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What is a Dry Italian Wine?

What is a Dry Italian Wine?

Italian wines offer over 20 regions and 350 grape varieties - it can be overwhelming to know where to begin exploring! Consider opting for dry Italian wines with vibrant citrus or sea spray flavors as an introduction.

Wine from Puglia often features light to medium body, produced from various white grape varieties. Salice Salentino can be found there while in Valpolicella there is the possibility of sampling Amarone made with partially dried Corvina grapes from Ripasso Style Amarone wines.


Arneis is an aromatic white wine variety with light to medium body that boasts aromas of honeysuckle, pear, apricot and almond. Often described as the younger sibling of Viognier and often described as having similar characteristics to rich Pinot Blanc styles in larger examples.

Arneis was nearly extinct until several producers revitalized it during the late 1970s. Unoaked and typically fruity on the palate with aromas such as pear, tangerine, white flowers and chamomile; Arneis is an under-appreciated variety worthy of rediscovery!

Roero Arneis from producers like Bruno Giacosa, Alfredo Currado of Vietti and Malvira provides some truly outstanding single vineyard offerings that pair beautifully with delicate proteins, herbaceous salads and grilled fish dishes.


Amarone is a classic full-bodied red wine from Valpolicella in northern Italy, made with grapes such as Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. A traditional process called appassimento (drying grapes) creates this highly raisiny style with great ageing potential.

Appassimento (appassiment of fruit) is typically done by hanging it from bamboo racks, where it will dry and shrivel before intensifying its sugars, flavors and aromas - this process is known as rasinate in French winemaking. Some believe Amarone was accidentally created when an undeliberate barrel of the sweeter Recioto continued fermenting past its intended ending point - this may account for why Amarone does not contain much sweetness!

Amarone is known to boast bold flavors of prune and black-forest gateaux. Although the alcohol content may be high, its firm tannins remain soft for an elegant wine with powerful yet complex qualities. Amarone pairs perfectly with hearty northern-eastern Italian cuisine such as pork and wild boar dishes along with full-flavored cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano or Stilton for maximum enjoyment.


Barbera wine can offer dark fruit flavors (blackberry and plum), juicy light mouthfeel and subtle notes of tomato, strawberry, black pepper or baking spices depending on its origins and production method.

Pizza, pastas, sausages and meats, mushrooms risottos and higher tannin foods such as root vegetables or braised greens pair perfectly with this wine, making an excellent accompaniment. Plus it adds rich chocolate desserts!

New World producers have taken to taking advantage of this heat-tolerant variety's natural acidity to craft refreshing citrus-forward wines that rival those produced from famous Old World varietals like Barolo and Barbaresco. This has opened the door for many more people to experience this wonderful varietal.


Dolce, Italian for "delectable," refers to sweet treats or mild climates. Add this delightful term to your vocabulary by using it during conversations and complimenting others using this wonderful term.

Many Italian wineries produce sweet wines, making a glass of dolce the perfect way to satisfy that sweet craving. Passito is the most commonly produced sweet Italian wine and made by drying grapes using an apassimento process.

To create this dessert wine, grapes are harvested and left to hang to dry on straw mats in either direct sunlight or specially ventilated buildings, where their flavors and sugars can concentrate and create luxurious dessert wines perfect for pairing with fresh fruit, chocolate and jam tarts. Try Donnafugata's Kaid Late Harvest made from Sicily's Camporeale region of Syrah grapes.


Italian wine bottles often include other important information regarding how it was produced, from processes called 'appassimento' to ageing periods necessary for Amarone wines - often with terms that can be confusingly written on them.

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) was born in Crete during its time under Republic of Venice and became adept in Post-Byzantine Art while training there as a teenager. By his twenties he had achieved mastery of this genre; but it wasn't until he moved to Spain and received major commissions that his work truly flourished.

At this point, he began to experiment with Mannerism and Venetian Renaissance techniques, evidenced in paintings such as "The Agony in the Garden".

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What makes a wine a real Cellar Classic? From time to time we find ourselves marvelling at the creativity of the wine grower we always look to enrich our taste buds with something rather remarkable and share this with you.