- Latium (Lazio, outside Rome): The region around Rome is known for predominantly white wines that include Marino, Est! Est!! Est!!!, Colli Albani, and the famous Frascati ("the wine of the popes and the people"). All these are derived almost exclusively from Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes or from combinations of the two. The region's most famous producers of Frascati are Fontana Candida, Via di Fontana Candida 11, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Roma (tel. 06-9401881); www.fontanacandida.com, whose winery, 23km (14 miles) southwest of Rome, was built around 1900; and Gotto D'Oro-Cantina Sociale di Marino, Via del Divino Amore 115, 00040 Frattocchie, Roma (tel. 06-93022226; www.gottodoro.it). To arrange visits, contact the Gruppo Italiano Vini, Villa Belvedere, 37010 Calmasino, Verona (tel. 045-6269600; www.gruppoitalianovini.com).
- Tuscany & Umbria: Some of Italy's most scenic vineyards lie nestled among the verdant rolling hills of these two stately regions. In fact, the most famous kind of wine in Italy (chianti) is indelibly associated with Tuscany, whereas the (usually white) Orvieto and the (usually red) Torgiano are closely associated with Umbria. One of Tuscany's largest vintners is Banfi, Castello Banfi, Sant'Angelo Scalo, Montalcino, 53024 Siena (tel. 0577-840111; www.castellobanfi.com). Near Siena are two other good choices: Biondi-Santi, Loc. Greppo 183, 53024 Montalcino (tel. 0577-848087; www.biondisanti.it), and Casa Vinicola L. Cecchi, Loc. Casina dei Ponti 56, 53011 Castellina in Chianti (tel. 0577-54311; www.cecchi.net).
- Emilia-Romagna: Composed of two distinct areas (Emilia, to the west of Bologna, around the upriver Po Valley; and Romagna, to the east, centered on the delta of the Po), the region is known to gastronomes as the producer of some of Italy's best food, with wines worthy of its legendary cuisine. Emilia's most famous wine is Lambrusco, 50 million bottles of which are produced every year near Modena and Reggio Emilia. Less well known but also highly rated are the Colli Piacentini wines, of which Cantine Romagnoli, Via Genova 20, Villò di Vigolzone 29020 (tel. 0523-870129; www.cantineromagnoli.it), is a rising star. Wines from Romagna are made from Sangiovese, Trebbiano, and Albana grapes and are well respected, cropping up on wine lists throughout the country.
- The Veneto: The humid flatlands of the eastern Po Valley produce memorable reds and whites in abundance, including everything from soft-white Soaves and pinot grigios to red Valpolicellas and merlots. Important vineyards in the region are Azienda Vinicola Fratelli Fabiano, Via Verona 6, 37060 Sona, near Verona (tel. 045-6081111; www.fabiano.it), and Fratelli Bolla, Piazza Cittadella 3, 37122 Verona (tel. 045-6190256; www.bolla.com). Smaller, but well respected because of recent improvements to its vintages, is Nino Franco (known for its sparkling prosecco), in the hamlet of Valdobbiadene, Via Garibaldi 147, 31049 Valdobbiadene, Treviso (tel. 0423-972051). For information on these and the dozens of other producers in the Veneto, contact the Azienda di Promozione Turistica, Via Degli Alpini no. 9, Piazza Bra, 37121 Verona (tel. 045-8068680; www.tourism.verona.net).
- Trentino-Alto Adige: The two most important wine-producing regions of northwestern Italy are the Alto Adige (also known as the Bolzano or Sudtirol region) and Trento. The loftier of the two, the Alto Adige, was once part of the Austro-Hungarian province of the South Tirol. More Germanic than Italian, it clings to its Austrian traditions and folklore and grows an Italian version of the Gewürztraminers (a fruity white) that would more often be found in Germany, Austria, and Alsace. Venerable winegrowers include Alois Lageder (founded in 1855), Tenuta Loüwengang, Vicolo dei Conti 9, 39040 in the hamlet of Magré (tel. 0471-809500; www.lageder.com), and Schloss Turmhof, Via Castello 4, Entiklar, Kurtatsch, 39040 (tel. 0471-880122; www.tiefenbrunner.com). The Trentino area, a short distance to the south, is one of the leading producers of chardonnay and sparkling wines fermented using methods developed centuries ago. A winery worth a visit is Cavit Cantina Viticoltori, Via del Ponte di Ravina 31, 38100 Trento (tel. 0461-381711; www.cavit.it).
- Friuli-Venezia Giulia: This region in the Alpine foothills of northeastern Italy produces a light, fruity vintage that's especially appealing when young. One of the largest and best-respected wineries is Marco Felluga, Via Gorizia 121, Gradisca d'Isonzo, 34072 Gorizia (tel. 0481-99164; www.marcofelluga.it). Another producer known for its high-quality wines is Eugenio Collavini Vini & Spumanti, Loc. Gramogliano, Via della Ribolla Gialla 2, 33040 Corno di Rosazzo, Udine (tel. 0432-753222; www.collavini.it).
- Lombardy: The Po Valley has always been known for its flat vistas, midsummer humidity, fertile soil, and excellent wines. The region produces everything from dry, still reds to sparkling whites with a champagnelike zest. Guido Berlucchi, Piazza Duranti 4, Borgonato di Cortefranca, 25040 Brescia (tel. 030-984381; www.berlucchi.it), one of Italy's largest wineries, is especially welcoming to visitors.
- The Piedmont: Reds with rich, complex flavors make up most of the wine output of this high-altitude region near Italy's border with France. One of the most interesting vineyards is in a 15th-century abbey near the hamlet of Alba: Renato Ratti Cantina, Abbazia dell'Annunziata, La Morra, 12064 Cuneo (tel. 0173-50185; www.renatoratti.com).
- Campania: The wines produced in the harsh, hot landscapes of Campania, around Naples in southern Italy, seem stronger, rougher, and, in many cases, more powerful than those grown in gentler climes. Among the most famous are the Lacryma Christi (Tears of Christ), a white that grows in the volcanic soil near Naples, Herculaneum, and Pompeii; Taurasi, a potent red; and Greco di Tufo, a pungent white laden with the odors of apricots and apples. One of the most frequently visited vineyards is Mastroberardino, Via Manfredi 75-81, Atripalda, 83042 Avellino (tel. 0825-614111; www.mastroberardino.com).
- Sicily: Because of its hot climate and volcanic soil, Sicily is home to countless vineyards, many of which produce only simple table wines. Of the better vintages, the best-known wine is Marsala, a dessert wine produced in both amber and ruby tones. Its production was given a great boost by the British, whose fleet paid frequent calls in Sicily throughout England's Age of Empire. Lord Nelson was an avid connoisseur, encouraging its production and spurring local vintners to produce large quantities.
- Marsala: You can also visit the best wineries in Marsala: Cantina Pellegrino, Via del Fante 37-39, 91025 Marsala (tel. 0923-719911; www.carlopellegrino.it); Rallo, Via Florio 3, 91025 Marsala (tel. 0923-721633); and Cantine Florio, Via Florio 1, 91025 Marsala (tel. 0923-781111; www.cantineflorio.it).
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