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What to Drink in Some of the Most Renowned Italian Wine Regions

Among its many cultural treasures and artistic and architectural masterpieces, superlative wines are synonymous with Italy. Italy is considered one of the world’s “holy grails” of culinary indulgence. Foodies from across the globe flock to its cities and countryside for the rich recipes that have been passed down for centuries. Pasta of every shape and size, fine olive oil, fresh seafood, cheeses and sauces to comfort any palate – and none of it would be complete without a perfectly paired Italian wine. For more than 4,000 years, Italy’s rolling hillsides and coastal vineyards have produced some of the best wines in the world, perfecting varietals that can scarcely be duplicated elsewhere. Producing more wine than any other country, Italy is the proverbial gold standard for the craft, maintaining exceptional requirements for its regional fruit.

Aboard Crystal voyages, Italy’s cuisine and wines are showcased and celebrated. And if you happen to be sailing to destinations like Venice, Civitavecchia (for Rome), Livorno (for Tuscany and Florence), Naples, Portofino, Positano, Sorrento and so many other dreamy Italian locales, the experience becomes all the more delicious. This Thirsty Thursday, we’re taking our palates on a virtual wine tasting tour of Italy’s famed wine regions. Explore what to drink and where to drink it as we raise a glass to some of our favorite destinations.

Wine Lovers
Guests can explore the winelands of the Tuscan countryside via Livorno on numerous Crystal Cruises

Chianti in Tuscany. We’re hard pressed to think of any image quite as dreamy as sipping a glass of what may be Italy’s most famous vintage under the Tuscan sun. This, the oldest of Italy’s wine producing regions – dating back to the 8th century B.C. – is just over an hour from the port of Livorno and it’s the heart of Chianti wines. It’s also where you’ll find Sangiovese – full-bodied, fruit-forward and sometimes earthy, dry reds that bring out the flavors of Bolognese beautifully. 

Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont. The unique climate found here, in the Po River Valley at the foot of the Alps, also near the Mediterranean, nurtures the Nebbiolo grapes to perfection. This results in velvety and licorice-esque Barolo (known as the “king of wines”), as well as light-bodied Barbaresco that gets better with age. The third “B” found in Piedmont is Barbera, an easy, approachable red with rich fruitiness that is delicious from day one.

Trebbiano, Malvasia and Sauvignon Blanc in Lazio. The Latium wine region outside Rome is famed for its white grape varietals, producing dry and crisp wines that complement the local cuisine rich in seafood, pork and produce. (Cue images of summer afternoons around the Trevi Fountain followed by a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc in Piazza Navona). Light notes and sharp acidity give even young vintages here a refreshing profile.

Sparkling Lambrusco in Emilia-Romagna. A region renowned for some of Italy’s richest cuisines – dishes that don’t skimp on the indulgences, like cheesy pasta, high-fat meat specialties and creamy sauces – also produces their perfect match. Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine with beautifully biting acidity and berry notes. The region itself is also noteworthy, a picturesque stretch of vine-covered land that reaches from Italy’s east coast to the west coast.

Which Italian wine pairs with your palate? Crystal sommeliers will happily guide you through some of their favorite options on board, as you explore the possibilities ashore.

Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are.

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