Italian wine is revered around the globe. Not only is it delicious on its own, but its versatility allows wine enthusiasts to pair it perfectly with various dishes.
Wine is subjective; what may appeal to one individual may not do so for another. Determining the best italian wine truly comes down to individual preference.
Italian wine boasts over 350 types, each boasting their own distinct taste profile. Italian wine has become increasingly popular in the UK due to its excellent combination of high-quality taste and affordability.
If you want a high-quality Italian wine, look for the letters DOC, DOCG or IGT on its label - these indicate that it was produced according to official disciplinary measures.
Italian wines adhere to an elaborate regulatory scheme which covers everything from how grapes are farmed and aged through to how long the wine stays on the shelves. All these details play an integral part in selecting an appropriate wine as they will have an impact on its final flavor profile.
Italian red wines tend to be full-bodied with smooth tannins. Popular Italian varieties such as Negro D'avola from Sicily and Montepulciano from Abruzzo region boast fruity notes like blackberry, cherry, plum - with supporting rich flavors like chocolate and espresso with subtle cinnamon undertones.
Wines with low alcohol contents in Italy usually fall between 6-12%, and this includes Prosecco, Moscato d'Asti, Chianti's, Italian table wines and some Prosecco varieties. Wines that feature alcohol levels greater than 15% can include Barolo, Brunello Montalcino Barbera wines.
Italian wines are known for being composed of indigenous grape varieties grown within its warm Mediterranean climate, producing some of the world's finest wines. But keep in mind that taste preferences differ between individuals - what one considers to be an exceptional Italian wine may not meet someone else's standards.
If you're confused about which Italian wines best suit your personal preferences, consult an experienced sommelier or ask for recommendations. He/she can suggest wines that will pair well with food while meeting individual taste preferences. Look for wines marked DOC, DOCG, IGT or Vdt (Vino da Tavola). These indicate their approval by an official authority responsible for overseeing quality control in wine production and quality.
Italian wine varies considerably in its tannin and sulfite content depending on its type. Tannins are produced by grape skins, seeds and stems and produce bitter or dry flavors in wine; while sulfites are used as preservatives to prevent spoilage as well as soften highly tannic wines. Most US wines carry warning labels declaring "contains sulfites", although some winemakers may choose not to add sulfites at all into their bottles.
Chianti is an Italian wine known for its low sulfites content. Crafted using Sangiovese grapes and aged in oak barrels, it typically boasts higher alcohol levels than many other wines on the market.
Reading the label of your wine to assess sulfite and tannin levels is essential in understanding its composition. Wines labeled DOC or DOCG require strict production standards to adhere to, while those labelled IGT (Vino Indicazione Geografica Tipica) have less stringent standards and may include blends.
There is an impressive variety of Italian wines to choose from, at various price points. This variety ensures there is something suitable for everyone; and their food-friendly qualities make them the ideal partner to any pasta night, seafood celebration or antipasti picnic!
Pinot Grigio is an Italian white wine known for its light alcohol content and delicate aromatic qualities of grapefruit, lime, melon and apple - often described as refreshing and zippy. These dry white wines pair beautifully with shellfish dishes, salads or light pasta dishes.
Sicily's Nero D'Avola wine is another top pick from Italy; this medium-bodied red features moderate tannins with notes of black cherry, plum, chocolate and spice that pair nicely with red meat, pasta or pizza dishes.