it's just another rung on the wine snob ladder, right?

    Well, there's good reason to decant some wines and doing so will increase your enjoyment of the wine.

    There are three objectives to decanting wine: to separate any sediment (particularly from older wines), to aerate the wine, and to modify its temperature.

    So when is it a good idea to decant a bottle of wine?

    Some young wines benefit from being decanted for an hour or so as it helps the wine become softer, more rounded, and generally more pleasurable to taste. However, leave it too long in the decanter, and it'll lose its freshness and vitality - this is never a problem in my house!

    Decanting vintage wines is often a good idea as it helps remove any natural sediments

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  6. A Toast To Barolo Wine

    A toast to Barolo wine

    I vividly remember my first Barolo.

    Tasked with selecting a wine for dinner whilst out shopping with my mum, I instinctively went for the most expensive bottle I could find. After all, I wasn't paying.

    My disappointment later that evening was profound: my 16-year-old palate was not ready for the acid-tannic core of a supermarket Barolo that's been less than well made!

    That evening spelt the end of my Barolo drinking until I started to take wine seriously in my mid-thirties. Now I can't get enough of it!

    Barolo has an interesting and regal history.

    Before the mid-1800s, Barolo wines were supposedly finished sweet. This style didn't please the Marquise of Barolo, Giulia Falletti, so she asked the Count of Cavour to come up with a way of producing Barolo in the dry style we are more familiar with today.

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  7. Mandatory Wine Labelling Requirements

    Understanding Italian wine labelling terms and mandatory labelling requirements.

    Italian wine label

    EU wine law requires the following information on wine labels.

    1. Name of the appellation. It could be a place (Barolo) or a combination of grape and place (Barbera d'Alba) or a region/sub-region (Grechetto Umbria IGT).
    2. Name of the quality designation (DOCG, DOC, IGT). DOP can replace the DOCG and DOC category; IGP can replace the IGT category.
    3. Country of origin.
    4. The year of the vintage. This is mandatory for all DOCG and DOC (DOP) wines. Sparkling and fortified versions do not need to show the vintage.
    5. Name and location of
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  8. Italian Wine Classifications: Understanding DOCG, DOC, and IGT

    Ever wondered what the letters on your bottle of Italian wine mean? Here is everything you need to know about DOCG, DOC, and IGT.

    You’ve likely picked up bottles of Italian wine that have been labelled DOCG, DOC, or IGT. These letters are part of the traditional Italian wine classification system.

    To make matters a little more confusing Italian wines may also be labelled as DOP or IGP.

    But what does it all mean?

    Before 2009, Italy’s wines were classified into four groups, as illustrated in the pyramid below.

    Italian wine qua
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  9. How to Taste Wine - Taste

    How to Taste Wine - Taste

    Analysing the taste is the third and final stage of the tasting process. This is where the wine will reveal its overall personality, including its flavour, structure and balance.

    As we’ve said before, tasting wine is not easy but with a little practice and curiosity, you’ll get better at it and hopefully drink lots of amazing wines in the process.

    The Three Stages of Tasting Wine

    Attack, mid-palate, and finish make up the three stages of tasting wine. Don’t feel the need to analyse each stage in one taste.

    Attack

    The attack stage is the first impression the wine makes when you take a sip. With this first sip, you’ll be able to detect the temperature, the presence of any

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  10. How to Taste Wine - Aroma

    Sniffing a glass of wine is one of the greatest pleasures of tasting. But identifying the aromas can be a difficult task especially for beginners.

    When tasting wine it’s important to select the correct shaped glass and serve the wine at the right temperature. Both of these factors will affect the wine’s aroma. Select a tulip-shaped glass (for red, white and rosé wines) and only fill it to a third full. If the wine is too cold its aromas will be suppressed. If the wine is too warm its aromas will vaporise too quickly and be overpowered by alcohol fumes.

    How to analyse the aroma of a wine

    Approach this in three stages:

    FIRST NOSING - Without swirling the wine in the glass take your first sniff. What you’re trying to identify here is whether there are any undesirable smells and then capture the delica

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