Italy produces more wine yearly than any other country in the world, including some of the most prestigious labels you can find. So what are some of Italy’s finest wines, and where can you find them? Here is our guide to Italy’s best, tried and tested – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!
Franciacorta – Sparkling wine
If you love Prosecco and Cava, you will love the latest sparkling wine on the scene, Franciacorta. Produced just off of the shores of beautiful Lake Iseo, Franciacorta has very quickly become a favourite among sparkling wine drinkers. It has been awarded DOCG (the big name in Italian wine classification) and one of the reasons it’s so highly regarded is the lack of mass-production – this sparkling wine is hand-harvested.
Pair it with: Franciacorta is best enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink, washing down the odd canapé.
Where to try it: Try Franciacorta straight from the region itself while on a holiday in Lake Garda. Take the hour and half drive (it’s worth it, honest) and you will be greeted by an abundance of vineyards producing the Franciacorta sparkling wine.
Cantina Terlano, Nova Domus Terlaner – White wine
This wine comes from the Trentino-Alto Adige region in the north, and is one of the most sought after wines of this part of Italy. This wine is fairly young compared to others, first produced in 1990. Nowadays, more than 18,400 bottles are produced annually. With its mix of peach, nectarine and cinnamon apple taste, you can’t visit this region without trying a glass or two.
Pair it with: While you are in this area, it would be criminal not to try it with a local apple strudel, one of our top foods to try in South Tyrol.
Where to try it: South Tyrol is peppered with vineyards and wine tasting experiences. The best opportunity to try Cantina Terlano Nova Domus Terlaner, however, is at Cantina Terlano winery in Terlano – tours are available on request, and there’s a shop selling the wine. Look out for it on menus in the towns located at the foot of the Dolomites, Bolzano and Merano.
Soave Classico Monte Grande – White wine
As a white wine drinker, this has to be one of my favourites. It is not just Tuscany that produces some of Italy’s finest wines – this elegant tipple comes from a vineyard in Monteforte D’Alpone, in Italy’s northern Veneto region. This vineyard has been producing wines for 35 years, and they have certainly got this one right over time. Once harvested, the wine is put in a barrel and left for a year. This rich, fruity wine gets better with age – if you can resist opening it.
Pair it with: The Soave Classico Monte Grande goes perfectly with lighter dishes including salads and fish.
Where to try it: Soave Classico Monte Grande is produced approximately 30 minutes from much-loved Verona. Enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city and try wine tasting at one of the wineries at the heart of Monteforte D’Alpone.
Vigorello – Red wine
Tuscany has been producing one of Italy’s finest wines, Vigorello, since 1968. In fact, this wine falls under the category of ‘super Tuscan wines’, an unofficial wine category featuring Tuscany’s most important wines. The wine is a great mixture of Cabernet, Sauvignon and Merlot. A bottle of the Vigorello can often be seen with a price label of 100 euros – but there is certainly a reason for that. If you want to treat yourself, we suggest you save it for that special last meal in Italy.
Pair with: Team your Vigorello with more of a hearty dish, such as pizza or something mushroom based.
Where to try it: The Borgo San Felice luxury hotel is located in the Tuscan countryside. Lying perfectly at the heart of one of the top wine regions in Italy, this hotel has a winery on-site and offers wine tasting and cellar tours.
Chianti Classico – Red wine
The Chianti Classico comes from the Chianti region in Tuscany – stretching between the cities of Florence and Siena, it’s arguably one of the most renowned wine-producing areas in Italy. Another name that falls under the ‘super Tuscan wines’ category, the Chianti Classico is one of the oldest on our list of Italy’s finest wines. It has been around for over 2,000 years and is made up of mostly Sangiovese (the red grape from the local area), along with Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Pair it with: The Chianti Classico is perfect for washing down a meat and cheese platter.
Where to try it: The Chianti region is home to rolling green hills, gorgeous villas, and vineyards aplenty. Wherever you are staying, in Chianti, Siena or Florence, just pick the nearest winery near you – they are all great.
For more information on Italy’s wine and where to find them, read our Beginner’s Guide to Italy’s Wine Regions.
Photo credit: Michela Simoncini via flickr.