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Wines Of Italy

WINES OF ITALY Italy ranks second to France as regards the quantity of wine produced, but in respect to quality a comparison is scarcely possible, inasmuch as the Italian wines are on the whole of a poor character. They display many of the features characteristic of southern wines, showing either an excessive vinosity coupled with a somewhat crude xmquet, or where the alcoholic strength is not high, a decided lack of stability. The reason for this is to be sought partly in the unscientific methods of cultivation, and partly, in many districts, in the haphazard methods of vinification employed. The vines are to a great extent still trained on trees or trellis-work, or allowed to grow among the rest of the vegetation in the most casual manner. It must be stated, nevertheless, that of recent years a decided improvement has set in in some quarters owing to the lively interest which the Italian government has taken in the subject, principally owing to the important export trade to America, Switzerlandl and other countries. The trade with the United States, which in 1887 amounted to little over 120,000 gallons, has risen to considerably over a million gallons. The exports to the Argentine Republic amount to roughly 4 million gallons, and to Switzerland from 4 to 8 million gallons. The trade with the United Kingdom is small, amounting to little over a quarter of a million gallons annually, and of a value rather less than 50,000. The total exports of Italy are on the average not far from 40 million gallons. The wines of northern Italy are on the whole of good colour, but somewhat harsh. Among the best-known wines in Piedmont are the Barolos and the wines of Asti, which are made from a species of muscatel grapes. They are of an agreeable flavour, and this especially applies to the white descriptions. A considerable quantity of sparkling wine is manuactured in this district. Among the best-known wines of Lombardy are the Passella wines of Valtelina. In central Italy the best growths .re those of Chianti, Pomino, Montalcino, Carmignano and Montelulciano. Tuscany produces the greater part of these wines, which _re of good but not excessive alcoholic strength, containing as a rule some ioj% to ll}% of alcohol. The Montepulciano wines have a >rilliant colour and high bouquet, and are of a sweet, luscious flavour. The wines of Chianti, near Siena, are often described is being of the claret type, but actually they are somewhat similar o the growths of Beaujolais. The best Italian wines, however, are Drobably those grown in the Neapolitan district. The best of these s the celebrated Lacrima Christi, which is grown on the slopes of Vesuvius from a vine bearing the same name. It has a fine red colour, and unites delicacy and a high bouquet with a sweet elegant taste. The white muscat wines of Vesuvius are also of good quality, and the island of Capri produces some excellent wine. Perhaps the best known of Italian wines in the United Kingdom is that produced in the neighbourhood of Marsala in the island of Sicily, which bears the name of the town from which it is exported. Marsala is a fortified white wine which is grown and made with considerable care. It is somewhat similar in character to the wines of Madeira, but its character also recalls some of the sherry types. It is vatted and blended in much the same way as sherry, and there is a considerable trade in this wine with the United Kingdom. In the neighbourhood of Palermo, Muscat and Malvoisie wines of very fair quality are made. The islands of Sardinia and Elba produce considerable quantities of wine, some of which is of fair quality.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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