The origins of wine are extremely ancient. The vines were already cultivated more than two thousand years before Christ, in the Mediterranean. Viticulture was introduced into Sicily and southern Italy by the Mycenaean Greeks. The Romans and the ancient peoples of that area were fond of wine. The wine is perfect both at lunch and dinner. Each dish must be paired with its wine. The fish is usually paired with white wines, firm, fresh and summery. The pasta and meat are expecially paired with red wines. The desserts are paired with sweet white wines or sparkling wines. Every Italian region, from North to South, produces its wines, which are paired, in general, with its traditional dishes. The number of wines produced in Italy is very high. In this page I will list the main ones:
Amarone is made by Corvina grapes. Amarone is produced in Veneto Region, picking the grapes that are outside of the clusters and directly exposed to the sun. The result is a full-bodied wine. Grapes are air-dried for about four months, making them shrivel and so making their flavors stronger. Amarones are aged for about five years, or more, before bottling; sometimes in oak barrels. Amarone (the name means big, better one) is a very complicated product. It has a powerful, concentrated, almost Port-like texture, with hints of mocha. Amarone is ideal with roasted beef or pork and also with cheeses.
Barbaresco is produced from Nebbiolo grapes; it is similar to Barolo, but tends to be softer and slightly more graceful. Barbaresco rests from two years up to twenty years -to meet its full potential. In general, Barbaresco is drinkable a little sooner than Barolo. It also pairs well with red meat and the rich food of Piedmont.
Brunello of Montalcino is a great wine, coming from the Chianti Area. The place is warm and sunny, Brunello di Montalcino is made of Sangiovese grapes. This precious, esteemed red wine is one of the most expensive of all. It is aged longer than any other wine – a minimum of four years. Brunello is mild, with overtones of blackberry, cherry, chocolate and vanilla.
Sassicaia is one of the finest and expensive Italian wines. It is produced in Tuscany, through a long aging, with Cabernet Sauvignon’s grapes and Cabernet Franc’s grapes. Its Flavor is dry, robust and harmonious. Perfect with intensely flavored foods and the game.
Ornellaia is an important Tuscan Wine, produced in the Ornellaia Estate, close to tuscan sea. It’s very expensive and produced with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot grapes. Very good with aged cheeses and important meats. It tastes dry and structured. Its color is a dark red.
Chianti is a tuscan wine, very famous all over the world produced, with Sangiovese grapes, throughout the Region. It tastes soft and velvety, a bit tannic. Its color is ruby red tending to dark red with aging. It can be both cheap and expensive, depending on the producer. Usually it is affordable. Very good with meats, cheeses and also pasta.
Lambrusco is an Emilian and Romagnan wine, fizzy, light, produced with Lambrusco grapes. Its color tends to dark red and its taste is dry and lightly sweet at the same time. It perfectly suits with Emilia-Romagna’s cuisine and with meats ( expecially boiled meats, sausages and pork meats ) and cheeses like Italian Parmesan-Reggiano. it is generally quite/very cheap.
Teroldego is , almost exclusively, a Trentino wine. Produced with its own teroldego grapes, has a purple and ruby red color, mixed and a fruity taste, dry, no tannic, and low alcoholic. Quite cheap, and suitable at the Trentino’s cuisine as the Canederli ( Trentino’s tipical pasta dish ).
Brentino in a Venetian wine, constituted for the 55% from Merlot grapes and for the remaining 45% from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Ruby red colored with garnet reflections. Fruity with some notes of wood. Quite cheap. Even though not listed amid the important wines…it is very tasteful, perfect with pasta dishes and also with meats. Lagrein is a wine produced in Alto-Adige’s Region. Ruby red colored; it is slightly tannic and velvet at the taste. Quite cheap it is anyway a good wine, good with cheeses and meats.
Lacrima di Morro is a very particular wine, produced in the Ancona Area with Lacrima’s grapes, in the Marche’s Region. Dark ruby colored, it often has a particular taste of violet. It’s not cheap, nor very expensive; in a middle way. Its flavour and scent make it an original choice for a special dinner.
Gotturnio is a famous wine produced in the Piacenza’s Area, in the Lombardy Region, from Croatina’s and Barbera’s grapes. It can be either still or sparkling. With a dry, fresh and vibrant taste it is good with pasta, salami and cheees ( the fizzy version ) and with boiled, roasted, grilled or braised meats ( the still version ). It’s quite cheap, but not for this reason distasteful…indeed !
Marzemino is a Trentino’s wine, coming from Marzemino’s grapes, produced also in other northern Regions. It recalls to its consumers the taste of strawberry and blackberry. Dark red colored. Dry, smooth and velvet taste. Perfect match with polenta with mushrooms…also good with braised meats, fish and game. It is not expensive.
Barolo, which owe its name to a Medieval Castle in the Langhe Area, close to Alba, is a Piemonte’s wine, produced from nebbiolo grapes, with a granet red color and a taste of roses and violets. It tastes full, harmonious, powerful and velvet. Tannic and smooth at the same time, it persists in the palate for long. It matches perfectly with game, roasted meats, braised meats, truffle, cheeses or… with itself ! It is one of the Italian most important red wines, like Amarone, Brunello, Sassicaia, etc.. and therefore is expensive and exclusive.
