If you’ve been following along recently, our wine team has been traveling near and far to visit the premier wine producing regions on the globe in search of amazing wine finds. Recent highlights include a European excursion in France and a visit to Napa and Sonoma, California, but no global wine search would be complete without a trip to Italy.
We set off to Italy with a plan: seek out and taste the best possible Italian wines while creating personal, lasting relationships with wine makers that allow Heinen’s to offer the best of the best Italian Wines that you won’t find anywhere. Making trips like these is what sets the Heinen’s wine department apart, we’re able to find great wine values and offer a wine selection unlike any other.
For centuries, wine has been an important and celebrated element of Italian culture and that remains true today. Divided by the Alps and Dolomite Mountains in the north and Apennine Mountains running the length of the country, Italy proudly boasts 20 distinct geographical regions where over 1000 grape varieties are grown. From region to region, Italian wine makers have been producing some of the world’s most recognizable wine for generations.
Nestled along the country’s western coast, Italy’s Tuscany region is home to the towns of Florence and Pisa as well as the world-renowned Chianti region. This is where the first leg of our journey was spent, meeting with some amazing wine makers and tasting wines from places like Chianti and Brunello and so many more. The wines of Tuscany are marked by the prevalent use of the Sangiovese grape, the most commonly planted grape in the region. Sangiovese is the primary grape in the Chianti blend and the only grape used in production of the popular Brunello variety.
The second portion of the trip was spent in the Peidmont region of Northern Italy bordering France and Switzerland. In Piedmont the two towns of Barolo and Barbaresco produce some of the most enjoyed wines in Italy if not all of Europe or the world. Where Sangiovese dominates Tuscany many of the best wines in Piedmont are made using the Nebbiolo grape. The Nebbiolo grape requires a great amount of skill and just the right climate in order to thrive.
A favorite memory from this trip was a day visiting with a special wine making family near Barolo. After tasting around 125 wines in Peidmont, many of the top wines selected in each category had something in common; they were all from the same family owned winery, Franco Conterno. We just had to meet the people behind these incredible wines. The Conterno’s invited us into their home to break bread and make conversation while assuring the Conterno name would be well represented in our stores. When it was time to leave, a lasting friendship and partnership was solidified with one of the premier wine makers in Piedmont.
In 6 days in Tuscany and Piedmont, we broke down and tasted over 250 of the best wines that Italy has to offer. We met with some amazing people, made friendships and discovered a number of amazing Italian wine values that you will soon be able to find in our stores.
Check out our entire selection of exclusive Italian Wines and learn more about where they come from.