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The Basics of Italian Red Wine

The Basics of Italian Red Wine

Italian red wine offers everything from everyday drinking to collectible bottles - learn its fundamentals to navigate this varied and flavorful country's endless aisles of wines!

Sangiovese wine pairs well with classic Tuscan and Florentine cuisine, from pizza to cured ham. Additionally, its high acidity and moderate tannins are perfect for cooking purposes.


Chianti wine has long been associated with its symbolic emblem - the black rooster. Historically, this inexpensive red was composed of various grape varieties blended together for an affordable red blend that could be enjoyed with food. Nowadays, however, Chianti wine can also be made using international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in its production process.

Chianti, one of Tuscany's signature wines, is famous for its dry red acidity and transparent ruby hues, featuring notes of wild berries, violets, iris and spice with earthiness and complexity over time. Ideal pairings include classic Tuscan and Floretine dishes like grilled steak or lamb as well as tomato salads or cured ham.


Nebbiolo-based wines such as Barolo are typically described as powerful and intense with firm tannins that must be softened over time to reveal fruit flavors and their complexity.

Barbaresco vineyards lie northeast of Alba and feature steep, rugged hills topped by ancient villages that have allowed producers to craft more elegant versions of this traditional Italian style of wine production.

Barbaresco enjoyed a slow but steady resurgence following the phylloxera epidemic and two world wars, but began experiencing rapid success again during the 1950s. Critical and commercial acclaim quickly increased before receiving DOCG status in 1980. Pair it with wild boar sauce pappardelle or porcini sauce tagliatelle; hearty Piemontese stews or roast meat dishes for maximum enjoyment!


Barolo wines feature powerful tannins that unleash an explosion of aromas and flavors such as violets, tar and rose petals; wild licorice; black pepper; cinnamon; rich dark chocolate, old leather and tobacco - creating wines which are both elegant and complex in flavor and aroma.

Barolo vineyards are nestled among medieval castles and charming hillside villages, while their wines reflect their regional terroir. Depending on its locale and exposure, Barolo can range from full-bodied to delicate in structure.

Advances in viticulture and winemaking technology have bridged the divide between traditionalist and modernist Barolo producers, with many now employing both styles simultaneously. Modern technology enables earlier harvests and temperature-controlled fermentation processes while traditionalists continue their pursuit of longer maceration times in smaller oak barrels.


Merlot may often take second place when it comes to indigenous grape varieties such as Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello; perhaps due to being often combined in Bordeaux-style wines alongside Cabernet Sauvignon where its soft and gentle qualities provide the ideal complement.

Cool climate Merlots typically display notes of fresh red plum and cherry, while warmer examples exhibit fruitcake, baked blackberry and mocha aromas, which can be enhanced through oak aging. Outstanding examples may also feature notes of licorice tobacco cedar.

Merlot pairs perfectly with delicate and light fare, such as salads, grilled chicken and pizzas. It pairs particularly well with tomato-based sauces and gratin dishes; its heavier, mature styles pair nicely with bolder entrees like lamb, pork, beef or legume dishes.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned wine grape variety that thrives in cooler climates. With lower alcohol and tannin levels than Cabernet Sauvignon, it pairs well with many dishes. Pinot Noir may exhibit flavors such as red berries, flowers, tea leaves or herbs - making this wine an excellent addition to any menu!

Pinot Noir wines range from crisp and fruity to complex and oak-aged, and its alcohol content varies depending on its origins and production methods; typically between 12.5%-15% abv.

With dry red wines adding bold flavor and savory texture to food, Vinovest can help you find a bottle that suits both your palate and budget!

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