Barbera is a Piemonte’s wine, well known, not expensive. Dark red with a strong, alchoolic taste, it has always been considered from Lombard and Piemonte’s people as the tipical wine for the meal. It matches with every kind of dish.
Cannonau is a Sardinian wine, mostly produced in the Gallura’s Area. Garnet red colored with a tannic, spicy and warm taste. It has a little flavour of toasted almonds, blackberry, vanilla and cinnamon in it. It is generally not expensive. It matches with pasta, roasted and braised meats, cheeses.
Nero d’Avola is a very famous Sicilian wine, produced from Nero d’Avola grapes. Its alchoolic and spicy taste with notes of plum and berry make it a perfect partner for meats and cheeses, but it is also great with pasta. It is not generally expensive.
Pinot Nero is a Trentino wine, produced with very renowned pinot grapes. . Red color, light, spicy and dry taste with notes of pear and apple. Sapid and not tannic. Perfect with fish. Generally, not very expensive, recognizable by a very characteristic aroma of red berries, as currants, raspberry and blackberry.
WHITE WINES :
Vermentino is a Sardinian wine, produced with vermentino’s grapes. It’s very famous the ” Gallura’s Vermentino “. Straw-yellow color, light dry taste with notes of peach and herbs. Perfect with fish. Generally, not very expensive.
Pinot Grigio is a Trentino wine, produced with pinot’s grapes. . Straw-yellow color; light, spicy and dry taste with notes of pear and apple. Sapid and not tannic. Perfect with fish. Generally, not very expensive.
Muller Thurgau is a wine made from grapes of the vine, now produced in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and Italy. In particular, in Italy it has spread in Sicily, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy and Trentino Alto Adige, where it is produced a wine of outstanding quality. Pale straw color with greenish reflections and shades, with an intense and aromatic aroma. Ideal wine as an aperitif, with appetizers, but also as a table wine, perfectly matching with delicate dishes with fish and vegetables. Generally not expensive.
Gewurztraminer is a wine made from grapes of the vine, it is produced in Trentino Alto Adige. Pale straw color with golden reflections, with a spicy, delicate and aromatic taste. Ideal wine as an aperitif, with appetizers, but also as a table wine, perfectly matching with delicate dishes with fish and vegetables, rice and pasta. Generally not expensive.
Verdicchio is a famous Marchigian wine, coming from verdicchio grapes. Lightly bitter flavored and dry, Verdicchio is straw-colored with green reflections. Not extremely alchoolic, nor expensive, it perfectly matches with fish’s startes and first courses.
Soave is a Venetian famous wine, produced in the Verona’s Area, slightly bitter and dry, straw- colored. The wine is produced with typical almond-perfumed Garganega’s grapes and those more sapid of Soave’s Trebbiano. not very alchoolic, nor expensive. Ideal with fish dishes, but even with any other dish.
Greco di Tufo is a Campanian wine produced in the Avellino’s Area with greco’s grapes and fox tail’s grapes . It’s harmonic, fresh and dry, with a straw color. Not extremely alchoolic, it is perfect with fish and fresh cheeses.
Falanghina is a Campanian wine produced in the Benevento’s Area with falanghina’s grapes. It’s fresh and dry, with a straw color and a fruited taste. Not extremely alchoolic nor expensive, it is perfect with fish.
Friulano is a wine coming from the Fiuli Region. It was, before, called ” Tocai “. It is produced with the friulano grapes; straw-colored; with a almondy, bitterish taste linked to slight hints of mint, lime’s zest, dandelion and plum. Not very alchoolic nor expensive. It matches with crude ham, salami, fish and fresh cheeses.
SPARKLING WINES and PROSECCOS : Sparkling wines are those wines which are featured by fermentation foam at bottle’s opening. The denominations on the labels indicate their real taste: Zero-dose means: extra-dry; Extra-Brut means: very dry; Brut means: dry; Extra-dry means: dry with a lightly sweet hint; Dry means: a little sweet; Demi-sec means: sweet taste; Dolce means: absolutely sweet. The Sparkling wines are made essentially following two main methods: Classic Method and Charmat Method. The first is more difficult, complex, slow and prestigious; the mixing of some wines is fermented and subsequently refermented, through the inserting of sugars and yeasts into the bottles. The second is quicker, cheaper and simpler…the wines are fermented in a few days inside the autoclave. The Classic Method ones, produced mostly in the Franciacorta’s Area, close to the Iseo Lake, are the most expensive and valuable, famous are these brands: Bellavista, Cadelbosco, Berlucchi and Ferrari. The Charmat method characterizes Prosecco’s wines; mostly produced in the Valdobbiadene’s Area, in Veneto Region; famous brands are: Nino Franco, , Bisol. The Classic Method’s bubbles are smaller and more persistent; instead the Charmat Method’s bubbles are bigger and less persistent. I only enumerated some of them, but here in Italy there are many other excellent sparkling wines.