Good Italian Wines Available Online: How To Select The Best Bottle
“In Vino Veritas” is a famous Italian proverb everybody has heard at least once in their lives. And there is indeed the truth in good Italian wines. But not all wines are the same. Buying an Italian wine can be a real challenge. No worries. You just need to understand the basics and familiarize yourself with the different wine categories.
There are two main wine regions in Italy that give the best grapes for producing good Italian wines, Tuscany and Piedmont. Tuscany is known worldwide, and the first thing that comes to mind are picturesque landscapes, a lot of sun, old castles and vineyards. Here, good Italian wines are made exclusively from the Sangiovese grape, and are bottled mainly as Chianti. There is also the unique “Renegade” which is a Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. The Piedmont region is famous for the burly, red wines made from Barbera, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto grapes, and the Moscato, a famous Italian bubbly.
Generally, good Italian wines are divided into two main categories:
- Table wines (These are the wines you would drink at family gathering, family dinner, or ‘get together’ with friends. They are not expensive and are mainly fruit-forward and light to medium bodied)
- High-end wines (These wines vary from good Italian wines to superior. They are more expensive varying from $35-$100-plus per bottle. The Chianti, Classico Riserva, Amarone are just a few examples of this category).
Good Italian wines are best when paired with good Italian food. For instance, Chianti wines go with almost everything from the Italian food menu. Barolos go best with steak, or other foods high in fat. Pinot Grigio, which is one of the most popular Italian wines, pairs well with hearty food, due to it’s high level of acidity.
You also need to know the general classification of Italian wines:
- Super Tuscans like Sassicaia, Viticcio, Antinori, and Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia, are wines that are mainly comprised of Saugiovese and blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, and are on the higher end of price range;
- Barolo and Barbaresco are the wines you’d serve at an elegant dinner. They complement heavy food rich in fat;
- Amarone are big, bold red wines, with mainly cherry, plum or spicy taste;
- Pinot Grigio is a heavy white wine, popular for it’s high acidity.
Another thing to familirize yourself with are the marks DOC and DOCG. DOC stands for denominazioni di origione controllata, and DOCG is for denominazioni di origione controllata and garantita. Both are part of the control system Italy has developed for an easier classification of wines from all sorts and regions.
And finally, here are a few wine suggestions you must try.
- Santa Margerita Prosecco DOC, $18.99 – This Italian wine has fresh aromas of peach and apples. It’s delicate and dry with a scent of lemon citrus. It has a good level of acidity, and is fresh and lively, perfect for a good salad, or pasta with seafood.
- Cecci Chianti, $16.99 – Ruby red colour, strong and persistent taste. Best served with meat and cheese.
- Ferrari Brut, $38.99 – A more expensive sparkling wine with aromas of toasted bread and bright lemon zest. Slightly green in colour, fresh and lasting, it has overtones of ripe golden apples. Best served as an aperitif, or with a dish of light seafood.