Italian Wine Knowledge Base

Italian Wine Knowledge Base

With over 300 grape varieties, and a huge number of wineries and brands to choose from, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by Italian wine. We want to help you discover wines that match your personal preference, so we’ve developed this knowledge base. Our essential guides will help you to navigate the different grapes, wine styles and regions of Italy while our articles on food pairings will help you to plan the perfect dinner.

Italian Wine Map

As well as renowned international varieties like Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Italy takes a lot of pride in its indigenous varieties like Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio and Montepulciano. There’s a lot of ground to cover – as well as international celebrities like Chianti Classico and Primitivo, this article also highlights hidden gems like fresh and fruity Roero Arneis or rich Cannonau di Sardegna.

Our Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine features maps of key Italian wine provinces to help you visualise where these delicious wines come from. We’ve also included typical tasting notes so you have some idea of what your wine might taste like, before you buy.

Black Rooster symbol on three bottles of Chianti Classico DOCG wines

One of Italy’s best-known red wines, Chianti is also one of its most misunderstood. The main confusion comes from the difference between basic Chianti and the more prestigious Chianti Classico.

Rosso is the standard version of Chianti Classico DOCG. It’s known for its concentrated flavours of red fruits. Riserva is made only in exceptionally good years, and the winemaker will typically use grapes from the best parts of the vineyard. Gran Selezione is the top class of Chianti Classico DOCG wines, officially approved for vintages starting from 2010. Unsurprisingly, it has the toughest rules and regulations.

Read our Essential Guide to learn more interesting facts about these iconic Italian red wines.

Barolo - Castle of Grinzane Cavour

Barolo wine is made from 100% Nebbiolo grape grown in a small area of North-West Italy – the Barolo DOCG in Piemonte. The vineyards of Barolo are one of the few wine-growing regions protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The full name for Barolo wine is “Barolo DOCG”, and DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. Only a small number of vineyards can produce this wine, and the maximum harvest per hectare is capped to 8,000kg of grapes. This is just under 7,000 full-sized bottles per hectare.

Learn more about this blockbusting red in our full guide to fabulous Barolo wine.

Infographic of the four-step method for finding the best Italian red wine

Italy has so hundreds of outstanding red wines to offer. It’s easy to get lost! How do you choose a truly excellent red wine for yourself (or demanding dinner guests)? To make it easier, I’ve developed a way to always choose high-quality wine that perfectly matches my own personal taste.

I’ve written it out in this article: Italian red wine: a complete guide to finding your favourite. I hope that using it will help you to discover some seriously delicious wines.

Red wine and pasta

If you’re looking for some dinnertime inspiration, we’ve asked our favourite food bloggers what they like to eat with Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera.

Barolo and Barbaresco are known as the King and Queen of Italian wine. It’s no wonder nearly one in five Italian households choose Barolo to drink with their special meals for Easter or Christmas. Barbera is Italy’s third most popular grape. It’s high in acid and low on tannin, so has a light and refreshing flavour that cuts through succulent meat dishes.

Check out our suggested food pairings and recipes.

Three bottles of Roero Arneis white wine, in front of hills of Langhe, Piemonte, Italy

Deliciously sharp and refreshing, the mouth-watering Arneis white wine from the Piedmontese region of Roero was made for warm evenings on the patio. While it’s little known outside of Italy, Roero is in one of Italy’s best grape-growing areas. In fact it’s just on the other side of the Tanaro River from Langhe, where the iconic Barolo and Barbaresco are made.

We’ve spoken to our favourite food bloggers and asked them to share the recipes they think go best with a cool glass of Roero Arneis white wine. Check out their mouth-watering suggestions here.

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