Buying Wine Online – How to Avoid the Scams

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For as long as there have been high quality and expensive Italian wines, there have been people who want to make a quick buck by scamming wine lovers. It’s a tale as old as the Italian wine industry itself. In fact, it’s still common to hear reports of police raiding fraudulent winemakers who are attempting to get rich quick off the back of someone else’s hard work. It’s such a major issue in the industry that most countries have special governing bodies in place to combat it. It’s also a major issue for you. Beyond the monetary losses that come with buying a fake bottle of wine, there’s also the more practical dangers that they present. Wine scammers aren’t concerned about your health, which means they’re likely to use all sorts of strange and unapproved chemicals. These could have serious ramifications for your health. The existence of wine scammers also makes a lot of people wary about buying wine online. It’s no surprise. The web is the ideal place for sc Continue Reading

Wines in the Renaissance Era

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Last week, we took a closer look at the wines from the Middle Ages. We found that they may not have been quite as delectable as you imagine. Back then, wine was seen as much as a status symbol as it was something for people to enjoy. It was the reserve of the nobility of the clergy. Plus, the different production methods used during that era means that it barely resembled the wines that we know today. This week, we’re going to fast forward a little bit and look at an era that likely had much more influence on the modern Italian wines that we know today. We’re talking, of course, about the Renaissance. One of the most culturally significant eras, particularly in Europe, the Renaissance gave us some of the most stunning art and architecture that the world has ever known. It also gave rise to the Italian wine industry and was a crucial building block for what we know today. When Was the Renaissance? The Renaissance took up a not-insignificant amount of time. It got its sta Continue Reading

What Was Wine Like in the Middle Ages?

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If you’re a long-time reader of the Xtrawine blog, you know that we’ve delved into the history of the Italian wine industry on multiple occasions. From talking about some of the most storied producers in the industry through to discussing discoveries of ancient wines from 6,000 years ago, we have a great interest in how wine has evolved over the years. As you may have guessed, the wines from hundreds of years ago are nothing like the wines of today. The industry was also nothing like it is today back in the Middle Ages. During those times, wine production was a mostly local affair, with only a select few wines managing to gain any sort of national traction, never mind selling internationally. That’s not to say that it didn’t happen of course. Like any commodity, wine has been traded between nations for eons. What we’re saying is that there wasn’t a concerted effort to build an international industry hundreds of years ago. This line of thinking led us to another Continue Reading

Is Home-Made Wine Safe?

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Anybody who enjoys a good beer probably knows about the home brewing scene. Particularly popular in the UK and USA, home brewing sees people foregoing the professionally made beers that they’ve consumed for so long so that they can make their own. It’s a pretty complex process and many a homebrewer has ended up with beers that nobody really wants to drink. But the people who pull it off manage to produce something that genuinely feels like their own creation. What you may not know is that there’s a similar trend occurring in the world of wine. Instead of buying great Italian wines, an increasing number of people have decided to take a shot at making wines at home. We’ll point out some of the more obvious issues that this presents. Making great wines takes a lot of time, effort, and knowledge. The best producers have all poured their hearts and souls into their wines, which means their products are true reflections of the land that they came from. That may not be som Continue Reading

The Wine Trends to Look Out For in 2019

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Over the last few years, the Italian wine industry had undergone pretty massive growth. In fact, it’s overtaken France as the largest wine industry that the world has to offer. All sorts of factors have gone into achieving that. Expansion into the Asian markets of China and India have played a role, as has the explosion in popularity of great Italian wines, such as Prosecco. Greater access to information has also played a part. Today, it’s easy for people to check the details about a bottle of wine and its producer on their phones. That’s a great thing for Italian wine because so many of our producers have rich stories to tell. But there’s one more thing that’s played a big part in the success of the industry. By and large, the Italian wine industry has been able to predict, and even influence, some of the trends that affect the industry as a whole. That got us to thinking. 2018 is already drawing to a close. It feels like only yesterday that we were talking Continue Reading

