The History of Champagne

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For as wonderful as the many examples of Italian wine are, there are perhaps no other wines that are held in such high regard as champagne. Even though the wine has lost its position as the most popular sparkling white wine in the world to prosecco, it’s still revered internationally. This is no surprise. A good champagne is as good a wine as you’ll find anywhere, and it’s the perfect choice for celebrations and extravagant living. When people think about champagne, they generally don’t think beyond the fact that it’s the most famous French wine. However, if you explore the history a little deeper, you’ll find that the wine’s evolution took it through several territories over the year before we arrived at what we now know as modern champagne. The Roman Years Contrary to popular belief, there’s actually a much more Italian influence in champagne than you may realise. In fact, it was the Romans who were the first to plant vineyards in the legendary Champagne i Continue Reading

A Great Gnocchi with Bolognese Ragu Recipe

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One of the greatest joys of the festive period is the opportunity that it presents for you to eat foods that you may have never tried before. If you’ve been keeping your eye on the Xtrawine blog over the course of the last few months, you’ll have noticed that we’ve placed an increased focus on the culinary arts. After all, as any Italian person will tell you, the best way to experience a great glass of wine is with a meal that complements it perfectly. We’ve offered several recipes for traditional Italian dishes over the last few weeks, allowing you to flex your culinary muscle in the process. We’re going to give you another this week as we take a look at Gnocchi, with a Bolognese Ragu. Also known as Gnocchi al ragù, this meal may not be something that you’d traditionally think of serving during Christmas. However, it’s a wonderful dish that you may want to break out as a surprise instead of using the traditional Christmas foods that you’ve prepared in the pas Continue Reading

Give the Gift of Italian Wine for Christmas

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There’s no time of year that’s quite like Christmas. As so many before of us have told you, it’s the time for good cheer, when everybody seems to be in such a good mood that everything that stresses us out seems to melt away, if only for a little while. Of course, one of our favourite things about Christmas is giving – and receiving – gifts. There’s nothing quite like seeing somebody’s face light up when you give them a great gift that they weren’t expecting. We’re sure that many of you have gotten the majority of your Christmas shopping out of the way, but you may be thinking about buying a bottle of Italian wine for somebody you love as a Christmas gift. If you’re not, we think you should be! As a result, we’ve compiled a short list of great reasons for why wine makes a great Christmas gift. Convenience No matter what the time of year, you can buy a great bottle of wine either online or from your local store. You’re never far away from getting y Continue Reading

The Best Wines for Celebrating Christmas

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It’s that time of year again. November has drawn to a close and we’re only a couple of weeks away from Christmas. We’re sure that everybody reading this is looking forward to getting together with their family and friends so that they can share in the fun times together. There’ll be great food, loads of presents, and plenty of wine consumed over the Christmas period. Of course, being an Italian wine website, it’s the latter that we’re most excited about. In fact, there’s nothing better than enjoying a great Christmas meal with a glass of wine or two with your loved ones. So what wines should you add to your festive shopping list? Here’s a list of the best wines for celebrating Christmas. Prosecco Perhaps the most famous Italian sparkling white wine, Prosecco has been a standard for any celebration for many years, particularly in the UK, where it’s one of the highest-selling wines. There’s something light and airy about Prosecco that makes it an excell Continue Reading

Celebrate Christmas the Italian Way With Panettone

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Christmas is just around the corner. We’re sure that you’ve noticed everything getting a little more festive. Christmas music is in the air, the weather has gotten much colder, and most of you have probably at least started your Christmas shopping. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into the big day, and we’re sure that you have your own rituals and foods that you love to add into the Christmas mix. However, we though that this week we’d take a look at the Italian way of doing Christmas. In Italy, most people enjoy baking Panettone and enjoying it with a glass or two of Italian white wine. Maybe you want to join in? If so, you need this wonderful Panettone recipe, and our recommendations for the wines that you should enjoy alongside it. What You Need There’s a pretty big list of ingredients for making Panettone, so make sure you have all of the following ready. 14 grams of fast-action dried yeast About 4 tablespoons of warmed milk 250 grams of but Continue Reading

What Are The Most Famous Wine Guides and Magazines?

