Italian Wine Regions
The major feature of this website is the longer articles on Italian wine and the important regions. These 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.
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.
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 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
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
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
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
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.
- Tuscan homepage – introduction to Tuscany
- Tuscan harvest watch – top producers across the region report each year on their harvest, a unique feature of this website.
- Chianti and its sub-zones, not to be confused with Chianti Classico, and, for the well-known white wine, San Gimignano
- Bolgheri – home of the Super Tuscans
- Tuscan Maremma including Massa Marittima and Montecucco
- Montalcino, Montepulciano, Val d’Orcia – three contrasting expressions of Sangiovese
On the other side of the Apennines, Sangiovese has also found distinctive expression in the hills of Romagna: Read more
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 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, 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 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
If Sicily were an independent country (and many locals think it is), it would be a major wine power in its own right. It has high volume wines, but also it has a great range of sites. These range from the hot and windy plains to the cooler, high elevation Mount Etna. Marry that with a full range of distinctive local varieties and you have a remarkable wine scene. Read more