Mortadella and Italian Wine – How to Combine Them

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If you’ve been following our blog over the last couple of weeks, you’ll have noticed that we’ve been shining the spotlight on a number of classic Italian foods. The likes of Parma Ham have come onto our radar – and why not? The Italians create an indelible link between the foods that they create and the wines that they drink. The culinary arts are such a major thing in the country that you can’t really talk about great Italian wine without talking about the wonderful Italian foods that go with it. That’s why we’ve placed such a focus on different Italian foods and why we’re going to do it again with this article. But which of the many wonderful foods should we choose? There are so many great pastas and cheeses that it’s almost too easy to choose one of those. Instead, we’re going to stick with the meaty theme that we started last week. So, this week we’re going to take a look at the wonderful Italian sausage meat Mortadella. And of course, we’ll offe Continue Reading

Italian Wine Therapy for Your Skin

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If you’re a regular reader of the Xtrawine blog, you already know that Italian wine can have huge benefits for your health. This is especially the case for red wine. A glass of wine per day may be able to help you to avoid heart issues, lower your blood pressure, and may even guard you against cancer. Even white wine is starting to reveal some hidden health secrets that we didn’t know about before. Generally, it comes down to the antioxidants in wine. Remember that these wonderful drinks come from grapes, which means they offer many of the same benefits that the fruit offers. Plus, the production process even imbibes wine with some added benefits that you may not get from eating grapes alone. Of course, you may know all of this already. The health benefits of Italian wine are well known, which we’re sure many of you use as the reason for drinking it – even if it’s really the taste and the way that it makes you feel that’s the real reason. But those benefits aren Continue Reading

Tips for Preserving Your Italian Wine At Home

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Imagine for a moment that you’ve just come back home from work. You’ve had a rough day and nothing in the world sounds better than a nice glass of Italian wine by the fire. You want to relax and unwind to allow the stresses of the day to just melt away. But there’s a problem. You pour your wine and take the first sip. Something seems to be off. The wine had completely lost its quality and you end up disappointed. It’s an upsetting situation and it’s one that many wine lovers have encountered at some point in their drinking history. It can also leave you asking one big question – how do I preserve a bottle of wine? You want your wine to keep its quality for as long as possible. But you have limited options for storage at home. How do you keep your wine tasting great? There are several techniques that you can use. Here, we’re going to take a look at a few that you can use in your own home to ensure that your wine is as amazing as you expect it to be. Buy a W Continue Reading

Parmigiano Reggiano and Italian Wines

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All over Italy, there are regions that are well known for their foods. In fact, it would be fair to say that every city, town, and village has a speciality dish of which they’re particularly proud. Food in general is a point of pride with the Italians. And of course, with great Italian food must come great Italian wine. In global culinary arts, there is perhaps no nation that understands the importance of pairing the right wine with the right food quite like the Italians. They don’t just create meals. They create experiences that bring together food, wine, and a wonderful atmosphere. Thankfully, many of the goods that make Italy so famous are also available for international foodies. After all, the nation wants to share the wealth, which means that everybody else gets to benefit. We’ve examined many of these regional delicacies on the Xtrawine blog, and we’re often quick to point to wine pairings that we think that you should try for them. And that’s exactly Continue Reading

Parma Ham and Italian Wine

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One of the true joys of Italian wine comes in the fact that you can pair different wines with so many types of food. Of course, any food is a good candidate for pairing. You just need to think about what the food has to offer and use a wine that complements the flavours of the food. But there’s no denying that the best way to enjoy Italian wine is to pair it with great Italian food. Anybody who’s been to a restaurant or bistro in Italy will be able to tell you that. Simply put, Italian people know what to pair with their food. In fact, many regions take pride in the fact that they produce wines that pair well with the foods that their regions are known for. That, in a roundabout way, brings us to the subject of today’s article. If you’re lucky, you may have had the joy of eating the famous Parma Ham. Also known as Prosciutto, this may well be the single most famous type of ham in the world. Here we’re going to take a look at this wonderful food. And then, of Continue Reading

