Pro Version | USD Change Currency | Help | Mobile Site
Advertisement

Italian Wine

Italy – the home of Moscato, Chianti, Amarone and Prosecco – has a rich and diverse wine heritage dating back more than two thousand years. Famous for its bewildering diversity of both grape varieties and wine styles, Italy is also significant for the sheer volume of wine it produces: just over 40 million hL in 2012, from 800,000 ha of vineyards. It is rivaled in this regard only by France and Spain. (© Wine-Searcher)

Managing and marketing such a vast wine portfolio is no easy task, particularly in today's highly competitive wine market. The Italian government's system of wine classification and labeling uses a four-tier quality hierarchy made up of more than 500 DOCG, DOC and IGT titles. See Italian Wine Labels.

The classic Italian hillside vineyard

Italy is divided into 20 administrative regions (see left), all of which produce wine to some extent, and all of which contain various wine regions. The most significant, when both quality and quantity are taken into consideration, are Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto.

Each region has its flagship wine styles. Some are famous because they are produced in large volumes and can be found all over the world, others because of their consistently high quality. Tuscany is known for its Chianti, of course, but among devoted wine aficionados its Brunello and Vino Nobile are even more highly regarded. Likewise, Piedmont's most famous wine is now Moscato d'Asti (following a recent and meteoric rise in popularity), but the region is most respected for its Barolo and Barbaresco. Veneto's vast output of Prosecco, Soave and varietal Pinot Grigio does little to boost its reputation as a fine wine region, and yet it produces one of the world's richest, finest wines: Amarone della Valpolicella.

Italy's vineyards are home to more than 2000 grape varieties, many of which are on the brink of extinction. The safest and best-known Italian grapes are Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano and Pinot Grigio (although technically the latter is more French than Italian). These varieties cover many thousands of acres of vineyard, and can be found in various regions. At the other end of the scale are such little-known rarities as Centesimino and Dorona, which are found in tiny numbers in just one or two places.

All of Italy's grape varieties, famous or not, face serious competition from better-known French varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. These internationally popular grapes are being planted in ever-increasing numbers all over Italy, and with high success rates. Some of Italy's finest and most expensive wines are made from these "foreign" varieties. An obvious example is the Super Tuscan Sassicaia from Bolgheri, which is a predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with a hint of Cabernet Franc.

Italy is unmistakable on the map, with its iconic, boot-like shape. Effectively one vast peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean, the country runs NW–SE for 700 miles (1,130km) along a strong, steep spine formed by the Apennine Mountains. On its western side, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, lie its two island regions, Sicily and Sardinia.

It is hard to summarize in any useful way the climate of such a long and topographically varied country. Vineyards here are planted anywhere from sea-level in eastern Emilia-Romagna to around 4200ft (1300m) in the alpine Aosta Valley. Latitude is also a key factor here; at 46°N, the northern Alto Adige region lies a full 11 degrees north of Pantelleria, leaving it some 680 miles further from the warmth of the equator.

Best Buys: Expand/collapse
Approximate (ex-tax) price: $
Color:
(Wines are selected by quality/price ratios)
Available in: USA The World
Where is it? Expand/collapse
What's available? Expand/collapse
 
Here are some wines produced in this region and all sub-regions, only the first 500 will be shown.
Wine Name
Grape 
Popularity
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Sauvignon $217 19
Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Sangiovese $100 37
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Merlot $734 42
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia 'Ornellaia' Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy Bordeaux Blend Red $204 48
Marchesi Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Sangiovese $249 70
Giacomo Conterno Monfortino, Barolo Riserva DOCG, Italy Nebbiolo $666 100
Castello del Poggio Moscato Provincia di Pavia IGT, Lombardy, Italy Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains $11 122
Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese (Nielluccio) $102 143
Gaja Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont, Italy Nebbiolo $193 148
Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese (Nielluccio) $57 165
Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese (Nielluccio) $79 176
Gaja Sperss Barolo - Langhe, Piedmont, Italy Nebbiolo $231 178
Masi Costasera, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Italy Valpolicella Blend $52 194
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese (Nielluccio) $144 209
Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Veneto, Italy Valpolicella Blend $132 225
Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Merlot - Sangiovese $27 230
Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Merlot - Syrah $96 232
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Merlot - Sangiovese $81 236
Marchesi de Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy Sangiovese (Nielluccio) $57 242
Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia Barolo DOCG, Piedmont, Italy Nebbiolo $163 258
Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Veneto, Italy Valpolicella Blend $59 261
Gaja Sori Tildin Barbaresco-Langhe, Piedmont, Italy Nebbiolo $377 266
Marchesi Antinori Villa Antinori Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Cabernet - Merlot - Sangiovese $20 276
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia 'Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia' Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy Bordeaux Blend Red $54 287
Luciano Sandrone Cannubi Boschis, Barolo DOCG, Italy Nebbiolo $156 293
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 of 20 >
Only the first 20 pages shown
 

Site Map About Contact Business Advertising Social