Italy is one of the country names that come up whenever people talk about wines. It is not unusual to get confused when choosing the best Italian red wines. You might hear somewhere that a particular Italian red wine tastes excellent but experience the complete opposite.
This is because red wine from different regions, grapes, and brands from Italy have their own distinct features. It never hurts to do a little research before you indulge. Given the rich history, culture, and names – what you need to know about Italian red wines is all three.
A Quick Introduction to Italian Red Wines
What makes Italy land on the list when the best red wines are being talked about? Variety of things!
Italy stands out from countries like France and Spain because of its variety. Besides having various methods of making wine, Italy also has the highest variety of grapes in its numerous wine-making regions. In fact, it has 590 varieties of native grapes. With so many grape varieties, Italian wines ought to be known for their variety.
Italy has been making wines for 4000 years. Knowledge, expertise, and methods have been passed down, modified, and tested. This is one of the things that many other countries do not have – a deep root in winemaking. For an excellent reason, Italy was named Oenotria (The land of wines).
A Blend Of Resources And Technology
Not only has Italy kept its ancestral treasure unscathed, but it has also adapted various winemaking technologies. Technology, knowledge, and experience together help the regions make even a higher variety of wine that caters to all taste buds.
The Best Of Both Worlds
The climate the countries are in affects the flavor of the red wines they offer. France is primarily in the cold while Spain is in the warm. But, Italy? Both hot and cold characterise its climate. So, the wines it produces can give you a burst of warm flavor or a cooler flavor when you want it.
Italian Red Grapes Varieties
Among so many varieties of Italian red grapes, there are three that still stand out! What makes these three so good? Let’s find out.
Sangiovese is a grape variety that has favored Italy more than other countries because it’s abundant in Italy but not in other countries. The Sangiovese genes tend to adapt to their surroundings and weather. This is why this one variety is capable of creating so many flavors – from earthy to rustic. The red wines made from Sangiovese have a cherry flavor with subtle notes of tomato. Even the famous Chianti Classico uses this grape for its taste.
Montepulciano is the second-most abundant variety of grapes in Italy. This grape mainly grows in the sunnier parts of the country, and thus you can expect the warm flavor from its wines. It has an extremely thick skin that contributes to making really dark-colored red wine. Montepulciano doesn’t grow well in cold regions, and it rules over the taste of the wines it makes. The famous Montepulciano wine is made from its namesake.
Negroamaro mainly grows in the southern regions of Italy. This grape also makes wines that are ruby red or dark in color. The red wines made from Negroamaro have both a bite and sweetness to offer. Their taste resembles that of dark fruits like a ripe plum, blackberry, prunes, and sweet cherries. It has a dry and spicy effect on the palate.
Italian Red Wines Labels That Need To Be On Your Radar
The land of wines has too many wine labels to offer to you- so instead of trying to hit them one by one, you can try the promising ones. This curated list should help you find the must-try Italian red wines that will give you the taste of the country.
Zardini Valpolicella Ripasso
Zardini Valpolicella Ripasso is one of the popular wines coming from the region of Valpolicella. This wine is made from Corvinone, Corvina, and Rondinella grape varieties. The wines from this region are usually along the lighter end of the scale. As a result, the winemakers use the Ripasso method to make this wine add more character and depth. This wine has a burnt cherry punch to it and a tobacco finish.
Marzocco di Poppiano – Chianti
The taste of the famous Sangiovese grape can be found in this ruby-red wine. Apparently, 90% of the grapes used in making this wine are Sangiovese, and the other 10% are Canaiolo. This wine hails from the regions of Poppiano, Montespertoli, and Toscana. It has a very fruity taste, with red berries and blueberries dominating the flavor. The acidity is crisp with firm tannins in the body.
Monteleone Qubba Etna Rosso
This wine hails from the southern region of Italy, particularly the Etna region, as the name signifies. Nerello Mascalese is the grape that makes this wine, and it is one of the most expensive Etna wines. The wine tastes bold and dry with sandalwood, rosemary, and dried rose notes. In other words, it has a light fruity taste.
Piaggia Pietranera Toscana
Tuscan red wine comes from the region of Toscana in Italy. It is made from Pinot Noir grapes which sometimes resemble the taste of Sangiovese grapes. It is bold and a bit dry in the mouth. It is high in red and black fruit notes with a bit of oaky finish.
Nicolò Grippaldi Spinasanta
Yet another wine made from the Nerello Mascalese variety of grapes. This one has a bold and tannic punch to it. It resembles the taste of Pinot Noir with raspberry and strawberry fruit notes.
Now, you have a head start on your wine tasting journey. Starting with one of the best Italian red wines that sounds like it is for your taste buds will open the door to the Italian red wine world. From rustic to fruity – Italian wines and spirits can bring everything to your glass.