Best Italian Wines for Beginners: A Guide

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Best Italian Wines for Beginners: A Guide

Italy has given the world more than just pizza, spaghetti, and their infamous accent. They’ve also given us some of the most delicious wines in the world! But with thousands of Italian wine varietals out there, choosing the best one can be hard to do without proper guidance. Whether you’re new to Italian wines or have been trying them for years, this guide will help you find the best Italian wines to suit your taste buds and budget.

The Chianti Region

One of Italy’s most popular regions, Chianti’s wine is synonymous with Tuscany and tastes great alongside a wide variety of cuisines. This medium-bodied red wine is made from blends of Sangiovese, Caninaiolo, Malvasia, and Colorino grapes, among others. It comes in a range of styles depending on where it was produced and how it was aged.   While there are many different types of Chianti wines, they all share a common earthy flavor that makes them versatile enough to pair with almost any dish. The best place to start your search for a good bottle of Chianti is at an authentic Italian restaurant or market; you can also ask your server or local shop owner if they have any recommendations based on what you plan to eat.

The Prosecco Region

Even though Prosecco is most well-known from its home in Italy, it was first planted in France. Currently, Italy is considered one of its primary regions, and I recommend beginning your exploration of sparkling wine there. The reason is simple affordability. While Prosecco can be a good match with many types of food, it’s often referred to as a gateway wine that helps introduce people to new flavors and makes them more willing to try different types of alcohol. A tasty red, it pairs well with both pasta dishes and spicy foods like Thai or Indian cuisine. One dry version can be as smooth as Champagne, while others can be more in the style of a wine made with either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir grapes. 

The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Region

When it comes to choosing your favorite wine, there’s an art to selecting a bottle. The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo region is one of Italy’s most well-known and exciting areas, where you’ll find some of Italy’s most delicious and popular wines. The warm climate of Abruzzo is perfect for creating a wide variety of fantastic wines, including reds like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and whites like Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This article will help you get started with exploring new Italian wines in your glass.

The Sicily Region

The most famous of all Sicilian wines is Marsala, which gets its name from a town in western Sicily that has long been associated with wine production. Marsala is a fortified wine, meaning it’s fermented to an alcohol content of around 16% and then aged in wooden barrels. It’s typically served after dinner with dessert or coffee, but you can also drink it on its own. Other popular Sicilian wines include Nero d’Avola (also known as Avola), a red wine made from 100% Nero d’Avola grapes; Grillo, another red grape variety used to make white wine; and Zibibbo, a light-bodied red grape used to make sweet white wines.

The Vermentino Region

Vermentino is a white grape indigenous to Sardinia. But it’s planted on both coasts of Italy, notably Liguria and Tuscany, where it can make excellent wines. Due to its high acidity and lack of complexity when made in simple styles, Vermentino is often used as a blending grape with other whites or rosés to add body, texture, and brightness.  Look for these varietals from these regions: Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Tuscany), Ormeasco (Liguria) and Vernaccia di Oristano (Sardinia). If you want to explore further, here are some varieties that are also common in each region: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Puglia), Trebbiano Toscano (Tuscany), Ansonica (Lazio) and Bianchetta Trevigiana (Veneto). So if you are looking for a good place to start exploring Italian wine.

So in summary, the following is a beginner’s guide to Italian wines. If you’re new to wine or are curious about something new, there are plenty of options for you. We have looked at some of Italy’s most popular wines and highlighted some of our favorites, but it is important to experiment! There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to wine. drink what you enjoy, what tastes good, and what makes you happy. Cheers! 

main photo: Pridham

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