Italian wines are living a real growth in popularity, thanks to a large variety of native grapes in both red and white variety and the increased quality and availability of its wines.
In this article we have selected two local wine shops one in the north east of Italy and one from the center of Italy (Florence) that ship internationally the best wines from Italy, you find the links to the bottles we have selected for you directly in this article.
Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, both Italian red wines and white wines have reached worldwide appreciation. Also the sparkling wines like Prosecco and Metodo Classico loved by connoisseurs are now available throughout the world and appreciated by wine enthusiasts and many others.
In this article we take a look at the best Italian wines without focusing on the most expensive ones, but looking at what makes a wine enjoyable.
The red wines from the grape Sangiovese: brunello di montalcino and chianti
Regions: Emilia Romagna & Tuscany
1) Sangiovese: best quality for money.
The sangiovese grape is used to make two very famous Italian wines: Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Both wines are from Tuscany and they differ in price as the Brunello di Montalcino is generally more expensive. Also the sangiovese wines from Emilia Romagna are generally worth a try.
The “Brunello di Montalcino” is obtained from Sangiovese grapes, a vine traditionally called, in Montalcino, “Brunello”.
The placing on the market takes place on January 1st of the fifth year after the harvest. During this period, the wine must spend at least two years in wooden barrels and at least four months of refinement in the bottle. The storage period in the bottle increases up to six months for the reserve type, which enters the market a year later.
The Chianti wine is made by 80% minimum of Sangiovese and up to 20% of other grapes, the Brunello di Montalcino is made with 100% of Sangiovese grape and its name can only be applied to the wine produced in the township of the Montalcino in Tuscany.
Beside these two famous wines, you can enjoy the Sangiovese wine by its own name: Sangiovese. You’ll find it typically in Emilia Romagna and can be found at reasonable prices.
The Sangiovese is very suitable to ageing and therefore it gives his best when it’s around 4 years old.
Shop chianti riserva
Chianti riserva is the chianti that has aged for at least 3 years. The ageing give the wine a more round feeling, it’s smooth at the palate as the tannins are more elegant. Let it rest for 30 minutes after opening, or let it breath in the wine glass for 5 minutes before serving. If you want to drink it immediately I recommend swirling the wine in the wine glass for a minute so that it gets oxigen
2) Nebbiolo: full body red wine from Piedmont
Nebbiolo is a red wine grape from Piedmont that is used to produce some of the most famous Italian wines in the world: Barbaresco and Barolo. Barbaresco and Barolo cru are certified Italian red wines that can be made only in specific areas of Piedmont.
Barbaresco is the King of the Italian wines. By law, it is made only in three towns: Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso, circa 70 km south-est of Turin, with 100% of Nebbiolo grape. It’s a full body, balanced. From the nebbiolo grape are produced also the Barolo, probably the most
3) Sparkling white wines: prosecco & brut
Prosecco is a dry sparkling wine and it’s one of the best sellers among Italian wines. Italians often drink Prosecco as an aperitif, which means before the meal, pair it with some olives and salted peanuts.
The prosecco is a sparkling dry wine typically produced in the north east of Italy. The most famous ones are the Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene Prosecco, both located 80 kilometre north of Venice.
You may also know Prosecco from the famous Italian cocktail the Spritz, that is made with a mix of Prosecco and Campari or Aperol. Another famous drink made with Prosecco is the Bellini: a mix of sparkling white wine and peach juice.
3) Super Tuscan red wines
The super tuscan red wines are made with grapes that are not originally from Italy such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc e Cabernet sauvignon. These are french grapes that were imported to Italy and planted and we discovered that they could grow successfully also in Tuscany,
The super tuscan wines are produced in the area of Bolgheri. The most famous and most expensive super tuscan wines are the Sassicaia and Ornellaia, but you can get a very nice Super tuscan for less than a 100 Euros if you buy the Le cupole rosso by Cantine Trinoro.
I personally like the Le Cupole rosso and I recommend decanting it for at least 2 hours if the wine a lot.
Barbaresco, Piedmont, North of Italy
By law, it is made only in three towns: Barbaresco, near Treviso, about 70 km south-est of Turin, with 100% of Nebbiolo grape. It’s a full body, balanced. From the nebbiolo grape are produced also the Barolo, probably the most
Grape of making: Nebbiolo
Age: suited for aging 20 years and older
Service temperature: 16-18 c. open the bottoble a few hours before serving.
