Italy

Italian regions

The major feature of this website is the longer articles on important regions which are based on visits to the regions themselves – by far the best way to understand the wine and food of a place. Click on a link below to take you to the home page for each region where you will find a list of the wineries covered. If you are looking for something in particular, a producer, for example,  you can use the search box at the top of this page.

Piemonte

It would be invidious to choose between Italy’s great regions, but Piemonte would be on any shortlist. It can boast world-class Nebbiolo wines, the hugely underrated Barbera and Dolcetto varieties, sparkling wine from Moscato and Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blends, while not forgetting its local white varieties, Arneis, Cortese, Timorasso and Nascetta.  Click here for an update on my current project, researching and writing The Wines of Piemonte for the Classic Wine Library. My older posts on this great region can be found here.

Südtirol/Alto Adige

This part of Italy comes with an Austrian accent and with its pale red Vernatsch/Schiava and many international varieties including Gewürztraminer, claimed as a local here. Bold fruit flavours and invigorating acidities are the hallmarks in this beautiful, mountainous region. Read more 

Trentino

Trentino has a double wine life. It is an important traditional method sparkling wine area which includes Ferrari, the pioneer of this method in Italy. And then there is a powerful indigenous wine culture of its own focused on the black local grape Teroldego, plus whites and reds from French varieties. Read more 

Franciacorta

This small but important zone between Milan and Brescia produces relatively large volumes of bottle-fermented sparkling wine on the Champagne model, made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with second fermentation in the bottle. It is also blessed with a remarkably consistent high standard of grape growing and winemaking. Read more

Veneto

The Veneto is the powerhouse of the Italian wine industry, both in terms of production and as a business centre. My introduction to this major region is here

In more detail: 

  • Prosecco Superiore

The sociable and normally off-dry sparkling wine is made as a quality wine on the demanding slopes between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, with much work by hand and attention to detail. The most prized zone is Cartizze. Top producers include Nino Franco, Ruggeri and the tiny Silvano Follador. Read more

  • Valpolicella and Soave

The Veneto is the home of the wine juggernauts that are Pinot Grigio and Prosecco and, as stated, of much Italian wine business.  But it also produces great wines from its own varieties, Corvina and friends in red and Garganega in white. Read more

Friuli

North of Venice, Friuli borders Slovenia (with whom it shares its best zone, Collio) and Austria. It is famous in Italy and beyond for its great white wines from local varieties (Friulano,  Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana) plus French varietal whites and reds. In addition, there are characterful local reds and rare sweet wine, crafted against the backdrop of another beautiful and picturesque landscape. Read more

Tuscany

Sangiovese is king and queen in this great Italian region, recently joined by Bordeaux blends and latterly even some Syrah. The region has so many sub-zones, some of which are listed below.  

Romagna

On the other side of the Apennines, Sangiovese has also found distinctive expression in the hills of Romagna: Read more 

Le Marche

Seaside and mountains, densely and sparsely populated by turn, Le Marche is home to the white Verdicchio variety and to Montepulciano/Sangiovese blends: Read more

Umbria

Umbria has perhaps the most diverse wine culture in central Italy. Orvieto is mainly white wine territory but further afield there is Sangiovese of course, international varieties and blends, the majestic, not to be missed, Sagrantino red and even botrytised sweet wines: Read more 

Campania

Campania, the star of the south, has a long history of fine wine, both red (especially Taurasi) and, surprisingly, no less than three great local white varieties: Falanghina, Greco di Tufo and Fiano. The zones vary markedly from vineyards high above the sea on the Amalfi coast to inland Avellino or Benevento.  Read more

Puglia

Puglia used to be known just for bulk wine, whether this ended up ‘improving’ the wines of less reliably sunny areas or in the supermarkets of northern Europe. Now it is also a buzzing new quality area, with a distinctive set of grape varieties (especially the reds: Primitivo, Nero di Troia, Negroamaro, Susumaniello).  Read more

Sicilia

If Sicily were an independent country (and many locals think it is), it would be a major wine power in its own right.  As well as high volume wines, it has a great range of sites from the hot and windy to cooler, high elevation, Etna.  Marry that with a full range of distinctive local varieties and you have a remarkable wine scene.  Read more

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