The Best Red and White Italian Wines

Variety is the spice of life.

And when it comes to wine, Italy offers more variety than any country in the world. Italy plays host to hundreds of winemakers who create thousands of wines, which means you’re never going to be stuck for choice when making your choice.

However, variety also brings a problem with it.

When there is so much choice available, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. You won’t know what Italian wine to go for because there are so many available.

We’re sure a few people have felt like that when browsing the thousands of wines available on the Xtrawine website!

So, let’s make things a little easier for you.

You want a taste of what Italian wine has to offer.

These are the red and white Italian wines that you need to sample!

Wine #1 – Prosecco

It takes a special type of wine to dethrone Champagne from its position as the world’s most sparkling white wine.

That’s Prosecco.

This gorgeous sparkling Italian white wine has made a name for itself both based on its quality and affordability. As a result, it’s become the go-to wine for celebrations all over the world. Prosecco still sells in huge numbers in the UK and has started to gain some real steam in the United States. Of course, it’s hugely popular in Italy too. However, it’s this appeal to a broad market that makes Prosecco such a stand out.

So, what can you expect from this wine?

It’s refreshing, with just a small element of creaminess to it. The wine is often fairly dry, though you will find yourself craving the citrus notes nestled away in its bouquet. And the perlage is to die for. It’s strong, consistent, and makes it feel like there’s a party going on in your mouth whenever you drink.

Wine #2 – Chianti

When it comes to Italian red wines, you have so many choices. But we think that the one most people fall back on is the brilliant Chianti. One of the oldest and most prestigious wines that Italy produces, Chianti can be traced back for hundreds of years. Its smooth and complex taste has enraptured millions of people and it is a wine that is so steeped in tradition that there are few that can claim to be a better representation of what Italy has to offer.

A special mention should also go to the Super Tuscans.

Think of these as offshoots of Chianti that offer an accessible way into this complex wine. The Super Tuscans are a little lighter, perhaps more flavoursome, and every bit as enjoyable as the Chianti Classico that inspired them.

Wine #3 – Amarone

It’s rare for a wine to manage to combine sweetness with subtlety. And yet Amarone does exactly that. Another gorgeous Italian red wine, Amarone is as smooth as silk as well as being an extremely versatile wine.

It meshes well with many main courses, in addition to being a good complement to some rich desserts. The touch of sweetness to its taste is noticeable without being overbearing. This is a wine that has been slowly building in popularity over the years. And we believe that every Italian wine lover should have a bottle of it stashed away somewhere.

Our recommendation for drinking Amarone is to gather a good group of friends for a dinner party. When the food is all gone, gather together, share some Amarone as a dessert in and of itself, and reminisce about your lives.

Absolute heaven!

Wine #4 – Soave

Hailing from the Veneto region, this Italian white wine often vary wildly depending on the producer.

Some of those who make Soave treat it as a light and fruity wine that is perfect for sharing with friends in the garden or for giving yourself a little bit of a refresher after a difficult day.

Others focus on making a more complex version of the wine that features intense aromas and a rich texture. For those who want to spend time exploring their wine, these types of Soave are probably the best choice.

Either way, Soave is a wine that has character. It’s a perfect representation of what makes Italy so special because there is so much variety within this single type of wine.

Wine #5 – Barolo

How could we possibly create a list of the best Italian wines without including the “King of Wines” itself, Barolo?

Much like Chianti, Barolo is a wine that can trace its lineage back for hundreds of years. Early versions of the wine were favoured by the noble families that were spread throughout the Italian territory before the country united. And though the Barolo we enjoy today has gone through some evolutions since then, it’s still retained its reputation as being a wine of such exceptional quality that it is fit for a king.

Barolo is a complex and intriguing Italian red wine that invites you to explore with every sip. It’s also accessible, with very good vintages of Barolo available for less than €100.

Wine #6 – Franciacorta

While Prosecco may be handily winning the battle of the world’s sparkling white wines, Franciacorta is often the wine of choice for those who want something a little closer to Champagne.

Made using the traditional method, with Chardonnay being on its main grapes, Francicorta is as close as you’re likely to get to an Italian version of a good Brut Champagne. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t have qualities of its own, as this is no mere imitation. The use of Pinot Bianco and Pinot Noir gives Franciacorta a character that is all its own.

The Final Word

In truth, we have only scratched the surface when it comes to the best wines that Italy has to offer. As we said at the beginning of the article, variety has always been one of the Italian wine industry’s strongest points.

However, those who are looking to get into the deep world of Italian wines now have six that we all know are amazing examples of what the country has to offer. Explore them all, find a favourite, and then explore further from there.


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