WHY FILIPINOS SHOULD LOVE ITALIAN WINES
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
1. Because they are really good
The good quality of Italian wines is constantly increasing: they have always been good, they are getting even better! Italian winemakers keep rescuing and developing rare indigenous grapes in all 20 (!) Italian wine producing regions, further contributing to the huge variety of delicious and unique wines already available in the international markets. Besides, the more you drink Italian wines, the more you will feel as an individual part of a Community where, instead of being a bored Cabernet Sauvignon drinker, you would become a lover of, say, Pignolo, Lagrein, Susumaniello or Frappato…
2. Because they are reasonably priced
Unlike the overpriced wines from another European wine producing Country - you know very well which one - Italian wines are reasonably valued. Only in Italy you can have a bottle of wine that costs 1,000 Pesos and taste like 7,000 Pesos! It’s not a secret, though: Italy is the world largest producer of wine, the largest exporter by volume and the second largest exporter by value.
3. Because they are food friendly
Italian wines are extremely food-friendly because since the times of the Etruscans and the Romans, we drink our wines with our meals. Each region in Italy has reached – as centuries passed – a perfect balance in matching local traditional dishes with local varietals of grapes.
Italian sommelier guilds were teaching wine and food pairing techniques back in the 1960’s, long before today’s trendy international wine education organisations introduced food and wine matching exercises. So a white Vermentino from Liguria “marries” well with spaghetti alle vongole while a red Nebbiolo from Piedmont takes a braised beef with truffles to a higher plane of pleasure. Or, given the respective bodies, a Puglia grilled lamb is always paired with a red Primitivo while in Friuli the Prosciutto San Daniele has been paired with a white Friulano, another “classic”...
But the Italian wine pairing will surprise you more: in fact, you may now enjoy your Filipino dishes, such as beef kaldereta, nicely interacting with a red Sangiovese or a white Fiano perfectly balancing a salmon sinigang.
4. Because they are really different and diverse
Among the greatest wine producing Countries of the world, Italy is the most diverse. The sheer variety of grapes and styles offered by the 20 wine producing regions may seem intimidating at first, but it’s also the very reason why Filipinos and Filipinas wine lovers should be intrigued by Italy’s wines. No other wine nation in the world has such “endless” viticultural diversity. There are grape varieties specific to single provinces, even single towns!
In terms of wine exploration nothing compares to Italy! What will always astonish any curious wine lover is the incredible diversity of indigenous varieties, terroirs and production styles. According to Ian D’Agata’s comprehensive Native Wine Grapes of Italy, the Country cultivates roughly 2,000 (!) native grape varieties. Although just under 400 are used to make wine in commercially significant volume, that number totals more native grape varieties than France, Spain and Greece combined...
Great wine can be found in Italy for every palate and budget. Of course this unique abundance is being exploited by wine producers across the country: from tannic strong-bodied reds to lighter, fruiter whites, there’s an Italian wine for everyone, for every occasion. So if you are tired of your usual Merlot or Chardonnay, Italian native varieties will please all your senses and increase dramatically your wine knowledge. People will ask you about Refosco, Grillo, Nero d’Avola, Soave or Ribolla Gialla. Just make them start with a Prosecco: once they’ve tasted Italian wines they will crave for more.
5. Because they are cool
Italian is the new (old) wine. A new generation of Italian winemakers are producing and offering a wide range of sensational wines given the number of native grapes available. Filipinos would love meeting these Italian wine producers who, despite their millenary roots and traditions, don't brag about their wine history because they simply consider it as heritage. Their work and choices are ultimately giving Italian wines their cool styles and personalities.
6. Because they are part of a rich culture and lively lifestyle
In Italy, it is impossible to separate culture, food and wine. Every Italian region makes wine from grapes found nowhere else in the world, in a range of styles.
Wine is not considered a commodity or a luxury product that only exists for the sake of a bunch of rich collectors or wine critics. On the contrary wine is inherently tied to Italian culture, geography, history, tradition and food. It is something to be enjoyed on daily basis, part of a lifestyle shared with family and friends, a way to celebrate conviviality that dates back to the Etruscan and Roman age.
The relatives of the 200,000 Filipinos living in Italy already know this. Since there are so many similarities between the Italian and the Filipino cultures, it's not surprising that Italian wine is now the Country's growing interest.