Italian Wine: A Beginner's Guide

Photo: Emily Rentsch

Italian wine is both beloved and kind of daunting. Italian wine makers are proud of the many indigenous grapes that thrive in their country, but with over 580 grapes in use across the land, there's a lot to sift through (and discover!) in this ancient gastronomical paradise. 

We're here to make things a little simpler! Below, we'll run through some of the main wine-producing regions in Italy—from North to South—and highlight the most prominent grapes from each region. You'll get to know the grapes' basic flavor profiles and gain a bit more insight on how to choose a bottle of Italian juice the next time you're strolling the wine shop aisles. Let's dig in!

HOW TO READ ITALIAN WINE LABELS


First—how the heck do you decipher an Italian wine label?!

One of the big things to remember is that Italian wines are filed into one of four different classifications. These classifications (or appellations) indicate how well-controlled the production and quality of each wine is:

• DOGC (Denominazione...

Women's History Month: 5 Fantastic Female Winemakers

Photo: Ana Gabriel via Unsplash

To celebrate Women's History Month, we're highlighting a few exceptional women winemakers we love.

Isn't it silly that we have to put the word woman before the word winemaker, like it's an alien concept? But truthfully, the wine making business continues to be dominated by men, from farming to production to marketing to selling. A woman hoping to succeed in the field has to work much harder for the same recognition, and it helps if she's born into a family that's already established in the industry. It's more important than ever to recognize women succeeding in wine making, so that one day it won't seem so remarkable. It will just make sense.

MARTA CASAS + MARIA ELENA JIMENEZ
of Parés Baltá

Parés Baltá—just east of Barcelona, Spain—has been in the business of making cavas (and more) for over 200 years. For the last 20 years, the winery has been managed by brothers Joan and Josep Cusiné Carol. But the wine is up to their wives, Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas. 

Marta grew up playing...

[WINE PAIRING + VIDEO] Halloween Candy + Wine

Remember trick or treating? Unless you've got a little kid in your life, those days of skipping around the neighborhood hauling pillow cases stuffed with fun size candy are loooong gone. 

But who says adults can't indulge in a little sugar on October 31st? And! Who says wine can't be a part of the spooky equation?

In the video above, Sip Better's sommelier, Leslee, has picked out a bundle of wines that go well with all the Halloween classics: Snickers, Kit Kats, Reeses, and more! Go grab a mixed bag of chocolate bars, a few friends, and follow along for a cozy night of Halloween-themed wine tasting. Bonus points if you play Hocus Pocus in the background!

 

5 Wines to Grill and Chill With This Summer

Photo: Jo Jo

Sure, you could have beer at your next barbecue. But why not play the wild card and pair your smokey outdoor eats with WINE?

Pairing wine to grilled meats and vegetables is a lot easier than you think. Just make sure neither the food nor the drink overpowers the other. So, if you've got a super savory marinated steak, you'll need a heartier wine--like a Cabernet or Zinfandel--to stand up to its big ole flavor. Similarly, try a lighter bodied wine that's full of fruit when enjoying the more delicate flavors of grilled zucchini or pork chops.

Pro tip: Try chilling light-bodied reds (Pinot Noir, Gamay, Frappato, lighter Nebbiolos) before serving them. They'll taste extra fresh and keep you cool while you man the grill.

Below are some of my favorite red wines to grill and chill with in the summertime, complete with some handy little pairing ideas:

1. Elk Cove 'Estate' Pinot Noir Rosé | Willamette Valley, Oregon
This sunset-colored rosé of Pinot Noir is all juicy, tart cherry and rose petals...

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