My Guide to the Best Italian Wines
The complete guide to the best Italian wines… and my personal favorites!
A complete guide to the best Italian wines… now that is no easy task: how do you condense so much greatness into so little space? But if I think of the wine glasses I’ve enjoyed during my stays in this beautiful country, I feel a growing desire to discover all the secrets of Italian wine-making. As you probably know, Italy is home to many of the world’s finest vintages, and there’s nothing like a good bottle of Italian wine to make a dinner or a banquet that much more memorable. So while a single post may not be enough for a complete guide to the best Italian wines, here is my very own Top Five.
When I feel like popping a special bottle – the kind that lets me travel back to beautiful Italy, if only for a few sips – I always ask for advice from a good friend of mine. Of course, she’s Italian, and she’s the one who first instilled in me the passion for fine wines. When I recently asked her what wine to pair with a nice beef-based dish, she said you can never go wrong with a bottle of Barolo. This delectable, light-colored red is born in the Langhe, a lovely mountainous region in northwestern Italy. Perfect with meals, it is also a great “meditation wine,” perhaps together with a nice piece of dark chocolate.
The same could be said of Amarone, another universally-acclaimed red which instead comes from the northeast of the country: I’m sure some of you have already been lucky enough to try it… Its distinctive traits are an intense color, an unmistakable raisin aroma, and a warm, velvety, full-bodied taste. I discovered it by chance thanks to a friend who’s been producing it for years, with passion and dedication. I first got to sample it when he invited me to his cellars, a fascinating lair of stone and wood, and to his vineyards, where this renowned variety of wine is born. All it took was one glass, and I understood why this strong, fruity red wine is so famous around the world!
The complete guide to the best Italian wines, from Brunello di Montalcino to Franciacorta
Born in the enchanting hills of Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino is a standout red with hints of berries, aromatic wood, leather and vanilla. I can promise you one thing: if you have the chance to try this dense, robust masterpiece, it will be love at first sip! Like many of the great ones, it’s a wine that only gets better with time, and this one is often aged for 10, 20, 30 years… or more!
The complete guide to the best Italian wines can’t end without mentioning at least a couple of the country’s best bubblies! On more than one occasion, during the many informal aperitivi that enliven Italian life, I’ve had the chance to sample some truly delectable fizzy wines. But there are two which really stand out, and seem to be head and shoulders above the competition. The first is Franciacorta, a fresh and light spumante wine from the Lombardia region which is the go-to choice whenever it’s time to raise your glasses in celebration.
And finally, how could I not mention the wonderful Valdobbiadene? This extra-dry prosecco produced in northern Italy, and specifically near the town of Treviso, is ideal both before and after a meal, as an aperitif or a dessert wine. If you don’t believe me, try it… but please, do so responsibly! 😉 Salute!