Stocking: bottle in horizontal position
Region of making: Piedmont in a small area between the cities of Barbaresco, Neive and Treviso
Taste: Dry, Warm, Full, Persistent
Smell: intense, complex, fruity, spicy, with memories of jam, vanilla and tobacco.
Food liaisons: This wine is suited for dinners based on red meat, mainly braised or wild boar, stag and deer. It also accompanies aged cheeses and spicy cheese.
4) Liqueur wines: Vin santo & Passiti
A traditional Tuscan dessert wine, Vin Santo though might better be described as the wine of hospitality, because it was once customary to offer it to guests in humble and aristocratic homes alike.
Available on the market in only very limited quantities, it is a magniﬁ cent passito – dried grape wine – with an intriguing variety of styles
Passito wine from Tuscany
In Tuscany, Italy, the vin santo is paired with biscotti cantucci at the end of the meals. In every restaurant in Tuscany you will find it in the menu under dessert.
Grape Many different types
Age: few years
Service temperature: 10-12 C.
Stocking: bottle in vertical
Region of making: Tuscany, Campania, etc
Taste: Sweet wine (goes well with cantuccini biscuits
Smell: Full and sweet as the taste.
Food liaisons: Biscuits and other desserts.
Cost Around 10 Euros for 50 cl
Where to buy: online at …
Chianti classico and Chianti riserva
The Chianti wine is made only in the geographic area historically known as Chianti, this area is bounded by the outskirts of Florence to the north, the Monti del Chianti to the east, Siena to the south and the Pesa and Elsa river valleys to the west. Over the centuries this wine acquired considerable fame for its particular quality, linked above all to the nature of the terrain in the hills between Florence and Siena, consisting of well-drained and well sun exposed hills
The wine denominated as Chianti DOCG comes from a zone which, like a ring, encircles geographical Chianti: the commercial success of this wine made it undoubtedly Italy’s most famous product.
Grape Sangiovese min 80%. Restrictive criteria concerning the maximum permitted grape production per hectare (75 quintals) and the average yield per vine (no more than 2 kg) apply.
Age: 3 years the classico, 5 the riserva
Service temperature: 12-14 C.
Region Tuscany – only in the Chianti area
Taste: Dry, Balanced, rear tast of almond and mixed cherries
Food matches: Typical Tuscan plates like Fiorentina stake, Ribollita,Pappa al Pomodoro
; older: poultry and other white meats, grilled red meats. The riserva: rich, tasty meat dishes, game, braised and roast meats, mature cheeses and local dishes such as trippa alla ﬁorentina and peposo dell’Impruneta. Cost From 7 Euros up
Where to buy: online at …
5) Italian finest white wines: Fiano di Avellino, Pigato, Falanghina
In the hot Italian summers sometimes it’s much more enjoyable to drink a cool white wine than a red. White wines can be chilled and can be drank at a temperature of 10° which is really really nice when you are having lunch outdoor in your dehors.
With this in mind, Italian wines won’t let you down. You can choose from a variety of grapes and travel all the Italian regions, from the mountains of Alto Adige – South Tirol to the sunny valley of Sicily.
Here is a selection of Italian white wine for 10 regions
|South Tirol – Alto adige||Pinot Bianco|
|Liguria||Pigato riviera di ponente|
|Sardegna||Vermentino di Gallura|
|Marche||Verdicchio dei castelli di iesi|
|Campania||Fiano di Avellino|
|Campania||Greco di Tufo|
Fiano di Avellino is a DOCG within the Campania region of Italy. It is named after the white Fiano grape, a variety which dates back more than 2000 years.
Grape Fiano (85% minimum) Greco and Coda di Volpe (15% max).
Type: White still
Age: 3-5 years
Service temperature: 10 C.
Stocking: vertical or orizontal, drink before a year after purchase
Region Campania – South of Italy
Taste: Dry and fresh, with a slighly acid tone, with feelings of nuts, honey and pear
Smell: thin, with memories of moscato, ripe fruit and chesnut
Food matches: Seafood, Lobsters, prawns, langustines.
