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 Filed as : Regional SpotlightItaly

The Azzurri Guide To Wine

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  • Publish Date: Jun 15, 2010

The Azzurri Guide To Wine
Confused by Italian vino? The soccer team can help.

One of the biggest surprises leading up to this year's World Cup: Star player Giuseppe Rossi was cut from Italy's final 23-man roster. In The Daily Sip's view of the tournament (we're assessing the teams by their players' wine heritage), this was a blessing. After all, Rossi is a native of New Jersey. Not exactly synonymous with terroir, is it?

With or without Rossi, though, the Azzuri are stacked with players who should know a thing or two about wine. Yes, Italian wine can be confusing, but a look at the country's soccer team is as good an intro as any: About one-third of the players come from wine regions. And even though the Azzurri are known for their offensive flair, it's the goalkeepers that can provide the best introduction to Italian wine.

Starter Gianluigi Buffon comes from Tuscany, specifically the Colli di Luni DOC. For the reds there, you'll mostly find Sangiovese, and the whites are typically made of the Vermentino grape. The latter is a crisp, minerally wine that's great for drinking while watching the big game on a warm summer afternoon. Buffon's backup, Morgan De Sanctis, comes from Abruzzo, home of the Montepulciano grape. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is the perfect pizza wine, and can offer great quality for low prices.

Here's a look at the rest of the team's wine pedigree. Click on the player's home wine region to learn more about the place and the grape varieties grown there (DOC stands for "denominazione di origine controllata," or "controlled origin domination," meaning there are defined boundaries and grape varieties of the wine region):

• Federico Marchetti, Breganze DOC
• Salvatore Bocchetti, Rosso Piceno DOC
• Cristian Maggio, Colli Berici DOC
• Claudio Marchisio, Freisa di Chieri DOC
• Simone Pepe, Castelli Romani DOC.

In short, just as you probably wouldn't want to play against the Italians on the pitch, you probably wouldn't want to try to match wits with them in a wine bar either. Well, perhaps you could take on Giuseppe Rossi....

What's your go-to Italian wine for quality and value? Tell us here.

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Jun 19, 2010
Why are you bashing wine-making in New Jersey?  Have you ever had a wine made in New Jersey?  We just moved from California and were pleasantly surprised. 

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In which country is Torrontes an important white grape variety?