I think we all know the common stereotypes on Italians.
Once it was pizza, pasta, mafia, mandolino and the legend about the Italian stallions (yes, I am sorry it is only a legend!)
More recently we also tend to be seen as bad drivers, short-tempered, loud, a bit messy and bunga bunga people. Well, as an Italian living abroad, you can imagine that sometimes being categorized this way it's not that pleasant. I definitely don’t see myself as loud, maybe a bit messy yes and not the most patient woman in the world, ok. But I can drive decently and definitely don’t want to be associated to anything Berlusconi-related. On the other hand I have to admit that we all tend to have stereotypes on other populations or different cultures. It’s human. Often these are wrong. More often they are actually right.
But if we are talking about Italian wines instead, what are the stereotypes and is there any truth in them?
Let me start destroying a couple of the old cliche'....First of all, Italy does not only produce Pinot Grigio, Chianti and Lambrusco as some may think. There is much more out there. One of the greatest characteristics of wine production in Italy is its diversity. Wine is produced all over the country and each regions has indigenous varieties and traditional techniques, so be adventurous and next time you are about to choose a bottle of wine, try something different even if you can't pronounce the name!!
Second, Chianti is not just a cheap wine sold in traditional fiascos.
Have you ever tried some Fontodi, Selvapiana, Felsina or Isole e Olena for example? Well if you haven't yet, it's really time to do it. Get out, find a bottle of one of these, taste it and think about what people say about Chianti. It ain't right, uhm?!
And for those considering themselves Italian wine conosseurs because they happen to have tried some Super Tuscans and are now convinced that these wines are the maximum (or the only) expression of this country wine production, well...I am sorry to disappoint you but I think you need more exercise. When the first Super Tuscans appeared in the late 70s they could have possibly been some of the best wines on the market but now this is not true anymore. Get a taste of Barolos, Aglianicos, Brunellos, good Soaves...and many more....
Last but not least, if the only wines that pop up on your mind when thinking about Italy are those coming from Tuscany, let me tell you that Italy is divided in 20 regions and as said before, they all produce wines, so why don't you explore other areas?
Maybe some wines from Southern Italy, maybe Friuli Venezia Giulia or Umbria....you will be pleasantly surprised.
There is definitely much yet to be discovered on Italian wines and plenty of wrong beliefs. The common stereotypes are not doing them justice.
Maybe we should all revise our stereotypes and be more open minded....not only for the Italian wines!