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Here at Xtrawine, we try to give you the best guidance possible for finding a great Italian wine that suits your taste. You’ll notice that every wine on our website comes with plenty of information about the producer, the region, and even good food pairings. We also offer mini reviews for each wine, with some of the most impressive getting larger write-ups in this very blog. Finally, there’s our Xtrawine ratings, which judge the wines on a scale from 1-100. We’re confident that most of you will be satisfied with any wine that achieves a 90 or above on the Xtrawine ratings scale. However, there are plenty of other wine guides out there, many of which have gained worldwide acclaim. They often bring together sommeliers and other experts to offer their own opinions on wines, and you may want to check them out before you invest in a wine yourself. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a short list of some great wine guides and magazines that are definitely worth the time of anybod Continue Reading

A Great Fried Pepperoni Pizza Recipe

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When most people think of Italy they think of one type of food – pizza. Almost every country in the world has adopted pizza as one of its favoured dishes, with fast food restaurants in particular finding great success with the dish. Of course, the best pizzas ae those that you’ll find in real Italian restaurants, but this bread based snack has become a favourite because it’s fairly easy to make. All you need is an oven big enough to bake the pizza and you’re flying. However, baking isn’t the only method that you can use to make a pizza. Did you know that you can also fry a pizza? It’s not a technique than many people use all that often, but it certainly lends a different dimension to the dish. Of course, you also have to think about the additional fat content when making your decision on whether to fry or bake. Assuming you’ve gone with the former, you need a great fried pizza recipe to help you get the dish ready. As we’ve done several times over the course Continue Reading

Quadra Franciacorta Brut

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We’ve spoken before about how the rise of new technologies has breathed a fresh breath of air into Italian wine production. Where people may previously have not felt confident enough to enter the industry, the internet has offered a platform for producers to sell their wares to audiences that stretch far beyond their local populations. As a result, it should come as no surprise that there has been an uptick in the number of small wine companies giving things a go since the advent of the Internet. The rise of the internet has coincided with the development of a more socially conscious world. Issues like organic production and environmentalism now take centre stage in the Italian wine industry, meaning science has a more prominent place in the industry than it has at perhaps any other point in the wine industry’s history. Many of the newer wave of Italian wine producers have latched onto these new scientific methods, either using them to bolster their wine production, or follow Continue Reading

How Does Science Benefit the Italian Wine Industry?

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Throughout the history of the Italian wine industry, there has always been a conflict between science and tradition. For every new innovation or technique that gets introduced via science, there are traditionalists who will argue against the change because it infringes on the traditions that the Italian wine industry is built on. Don’t believe us? You need only look back a few decades to see the effects of new, scientific methods had when they were introduced to Barolo production. The Barolo Wars of the 1980s stemmed from the fact that new techniques were being brought in to replace the traditional means of making the wine. Though these techniques reduced maceration and ageing time, traditionalists argued that they damaged the integrity of the wine. Tempers flared for several years, before things settled down with the almost inevitable compromise. A similar situation occurred a decade earlier, when the introduction of the Super Tuscans caused further arguments. So that leads us Continue Reading

Explaining the Barolo Wars

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Often seen as one of the most important wines in the entire Italian wine industry, Barolo has capture the imaginations of millions of people around the world for centuries. Often referred to as the king of wines, it holds a rare position, as it is almost universally respected among wine consumers the world over. In fact, ask the average person to name the top five Italian red wines, and it’s almost impossible for Barolo to not find a place on that list. We’d argue that the only Italian red that enjoys a similar reputation is Chianti, alongside its Super Tuscan relatives. Barolo has existed for hundreds of years, so it should come as no surprise that production techniques have changed over the years. Each new winemaking innovation brings with it new ideas, which some producers put into practice on traditional wines, as well as newer bottles. A Barolo from 200 years ago would taste different to one from today, which is down to new methods in producing and growing. In most cases Continue Reading

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