Italian wines have long been known for their powerful reds such as Brunello di Montalcino and Barolo from Piedmont; however, white wines from Italy have recently seen tremendous success as well.
Frascati serves to quench Rome-area thirst with refreshing citrus flavors, while Tufo-brewed Greco offers zesty citrus notes balanced by Mediterranean herbs. From Sardinia come Grillo or fine-boned Carricante.
Pinot Grigio is one of the world's best-known Italian white wines and is often included on wine lists worldwide. Boasting a higher alcohol percentage than Chardonnay (known for its mouthwatering acidity), Grigio offers light yet refreshing tastes perfect for pairing with fruit starters, salads or chicken dishes.
Pinot Grigio wine comes in various styles depending on where it was produced, with Italian wines boasting fruitier tropical notes perfect for salads. Meanwhile, richer versions from Alsace feature vanilla and pear aromas - offering something different than Italy!
Tuscany is famous for producing some of Italy's finest white wines, such as Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Gambellara (made with Trebbiano grape). Frascati was also enjoyed by Romans and Renaissance Popes during its prime years of production in Rome.
Sangiovese is one of Italy's premier grape varieties, producing wines ranging from light and fruity to full and structured. Primarily found in Tuscany where it produces wines that range from delicate with balanced acidity or more structured and serious depending on region and vineyard conditions.
Umbria and Emilia Romagna both use Sangiovese grapes extensively in wine produced from "Rosso Piceno" and "Montefalco Rosso", respectively. Additionally, this variety can also be found outside Tuscany; specifically USA, Argentina (where it's known as Nielluccio) and Romania are growing vineyards with this varietal.
Sangiovese Grosso is the main component in Brunello di Montalcino DOCG wines and boasts complex red fruits with subtle tobacco and leather notes and minerality notes. Sangiovese ages well when aged with oak for several months to bring out richer plum and wild raspberry notes; its moderate tannins also make it an excellent pairing to various meals, and lighter styles of Sangiovese wines have become increasingly popular to match today's trend toward less overtly full-bodied wines.
Moscato is a light-bodied and sweet wine with notes of Meyer lemon, mandarin orange, rose and honeysuckle that makes for an ideal refreshment on a hot day or brunch-time beverage. Typically below 5-7% ABV, Moscato pairs perfectly with lighter foods.
Italy's white wines have experienced rapid development over the past several years. The finest examples boast varietal purity, impressive aging potential and acidity resistance - hallmarks of quality wines.
Italian white wines provide an economical summer sipper or an elegant pairing for seafood and chicken alike, no matter your budget or palate. At IWSC 2017, a wide variety of Italian white wines was on display, including citrusy Frascati made south of Rome which has long been beloved among Romans and Renaissance Popes! If herbal/zingy notes are what you seek then try Pecorino from Marche or Sardinia Vermentino instead; then Arneis from Piedmont boasting jasmine notes alongside white peaches/pears combined with its umami finish is sublime.
Gavi, made exclusively with Cortese grapes, was Italy's inaugural white wine to achieve international recognition and continues to rank among its premier whites today. Refreshing, crisp and flinty in texture; featuring refreshing acidity from its mineral-rich terroir; its aromas recall flowers, lemons and green apples with occasional notes of almond.
Gavi is currently experiencing a surge in interest, being recognized for its elegant yet distinctive style - it makes an excellent pairing with fish dishes!
Winemakers are making concerted efforts to reframe Gavi in consumers and critics' minds, in spite of the current popularity of Pinot Grigio from different parts of Italy and competition from Piedmont's other white wines, such as Arneis. But leading proprietors such as Piero Rossi Cairo from La Raia in Novi Ligure remain optimistic that their efforts will bear fruit eventually.