Italy is a great place to visit for any wine lover. While you could spend years exploring the true culture of Italy, most of us only have a week or two to visit and make the most of it. So we’ve put together a bucket-list for wine connoisseurs looking to get every last drop out of their experience.
There’s no doubt about it, Tuscany is one of the best places in the world for wine-lovers. Chianti is a well known Italian wine and is spread right across the region. Made from the Sangiovese grape, it’s a dry red with a smell and taste similar to cherries and strawberries. To make matters even more confusing, Chianti actually gets its name from the Chianti region, and not from the grapes. Due to its high acidity, it goes down really well with any kind of food, but we recommend pairing this number with more traditional dishes like pasta and pizza for the ultimate degustation.
Piedmont is one of Italy’s most famous wine regions and really does not get the credit it deserves like its counterparts in Tuscany. It also draws a lot of its inspiration from the French considering it’s so close to the border. Nebbiolo – a grape that can only be found in the mountains of Northern Italy – is used to make high-end red wine including Barolo and Barbaresco. Often referred to as wine fit for kings and queens, expect to cough up a few hundred dollars per bottle. For the perfect combination, pair this wine with a mushroom lasagne, rack of lamb or even prime rib roast.
Just a short drive from Rome, Umbria is known for its amazing red wine made from the age-worthy Sagrantino grape. Just because it’s a lesser known part of Italy, don’t let this steer you away. The region is known for its famous Montefalco Sagrantino and made from (yep, you guessed it!) Sagrantino grapes. Expect a tannic, full-bodied red wine that has elements of spice, berry and earthy flavours. This red is best paired with a roast, lamb, game or even aged cheese. There’s a dessert version too, and goes down a treat with some classic biscotti.
We must not forget the wines of Mount Etna in Sicily. People are really starting to rediscover this island’s rich culture of food and wine, and one of its most celebrated wines called Vittoria. The intensely coloured red wine is a unique blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato grapes combined roughly in equal measure. Nero d’Avola is fruitier and more powerful, whereas frappato offers more distinct floral flavours. We recommend pairing the wine with a variety of dishes including couscous and vegetables, risotto and arancini. Delizioso!