Get to know: Italian Wines
Our Italian wine online collection contains a carefully curated selection of wines from winemaker's we love. Get to know more about French wine with our quick guide below:
Italy makes more wine than any other country. It is home to some of the most iconic fine wine names and produces a huge amount of uncomplicated table wine. With a huge number of native grape varieties - many of which are rarely found outside of Italy - Italian wines have a character all of their own, but can also be a little intimidating.
Yet the more people learn about Italian wine, the more they love it.
Key Regions for Italian Wine
This area in the North West of Italy is home to the iconic wines of Barolo, but that is not all it has to offer. It has an intermediate to cool climate which gives you a slightly shorter growing season and produces red wines that are more elegant, aromatic and earthy in style. The white wines are full of lively, refreshing acidity.
Veneto is in the North of Italy at the foothills of the Alps. Its climate is influenced by the Adriatic Sea. Reds offer richer fruit with some elegance and the best white wines are found in the cooler areas in the hills.
This is the land of that other Italian wine icon, Amarone. It is the top wine of Valpolicella on the plains of the Lessini Mountains which uses Corvina grapes, often blended in various ways with other grapes, namely Rondinella, Corvinone and Molinara.
Tuscany in Central Italy is the home of Chianti and the warm, coastal Mediterranean climate here is ideal for growing red grapes. Sangiovese is the star and is the key grape in Chianti.
This area is referred to as the heel of Italy and is among the warmest regions which are conditions that produce riper, sweeter fruit flavours and fuller bodied wines. This region has become a source for excellent value reds and has a few notable DOCs.
Key Grape Varieties
Nebbiolo - a thin-skinned grape that can be tricky to grow, and produces wines with lots of complex delicate flavours like cherry, rose, anise and savoury leathery notes along with high acidity and tannin, which give it great ageing potential.
Barbera - a grape with lower tannins, producing good value wines with flavours of cherry, plum, blackberry and violet. These can be oaky and are best drank young.
Moscato - a very aromatic grape that produces sweet, sparkling wines that have flavours of citrus, orange blossom and stone fruit.
Cortese - flavours of appley fruit and citrus give this wine an immediately appealing character.
Corvina - the grape of Valpolicella. This is blended with Rondinella, Molinara and Corvinone and produces wines with light sour cherry fruit when young but is also used to make richer, sweeter wines by drying the grapes partially in the sun using the process called Apassimiento.
Garganega - the grape used in Soave. You'll find flavours of peach, honeydew melon and orange zest with a little herbaceous note. It's a fresh white with a little extra smooth richness in the texture than grapes like Sauvignon Blanc. It is one of Italy's most widely-planted varieties and rarely found anywhere else.
Glera - this is the grape in every bottle of Prosecco. Flavours of apple, peach and melon often with a floral note. It has high acidity and makes wines that can be medium-dry to very dry and between 8.5-12.5% alcohol. It is grown almost entirely in Italy.
Sangiovese - this think skinned grape with high acidity and tannins has fruit flavours of tart cherry, red plum and strawberry mingling with savoury flavours of oregano, thyme, smoke, tomato and tobacco as they develop.
Negroamaro - the true taste of Puglia, this red grape is almost exclusively grown in Southern Italy and makes wines that are full bodied and have lots of ripe black cherry, plum prune and herbaceous flavours.
Primitivo - this grape is originally from Croatia and is known at Zinfandel in the USA. It ripens early with lots of natural sugars so its no surprise it creates big, jammy fruit-forward red wines with flavours of figs, blueberry and baked blackberry, as well as some dried fruit and savoury complexity.