Italian red wines can be difficult to navigate. There are hundreds of grape varieties and thousands of wine styles.
Barolo is considered the king of Italian red wines, produced with Nebbiolo grapes; Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany is widely renowned for its finesse; however, Sicily also offers excellent wines made with international grapes like Primitivo.
Barolo is on e of Italy's iconic wines, a full-bodied, high-tannin red made from the Nebbiolo grape. Here, this difficult grape finds its purest expression, producing wines with aromas such as rose and tar - intended to age beautifully for decades! This wine should only get better with age!
Barolo wines must adhere to stringent Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) regulations to preserve their unique terroir-specific qualities, with only vineyards historically recognized for producing outstanding wines permitted to feature on a Barolo label.
Look for producers like Ettore Germano, specializing in Serralunga and Monforte; or Bruno Giacosa who makes exceptional single vineyard Barolos from Cannubi and Ravera vineyards. Though often criticised by traditionalists for embracing modern techniques, these winemakers make some of the finest and longest-lived Barolo available today.
Before drinking a fine Barbaresco, allow time for its high tannic structure to soften and soften over time. Wines from Piedmont's Barbaresco appellation are among Italy's most age-worthy and complex wines.
Bright red-ruby hue, fresh and fragrant bouquet featuring notes of rose petals, menthol, violet and clove. Energetic yet refined mouth feel; lively with fresh red fruit purity lifted by inner mouth perfume, fine and energetic tannins than others I sampled from this vintage.
If you love Cabernet Sauvignon, Italy offers plenty of superb choices; these range from Super Tuscans and Puglian Primitivo (Zinfandel in the US). For something deeper and more complex try Sassicaia or Tanca Farra from Sardinia; both offer hearty wines made from blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc while providing richer textures ideal for pairing with roast meats, poultry and charcuterie dishes.
Brunello di Montalcino (Brunello from Montalcino) is one of the highest regarded Italian wines. Produced exclusively with Sangiovese grapes and possessing Italy's highest DOCG designation, this wine boasts moderate tannins and rich fruit flavors; improving with age while pairing well with heavy meat dishes or pasta dishes.
Montalcino vineyards are situated within an historic and picturesque agricultural landscape designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Dominated by Monte Amiata, this hilly region is famed for producing world-renowned wines as well as quality produce such as olives.
Some wine producers favor traditional techniques of winemaking while others opt for more modern techniques. Traditional techniques include long aging in large Slavonian oak casks to preserve fruitiness of their wines while smaller 225-liter French oak barriques may add vanilla notes into their final product.
Chianti (pronounced 'kee-on-tee'), is an Italian red wine blend from Tuscany made primarily with sangiovese grapes. While fiasco bottles with blanced straw were once commonplace for this style of Chianti, rising costs and an increase in mainstream appeal has resulted in most producers opting for standard bottles without straw wrapping instead.
This classic Chianti features fresh berry flavors with spicy notes that dance across its luxurious tannins - perfect for pairing with pizza, pasta and meats & cheeses!
Lombardy is an expansive region, famous for the quality of its wines. One such red blend offers ample fruit flavour and deep scarlet hue, making it a fantastic accompaniment for cheese-and-wine nights or other savory meals.