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Just as Italy’s gastronomic roots run far and wide across the country, Italian wines have an endless diversity of varieties, appellations and styles. That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of our favourite classic wines and alternative wines to sample your way through Italy’s diverse oenological landscape.
Prosecco has increasingly become the go-to celebration wine for many. Coming from Italy’s highest production region, the Veneto, prosecco is now produced in exceptionally large quantities.
Italian sparkling wines are often overlooked as simple Prosecco or sweet fizzy Moscato d’Asti, but some exceptional traditional method wines exist. A suitable replacement for Champagne, Franciacorta is located just two hours from Milan by train and is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) and Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc). Harmoniously balanced with fresh, mineral and brioche aromas, Franciacorta is more expensive than Prosecco, but just one sip will.
Here are two great options to try:
Borgo Molino Valdobbiadene Prosecco for your everyday bubbles.
Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige for celebration.
Some of the best red wines for pairing with food come from Italy. Chianti Classico, coming from the pastoral plains of Tuscany, is an excellent example of this. As Italy’s most planted grape, Sangiovese, the main variety in the Chianti blend, is no stranger to most. With dried flowers, wild herbs and tart red fruit, Chianti and its many alternatives like Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are solid starting points to understand Italian wines.
Going further south to Puglia, where agriculture is king and the summer heat is intense, the red wines take on a darker colour, richer fruit notes and a rustic quality that has become a favourite of wine drinkers everywhere. Primitivo, one of the star grapes here, finds its peak when coming from the Primitivo di Manduria Riserva DOCG. Despite the high quality, it is still relatively affordable
Two Reds for your Next Dinner:
Beyond Pinot Grigio, Italy has oceans of white wine. As a result of overproduction, considerable quantities of white wines are simple and lack any real character. Not to fear, however, as even notoriously overproduced regions like Soave are now showing an improved approach to winemaking by quality winemakers. Soave, which sits across Lake Garda, is a classic Italian white from the Garganega and Trebbiano grapes. When sourced from the hillside vineyards of the Classico or Colli Scaglieri sub-regions, this wine has complex notes of peach, almond and minerals.
From a classic to a relative newcomer on the international scene, we go quite literally across the entire country to the island of Sicily on the slopes of Mount Etna. Volcanic soils, sea breezes and high elevation come together to create some of Italy’s trendiest wines. Minerality, salinity, aromatic stone fruits and citrus are just some of the flavours found in this unique wine.
Two Italian Whites to transport you to an Italian terrace: