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Italian red varieties thrive in Northwest vineyards, wineries

on 26/09/13 at 7:06 am


indexItaly’s winemaking history goes back millennia, and today the Mediterranean country produces about a third of all the wine in the world.

When Italians emigrated to the United States, they brought their winemaking prowess with them. As early as the 1850s, Italian immigrants arrived in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley and began growing grapes and making wine.

Today, Italian varieties of wine grapes are grown throughout the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Washington’s Columbia Valley. Among the most popular is sangiovese, the noble grape of Tuscany. But winemakers also enjoy working with such red varieties as dolcetto, nebbiolo, primitivo, zinfandel and barbera.

We recently conducted a tasting of more than 100 Italian red wines made from Northwest grapes — a number that greatly surprised us. The complete results are in the fall issue of Wine Press Northwest magazine, but here is a sampling of some of the top wines. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.