Get Classy with Italian Red Wines
Italian wine is made to match Italian meals: fruity and full-bodied with plenty of tannins, but balanced on the palate as well. They’re not gentle-sipping reds but are made to complement the tomato-based sauces, cheeses and red meats that are so firmly a part of Italy.
Just as Italy has unique cultural regions that are evident in its language and food, it also has diversity across twenty wine regions that take immense pride in their unique traditions of wine making. The three major red grape varieties are joined by a large number of sub-varieties that thrive in Italy’s coastal and mountainous terrain.
Italy’s major red regions:
This is Italy’s best-known red grape. It is used to create a large variety of styles from sweet to semi-sparkling to dessert, but outside Italy it’s perhaps best-known in Chianti, Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano. Delivering a cherry, earthy flavour, it is also part of the newer Super-Tuscans blends, which are made up of Sangiovese and Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Associated with the Piedmont region, this grape is responsible for two of Italy’s cherished wines, the Barolo and Barbaresco. Highly tannic when young and evoking flavours of strawberries, tar, mushrooms and truffles, Nebbiolo wines are said to mature successfully. The name Nebbiolo, incidentally, derives from the Italian word, nebbia or fog, which may be due to the intense fog that’s common in the Langhe region during harvest time.
Unusually for a warm-weather red, the Barbera variety is deeper in colour and has higher acid levels than the Sangiovese. Delivering pronounced fruit aromas including red and blackberries, this deep ruby red is a wonderful summer wine. Often called the little brother of Nebbiolo, Barbera vineyards are found in Langhe, particularly in hilly Asti to the north east.
Taste the classy red wines of Italy, which is one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world (viticulture is said to be linked to Greek colonisation from around 800 BC). When the wines are served with mouth-watering snacks, you can never have too much to drink in Italy!