The Wines of Formula One

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Formula One may be one of the most ostentatious sports in the world. We mean that in a good way, by the way. While the sport certainly captures the wider public’s attention, there’s no hiding the fact that money plays a huge role. We’re not just talking about the huge investments into the cars that get made either. The locations of race tracks and the people who associate themselves with the top levels of the sport have a certain stature that you don’t see in many other sports. Then we come to the wines. A few years back, we wrote about the history that Champagne has with Formula One. With this article, we’re going to take a look at a few interesting developments that changed – however briefly – the relationship between wine and this most adrenaline-pumping of sports. The Great Champagne Crisis Okay, so calling it a crisis may be a little overblown. However, a lot changed in the years following our initial look at wine in Formula One. As anybody who f Continue Reading

A Look at the Wines from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region

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After the difficulties that many Italian wine producers faced with the 2017 harvest, it’s encouraging to hear that things have worked out a little better in 2018. Many regions have reported excellent harvests, which leaves us looking forward to the wines that will emerge from them in the coming months. One such region is Friuli Venezia Giulia. That may not be a name that’s familiar to many of you, as the region doesn’t carry the same level of infamy as the likes of Tuscany or Piedmont. However, it’s a region that has a rich cultural heritage, as well as a longstanding presence in the Italian wine industry. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the history of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region before examining some of the wines that come from it. A Little About the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia is one of Italy’s 20 main regions. Interestingly, it’s also one of only five Italian regions that have a special statute. This means that, despite certainly Continue Reading

Tips for Making a Great Porchetta (And Some Wines from the Lazio Region to go With it)

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As is often the case here on the Xtrawine blog, we’re going to take a look at one of the wonderful culinary delights to spring forth from Italy. This week, we’re going to take a look at Porchetta. We’ve spoken about this wonderful food briefly when discussing some of the best street foods you can find in Italy. But today, we’re going to take a closer look at the dish. We’re going to look at what it is, some useful tips for making it, and some of the Italian wines from the Lazio region that go really well with it. What is Porchetta? At its core, Porchetta is the Italian twist on the old favourite of pork roast. However, a lot more care goes into its creation that you’d find with the average pork roast. The process involves deboning a pork carcase to leave a big chunk of fatty meat behind. You then stuff the meat with liver and wild fennel. That’s the traditionalist take at least. More modern interpretations see people using stuffing to…well…stuff the mea Continue Reading

Five Reasons Why Milan is the World’s Fashion Capital (And A Few Gorgeous Milanese Wines for You to Try)

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While Milan may not be the capital city of Italy, it can make a case for being its most important hub. As is the case with many of Italy’s great cities, it plays host to some stunning architecture and magnificent works of art. Perhaps as importantly, you could argue that Milan is the financial capital of Italy. It’s home to the country’s stock exchange and is the place where many of the country’s wealthiest people congregate to do business. But beyond all of that, there’s perhaps one thing that Milan is known for above all others. Fashion! Milan has been a hub for fashion and design for centuries. It’s certainly Italy’s fashion capital. However, we’d also make the argument that Milan is the world’s fashion capital. Here are five reasons why. Reason #1 – It Hosts the Milan Fashion Week Now, Milan is certainly not unique in terms of being a city that hosts an entire week that’s dedicated to fashion. Many of the world’s largest cities have similar we Continue Reading

Wine Ratings – Are They Really Useful to Consumers

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For as long as there has been an Italian wine industry, there have been experts who want to share their opinions on the many wines that come out of the country. Of course, these reviews aren’t just limited to the Italian wine industry. Practically every major wine that’s released will have somebody reviewing it and giving it a rating. In fact, there are publications that exist almost solely to provide people with more information about wine and rank the various vintages that producers release. And many believe that there’s a good reason for that. After all, a ratings system should help consumers to make their choices. But we have a question. Are wine ratings really as important as some people make them out to be? We’re not so sure and we’re going to tell you why. What Should the Ratings Show? As mentioned, there’s a clear intention behind wine ratings. They’re supposed to provide a quick representation of the quality that a wine possesses. The idea is Continue Reading

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