Cost From 7 Euros to 18 Euros
Where to buy: online at http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-fiano+di+avellino
Brunello di Montalcino
Brunello di Montalcino is a DOCG red wine produced in the area of Montalcino town located south of Florence in Tuscany. It is one of Italy’s most exported and finest wines. It can age for over 20 years.
Grape Brunello (Sangiovese grosso).
Type: Red still
Age: 20 years and over
Service temperature: 16 to 18 C. Open a few hours before drinking
Region Tuscany – Centre of Italy
Taste: Austere, smooth, dry, silky
Smell: rich and wide, vinosity wrap with clear hints of vanilla and violet
Food matches: It goes well with red meats (stews and braised), dishes of game (boars, deer, roe deer) and spicy cheeses
Cost From 20 Euros for a 2006 bottle to 60 Euros for a 2004 bottle and on
Where to buy: online at http://www.bevendovino.com/risultati.aspx?keywords=brunello&pls_go=Vai
Pigato ligure – Liguria
The pigato – Liguria is a DOC white wine produced in the area of Albenga, west coast of liguria, it’s a niche wine, in the sense that is produced in small quantities and therefore is not easy to find It a wine rich of character and personality.
Grape Pigato 95% minimum
Type: White still
Alcohol: 11% minimum
Age: 1-2 years
Service temperature: 8 to 10 C.
Region Liguria – North of Italy
Smell: rich and wrapping, notes of musk, almond, peach and cedar
Taste: Intense with full body, long in the return of the aromas
Food matches: It goes well with important fish dishes, seafood in general and with tasty vegeterian starters like the filled vegetables from Liguria.
Cost From 10 to 15 Euros
Prosecco DOC – Veneto
Prosecco di Valdobbiadene is an Italian DOC sparkling wine. It is produced in the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy, and traditionally mainly in the areas near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. It’s great to accompany starters and it can be mixed with fizzy water and aperol to make the famous spritz cocktail. Prosecco must be served in a thin flute glass.
Grape Prosecco 90% minimum.
Type: White sparkling
Alcohol: 10,5% – 11%
Age: To be drunk within a year
Service temperature: around 8 C.
Region Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia
Taste: Soft with a bitter note at the end
Smell: Winy with hints of flowers and white pulp fruit
Food matches: Ideal to drink with starters. It goes well with vegetarian dishes, white meats and seafood based dishes.
Cost From 6 to 15 Euros
Where to buy: online and at any supermarkets in Italy
Sauvignon collio – Friuli Venezia Giulia
Sauvignon collio is a DOC Produced exclusively from Sauvignon, a French vine, which has found ideal soil and climate conditions in Friuli in the north-east of Italy. The name collio comes from the region Collio which extends from the Judrio river in the west where it borders the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC to the Slovenian border on the east.
Grape Sauvignon 100%.
Type: White still
Alcohol: 11,5% – 12%
Age: up to 4-5 years
Service temperature: 10 to 14 C.
Region Fiuli Venezia Giulia – north east of Italy
Taste: Elegant and refined, it confirms the aromas, the wine has good acidity, well balanced with the body and smoothness. The final gives fresh aromatic sensations
Smell: hints of green or yellow pepper, tomato leaf, sage in a silky and elegant manner.
Food matches: It goes well with asparagus, soups, seafood and lobster
Cost Around 20 Euros for a 2009 bottle
Where to buy: online at http://www.guida-vino.com/it/enoteca-online/vendita-vino-online/details/391/95/vini/vini-bianchi-del-friuli-venezia-giulia/collio-doc/collio-doc-sauvignon—mario-schiopetto.html
Vermentino di Gallura – Sardinia
Vermentino di Gallura is a DOCG still white wine produced in the area of Gallura located in the province of Olbia-Tempio and Sassari in the north of Sardinia.
Grape Vermentino 95% minimum.
Type: White still
Alcohol: 12% – 13%
Age: Max 3 years
Service temperature: 10 C.
Stocking: orizontal or vertical
Smell: thin and delicate with hints of mediterranean vegetation
Taste: Dry, soft, on a slightly bitter base
Food matches: Ideal to serve with seafood, lobsters pasta dishes, risotto
Cost From 10 Euros