Travel & Living

A Guide to Italian Wines

From Barolo to Amarone, Chianti to Franciacorta, Italian wines are as regionally varied as they are delicious.
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While Barolo, Amarone, and Chianti are among the best-known wines in the world, the exquisite Vermentino and Falanghina whites should be no different. To begin this guide, we compiled the most interesting wines from the North and subdivided them according to their region of origin.

Piedmont - Barolo

These grapes come from Nebbiolo vineyards located in the breathtaking hills of Langhe and the Serralunga d’Alba. The soil in which the vine thrives is composed of clay and limestone marl—the elements that give the wine a compact color and longevity. Barolo, in fact, is left in wooden barrels to age for three to five years. This is done to ensure its tannin-richness and the intense fruity and floral notes that we love.

 

Serving suggestions: Its persistent flavor makes this wine ideal for red meat, braised recipes, aged cheeses, and truffles.

Valle d'Aosta - Blanc Morgex and La Salle

The Prié Blanc is a white Valdostan grape that is picked 1000 meters above seal-level—one of the highest vineyards in Europe. The most famous of these are concentrated around Dora Baltea, and are characterized by their steep slopes and terraces. The Prié Blanc grape is small in shape and has a thin skin. It is used to produce Blanc Morgex and La Salle: straw yellow wines with hints of mountain herbs and a dry, delicate flavor.

 

Serving suggestions: This wine is suitable for an aperitif or paired with fish and other white meats. It can also be enjoyed with regional cheeses.

Friuli Venezia Giulia - Ribolla Gialla

The vineyards of Ribolla Gialla are located between the areas of Gorizia, Udine and the Slovenian border. Typical of Friulian whites, these grapes are harvested from the vines that have the fewest bunches—that way the sugar intensity of each grape is ensured. The straw yellow color is an indication of the intense bouquet on the nose and the fresh taste on the palate. These characteristics are, of course, more prominent the longer that the Ribolla is aged.

 

Serving suggestions: This wine is ideal with seafood, as well with as delicate or fried fish. We also particularly recommend the combination of white meats, grilled vegetables and asparagus with the wine.

Trentino-Alto Adige - Trentodoc

One of the most famous Italian sparkling wines is produced in Trentino: the Trentodoc. Created from the combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco and Meunier grapes, the juice is bottled with yeasts and sugars for at least 15 months to allow for fermentation. Millesimato requires two years of bottling, while a Reserve takes between three to ten years.

 

Serving Suggestions: Trentodoc Brut has complex fruity aromas. With a rich but balanced flavor, it is ideal to be eaten with fish and other white meats in combination with light condiments.

Veneto - Amarone

Amarone, one of the most popular Italian wines abroad, is produced in the Valpolicella area and is made from native grape varieties like Corvinone and Rondinella. A local myth is that the first Amarone was the result of a winemaker’s mistake after he mistakenly left it to ferment for too long. Thanks to this ‘mistake,’ the wine was given an intense flavor with olfactory notes of ripe fruit—not to mention a high alcohol content.

 

Serving Suggestions: As well as being the main ingredient in the Risotto Amarone dish, the wine can be enjoyed with game, braised meat, and aged cheese.

Lombardy - Franciacorta

Another noteworthy sparkling wine is Franciacorta, produced in the province of Brescia. Located on the moraine soils near Lago Iseo, Chardonnay and Pinot Nero grapes are the basis for this bottle fermentation. It’s this fermentation, and the consequent production of carbon dioxide, that makes the bubbles. Notes of citrus and dried fruit can be perceived on the nose, while the palate is both fresh and savory.

 

Serving Suggestions: the Franciacorta Metodo Classico can be combined with raw fish and cold cuts, as is also ideal for an aperitif.

Tuscany - Chianti

Between Bolgheri and Montalcino you’ll find the wines that have made Tuscany one of the epicenters of oenology. The Chianti is a symbol for the reds of this region and is created by combining Sangiovese with either Caniolo, Colorino, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Its deep ruby red color is obtained thanks to an aging period of eleven months minimum, while the Reserve rests for two years in small barrels whose aroma are transmitted to the wine.

 

Serving Suggestions: Since its tannicity is low, this wine is perfect for grilled red meat and game.

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