Pio Cesare Moscato D’Asti

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The Italian town of Alba is one of the first that comes to mind when you think of the great Italian winemaking region. Those in the know are more than likely well aware of the town’s reputation for creating amazing truffles, peaches, and wines. In fact, it has been a well-respected culinary highlight of the Piedmont region since the Roman era, and it has maintained a sterling reputation ever since, playing host to almost 300 wineries and thousands of acres of vineyards, which are used to create all sorts of wines. As such, it is no surprise to note that there are a number of winemakers in the area that have managed to create great reputations for themselves for producing quality products, with the truly special rising to the top and establishing themselves as the absolute cream of the crop. Pio Cesare stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the greats to emerge from Alba, so this week we are going to take a look at the town’s history, before examining one of its most popular Continue Reading

The Growing Popularity of Moscato d’Asti in the United States

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Off all of the Italian wine success stories, Moscato d'Asti seems like it should be the most unlikely. After all, the wine has traditionally been used as little more than a palate cleanser and worker’s wine since it was first recognized back in the later 19th century. However, seeing it as that really does do very little justice to a wine that, despite its low alcohol volume, has maintained a startling level of consistent popularity that has not only endured to the modern era, but has actually increased in more recent years. Since the turn of the millennium, Moscato d'Asti has exploded in popularity in the United States, to the point where over 27 million bottles of the wine are produced annually in Italy, with 80 percent of them going to the US. It’s sparked an enormous spurt of production of the wine, with more new producers hopping on board on a regular basis, but the reasoning behind this surge in popularity is a little murkier. Cheap and Cheerful When looking for reas Continue Reading

The History of the Moscato d’Asti Wine

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With Prosecco having achieved such international infamy for its quality, it is only natural that more people are becoming interested in other types of sparkling white wines from Italy. In truth, consumers really are spoilt for choice when it comes to their selections, but there are some varieties that stand out from the crowd thanks to their own qualities. One of those wines is the spectacular Moscato d'Asti, so here we are going to take a brief tour through the history of this wonderful wine and why it has become such an indelible part of the Italian wine industry. The Early Years The Moscato Bianco grape, from which Moscato d'Asti and a number of other wines are made, has been cultivated for centuries in the Piedmont region, marking it out as one of the oldest grapes in the Italian wine industry, and certainly one of the most revered in the entire Piedmont region. However, by contrast, the Moscato d'Asti is actually a fairly new wine, especially when considering the age o Continue Reading

Adami Prosecco Cartizze

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With so many amazing Prosecco producers in Italy, it can be very difficult to pick just one to shine a spotlight on. After all, the quality of the wines being produced in the country is such that practically all Prosecco producers are now able to take advantage of the growth of the wine to the point where they have reputations that deserve a little bit of focus. Still, our weekly examination of a great wine demands that we select a producer from the amazing list of companies that Xtrawine acts as a retailer for and we think we’ve found one that combines a stellar history with a truly wonderful example of the drink that is sure to whet your taste buds. So without any further ado, here is the story of the Adami winemaking company, which will, as always, be followed by a brief review of one of the best wines it produces. The History The Alta Marca has long been a land that has been revered by wine lovers. The delicate whispers of nature and the stunning surroundings are home Continue Reading

The Rise and Rise of Prosecco in the UK

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Over the last few years, Prosecco has emerged as the sparkling wine of choice for consumers all over the world. Long noted by Italians for its quality, the wine had along played second fiddle to Champagne, being seen by some as a bargain basement version of what must still be considered the world’s most famous sparkling white wine, at least in some quarters. That all started to change as the 2010s rolled around, culminating in the sales performance of Prosecco during 2016, which saw it eclipse Champagne as the most popular of the sparkling whites, firmly entrenching itself in the pantheon of great wines in the process. Producers enjoyed a bonanza sales year, which saw total sales of the wine exceed 410 million bottles. All indicators point to this gradual surge in popularity being more than a trend too. The upward momentum of Prosecco has been evident for many years and, as more markets begin to open up to Italian wine producers, it is likely that we are only going to see deman Continue Reading

Prosecco and Mozzarella di Bufala: Combating Counterfeiting Online

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For as long as there has been an Italian wine industry there have been people trying to take advantage of the hardworking producers throughout the country by creating counterfeit products and trying to pass them off as the real thing in order to make a quick bit of money. Not only can this lead to the original producer’s reputation being damaged, as poor quality products get associated with them if nobody catches onto the counterfeiting operation, but it also harms consumers, who can never be 100 percent sure about what has gone into the counterfeited product and are often unaware that they have been scammed at all. While the internet has allowed for more choice and variety in products than ever before, it has also opened up an even larger audience to counterfeiters. Furthermore, it can often be difficult to determine whether or not a product is fake just by looking at a picture on the web, making it even harder to figure out where it came from. Here we will be looking at a Continue Reading

Cantina della Volta Lambrusco Modena

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Long considered to be one of the most famous wines produced in Italy, Lambrusco finds its roots in the Etruscan era, with records showing that vines have been grown in Modena and the surrounding areas for centuries. At one point, even Pliny the Elder remarked upon the grapes versatility and abundance, pointing out that a single grape offered a higher yield than most others. Today, Lambrusco has become one of the most popular wines, particularly in international territories like the United States. While traditionally served still, it is occasionally made as a Spumante, or sparkling wine. The producer that we will be taking a look at today specialises in creating this very version of Lambrusco, however, before we take a look at the wine itself let’s first regale ourselves with the story of Cantina Della Volta. The History The story of Cantina della Volta actually starts later than many of the companies that we have covered before on this blog. Founded in 2010 by a group of Continue Reading

Beware of Fake Wines – The Warning Signs to Look For

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With a wine industry as massive as the one boasted by the Italians, it should come as no surprise that fraudsters and even some legitimate producers attempt to use the names of the great wines produced in the country for their own profit. These “fake” wines can leave drinkers feeling cheated, not only because they have missed out on the quality that comes with the real thing, but also because they may have spent just as much on the fake bottle as they would have the legitimate one, only to receive a lesser product or something that they weren’t expecting. For example, those who enjoy Lambrusco are often caught out by the fact that the wine is also produced in Australia and Argentina, with wildly varying results when it comes to quality. The Australian version, in particular, tends to be much weaker and is produced more as a weak wine than the quality product you would find from Italian producers. So how do you go about spotting these fakes and ensuring you get the real t Continue Reading

Lambrusco – Wine of Modena

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History has shown us that there are many Italian grapes that have achieved infamy almost as much as the wines they are used to produce. After all, without the quality of the grape the resulting wine will not satisfy those who drink it. Lambrusco has come to stand as one of the more famous to emerge from Italy and can trace its history back over the centuries, perhaps making it one of the oldest grape varieties in the entire country. Before we take a look at that, however, we are first going to examine Modena, which is a small province in Italy that is best known, at least in the wine community, for being one of the world’s foremost producers of this famous grape. Modena Like many territories in Italy, the area of Modena has been inhabited by the Etruscans at one point in history, though it has also been home to a number of other tribes and the Gaulish Boii, who overran the Etruscan settlement. We don’t know the exact date the province came to be, but we do not that it e Continue Reading

Revisiting the History of Antinori

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There is perhaps no family or wine producer that is more indelibly linked to the culture of Italy than the Antinori family. For centuries the family has been perhaps the most influential and well-known in the entire industry, while also playing an important role in politics and other industries throughout the course of time. From its early entry into the winemakers guild, all the way through to the revolution that was sparked by Tignanello and the other Super Tuscans, the Antinori name is one that you are likely to come across often if you take some time to read about the history of Tuscany. In the last few posts focused on the family we have looked at some of the specific vineyards they have taken control of in more recent times, so we thought this week would be the perfect time to revisit the more ancient history of the family before taking a look at yet another of the amazing wines that bear the Antinori seal. The History In writing a historical piece about the Antinori Continue Reading

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