Shopping for Italian Wine
When selecting a bottle of Italian wine, there are a few things to consider.
First, determine what type of wine you prefer. Italian wines come in a variety of styles, from light and fruity to full-bodied and complex. Knowing which type you prefer can help narrow down your choices.
Understanding Italian Wine Labels
Next, look at the label. Typically, labels will indicate the type of wine (red, white, sparkling, etc.), the region where it was produced, and the grape variety or blend. Take time to read the label and make sure you understand what it is saying.
Know your wines! Below we listed Top 5 Italian wine names you should make a mental note of.
Chianti and Chianti Classico
These reds from Tuscany and are famous for their dry, medium-bodied characteristics and spice-driven flavours. Chianti Classico is typically fuller-bodied than the non-Classico Chianti and often has higher tannins and more complexity.
Chianti wine has favours of cherry, raspberry, plum, tobacco, and leather. Depending on the vintage and the region, other flavours may also be present. Common additional flavours include eucalyptus, black pepper, cinnamon, licorice, and vanilla.
Brunello di Montacino
Brunello has flavours of blackberry, cherry, tobacco, leather, earth, and spice. It is a full-bodied red wine with intense tannins, high acidity, and a long finish. It has a complex aroma with notes of dried herbs, liquorice, chocolate, and coffee.
The big M has flavours of blackberry, cherry, plum, vanilla and spice. It is a medium-bodied red wine with smooth tannins and a balanced acidity. Its aromas and flavours are described as having notes of leather, tobacco, tobacco leaf, black tea, and liquorice. It has a long, pleasing finish.
Barolo has the flavours of red fruit, leather, tobacco, and herbs. It can also have tar, truffles, and rose notes, depending on the specific type of grape used in the blend and the vineyard's terroir. Barolo needs to be aged for at least two years to soften its tannins and develop its complex aromas and flavours.
Barbaresco is a famous village in Piedmont that is known for producing a wine with similar characteristics to Barolo, but with a slightly more delicate flavour and softer texture. It has flavours of rose petals, truffles, dark cherries, and violets. It can also display aromas of tobacco, spice, and leather.
It's another red wine famous for being full-bodied, robust, and tannic. It is made from the Primitivo grape variety, which is believed to be a clone of Zinfandel. Primitivo is known for its intense aromas of red berry fruits, black pepper, and spice. It has a high alcohol content and a deep ruby red colour. Primitivo is popular in Italy, but is also produced in some other regions, including California, where it is known as Zinfandel.
Finally, consider the price. Italian wines can range in price from fairly affordable to quite expensive. Look for something that fits your budget while still giving you a quality product. By taking the time to look at the label, understand the type of wine, and consider the price, you can choose an Italian wine that suits your palate and your budget.