Italy is the largest and one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world. Italian wines are frequently named for the grape rather than for the region of origin; hence a wine excellent in one locality may be inferior in another. The best known is Chianti, red or white, and properly a Tuscan wine; Tuscany also produces the esteemed red blends known as Super-Tuscans. From Piedmont come the red Barolo, Barbera, and Barbaresco wines; from Campania come the well-known Lacrima Cristi, and Falerno, descendant of Horace's Falernian; from Veneto comes Valpolicella, dark red with a rich texture. Sicily makes Marsala, a sweet, amber-colored, usually fortified wine, but both that island and Sardinia are increasing important for quality wines.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.