Compare Corvina from Valpolicella, Negroamaro from Puglia, Sangiovese from Tuscany and Nebbiolo from Piedmont.
Corvina is one of the principal grapes which makes the famous wines of the Veneto: Valpolicella and Amarone. Corvina produces light to medium body wines with a light crimson colouring. The grapes' naturally high acidity can make the wine somewhat tart with a slight, bitter almond and sour-cherry notes. Some producers are using barrel aging to add more structure and complexity to the wine.
Negroamaro literally means "black bitter". It is widely planted in the region of Puglia. The grape can produce wines very deep in colour and tend to be rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness. The grape produces some of the best red wines of Apulia, particularly when blended with the highly scented Malvasia Nera, as in the case of Salice Salentino.
Sangiovese is Italy's claim to fame, the pride of Tuscany. It produces Chianti (Classico), and the famed red wines from the villages of Montalcino and Montepulciano. Sangiovese is also the backbone in many of the acclaimed, modern-styled "Super-Tuscans", where it is blended with Bordeaux varietals and aged in French oak barrels. Young Sangiovese has fresh fruity flavours of strawberry and a little spiciness, but it readily takes on oaky, even tarry, flavours when aged in barrels. While not as aromatic as other red wine varieties it often has a flavour profile of sour red cherries with earthy aromas and tea leaf notes. Wines made from Sangiovese usually have medium-plus tannins and high acidity.
Nebbiolo is viewed as the most noble of Italy's varieties. The name (meaning "little fog") refers to the autumn fog that blankets most of Piedmont where Nebbiolo is chiefly grown, and where it achieves the most successful results. A difficult grape variety to cultivate, it produces the most renowned Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo produces lightly-coloured red wines which can be highly tannic in youth with scents of tar and roses. As they age, the wines take on a characteristic brick-orange hue at the rim of the glass and mature to reveal other aromas and flavours such as violets, tar, wild herbs, cherries, raspberries, truffles, tobacco, and prunes. Nebbiolo wines can require years of aging to balance the tannins with other characteristics.
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