Wine is an integral component of Italian culture and consumed in numerous ways to complement numerous meals.
Italy currently produces 74 DOC wines and 334 DOCCG wines under strict guidelines for production, in addition to IGT wines that do not adhere to these rules.
Primitivo (also known in America as Zinfandel) is a warm climate grape variety native to Italy that thrives in its heel region, producing wine which boasts bold fruit flavours and hearty tannins, along with lasting freshness and juiciness. When grown with acidity preservation in mind, this yields powerfully fruity wines which boast rich tannins for long lasting freshness and acidity retention.
Primitivo wines tend to offer real depth of flavour with distinctive red berry, cooked plum and damson notes that make this style of wine perfect for pairing with rustic Italian cuisine such as pasta puttanesca or grilled meats.
Some growers choose a fruitier style that's easier and quicker to drink when young, while others aim to reveal the true character of each variety by fermenting and ageing their wines on their skins for longer. One compelling example of the latter approach is this organic Primitivo from Manduria that won the Tre Bicchieri award, boasting layers of complex aromas of mulberry, chocolate and pipe tobacco with balanced tannic structure and freshness to pair perfectly with rich foods.
Super Tuscan wines are produced as the result of winemakers experimenting with grape varieties, mixing international varieties and pushing Italian laws regarding winemaking to their limits. At first, winemakers became disgruntled due to the bureaucracy involved with changing regulations to allow more experimentation.
This new style of wine expanded on the deep ancient flavors of central Tuscan region. They pair particularly well with food with strong meaty flavors such as thick steaks or spiced beef dishes; as well as vegetarian dishes that have plenty of robust and hearty flavors.
Super Tuscans are full-bodied wines with an intense yet smooth mouthfeel, featuring earthy oak and blueberry notes. Available at different price levels, Super Tuscans can be enjoyed alone or alongside any meal - they should ideally be served between 16-18 degrees Celsius for optimal enjoyment.
Brunello di Montalcino is one of Italy's premier wines, and stands as an emblematic example of what Sangiovese grape can achieve. A rich, full-bodied wine that exhibits flavors such as wild berry, licorice and star anise; its harsh edges are mitigated through extended barrel aging (old Slavonian oak for traditional style or new French oak for contemporary).
Brunello wine is designed for long aging, making it the ideal accompaniment to Tuscan dishes and rich meats, such as wild animal. Additionally, Brunello is often enjoyed alongside structured cheeses.
Brunello wine is produced using the local Tuscan variety of Sangiovese known as Brunello or Sangiovese Grosso and characterized by thicker-skinned berries with bold fruit flavors and high tannin and acidity levels, producing wines with strong tannin and acidity levels and distinctive fruit notes. Unlike many Tuscan wines that are blended, Brunello remains pure and unadulterated.
Rosso di Montalcino, often considered Brunello di Montalcino's less formal sibling, is made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso grape. A full-bodied wine, yet less tannic than its more famous sibling.
Since 1984, Brunello di Montalcino has provided producers with a lighter style of Sangiovese that requires only six months aging on oak, unlike its more mature sibling Brunello di Montalcino.
With its light color and delicate flavor profile, this wine makes an ideal accompaniment for lighter dishes like chicken and risotto. As time passes in its bottle, red and black cherry, cedar wood and spice notes develop over time.
Nebbiolo is one of Italy's noblest grape varieties, difficult to cultivate but capable of yielding spectacular wines like Barolo and Barbaresco from Piedmont's Piedmont region. Additionally, this versatile variety excels at producing wine in Puglia, Salice Salentino and Valtellina regions, along with Nero d'Avola which produces rich yet deep wines in Sicily.