Eight Fun Facts and Titbits About Chianti Wines

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There are few Italian wines that carry the reputation that Chianti has boasted for so many years. In the pantheon of Italian red wines, there’s perhaps only Barolo – The King of Wines – that can match Chianti for pure name value. The wine has been a mainstay of the industry for centuries and it’s so important that the industry as a whole went into a period of meltdown when a group of producers decided to mess with the formula during the 1970s. To commemorate this wonderful wine, we’ve pulled together a few facts and titbits that we think highlight just how important Chianti is to the Italian wine industry. Fact #1 – It Stems From the 13thCentury Viticulture, in some form or another, has existed in Italy for thousands of years. In fact, the discovery of ancient traces of wine in a 6,000 year old jug in Sicily suggests that people have been making wine in the country since before recorded human history. Chianti is certainly not that old. But the wine does have to roll Continue Reading

Visiting Pisa – Great Italian Wine, Food, and a Certain Famous Tower

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Rarely is one region or city so defined by one monument as Pisa. Seriously, just think of the word Pisa for a moment. We bet that the first thought that came to mind was the famous leaning tower. That’s understandable, as it’s not just Pisa’s top tourist attraction. It’s also one of the leading tourist attractions in all of Italy. People come from far and wide to see this famous tower. But Pisa has so much more to offer to those who want to explore a little further. With that in mind, we’ve decided to create this article. Let’s look at the biggest landmarks – including that famous tower – the best food and the great Italian wines that you’ll find when you visit Pisa. Visiting the Leaning Tower Let’s start with the most obvious attraction. The best news is that it’s completely free to visit the grounds of the tower itself. You can join the throngs of visitors who hang around the grounds taking photos and eating picnics. In fact, enjoying a picnic with a ni Continue Reading

Judging Italian Wine – Where Do Those Scores Come From

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If you explore the Xtrawine site, you’ll see that a lot of the Italian wines in our store carry scores. This come from a range of different sources. We have our own ratings system, of course. But we also provide some insight into the scores that various wines have achieved from other sources. The truth is that there’s no universal authority when it comes to judging the quality of a wine. Practically every major wine publication has its own judging criteria. Then, there are all of the competitions that judge wines and offer awards based on their quality too. Having said that, there are some commonalities in the ways that judges examine and test every wine sample that comes to them. This article looks at some of the things that Italian wine judges look at when they’re judging the quality of a wine. It also illuminates the process behind how a bottle of wine may be judged. Creating the Panel Before you can judge the quality of a bottle of wine, you need to find people Continue Reading

The Best Italian White Wines of 2018

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Those of you who know about Italian wines know that you’re not going to find any 2018 vintages on the market just yet. The growing season is currently underway and it will be a few months for 2018’s grapes even get harvested. After that, they have to go through the various fermentation, production, and ageing processes that are so important to creating a great bottle of wine. As a result, any best of list for the year 2018 won’t be looking at wines that are made in 2018. That’s simply not possible. Instead, it will look at wines that were made at least two years ago, but were released in 2018. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s one that you have to pay attention to when you’re buying a bottle of wine. In fact, the year attached to the wine, otherwise known as the vintage, can give a good indicator of when the wine was actually released, as well as produced. For example, a 2016 vintage will likely have been put up for sale in 2018. It all depends on the wine and the Continue Reading

Wine Ice Cream? Yes Please!

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Quick! Name one thing that you love as much (or almost as much) as a great glass of Italian wine. If you’re anything like us, the heat of summer may have turned your mind directly to that most delectable of treats – ice cream. Let’s be honest. As much as we love Italian wine, there’s few things more satisfying than a cold, creamy scoop of ice cream when the sun’s really bearing down on you. That coolness, coupled with a healthy touch of sweetness, is just what you need to salve that summertime heat. You may be wondering why we’re talking about ice cream. After all, for as great as ice cream is, it’s not exactly a food that you’re going to eat with a glass of wine by your side. But that doesn’t mean that ice cream and wine don’t share a connection. In fact, the work of a dairy company in New York has created a stronger link between wine and ice cream than you may have imagined. Mercer’s Dairy Mercer’s Dairy is a New York-based company that’s ta Continue Reading

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