Best Italian Wine

Best Italian Wine: 20 Delicious Styles & Bottles (2024)

by Hunter Robillard

Finding the best Italian wine can be challenging since Italy produces a stunning variety of styles - from fruity, crisp whites to full-bodied, rich reds!  

To make your choice easier, we’ve collected some of the best Italian red, white, and sparkling wines. Plus, you can find the best foods to pair with your favorite Italian wine.

Further reading

11 Italian Red Wine Styles (Including Best Wines, Tasting Notes)

Here are the best Italian red wines to add to your collection:

  1. Barolo
  2. Barbaresco
  3. Brunello di Montalcino
  4. Valpolicella
  5. Chianti Classico
  6. Dolcetto
  7. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
  8. Cortese
  9. Primitivo
  10. Super Tuscans
  11. Nero d’Avola

1. Barolo 

Vietti Barolo

Barolo wine comes from the Italian wine region of Piedmont. This robust wine is made with the Nebbiolo grape and is among the most age-worthy red wines in the world.

Best Barolo Wine: 

  • 2010 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo DOCG, Piedmont, Italy ($695): This fine wine has powerful aromas of dark red fruit, spices, and violet notes. The palate has black cherry flavors and a silky tannin mouthfeel.

2. Barbaresco

Gaja Barbaresco DOCG

Barbaresco wine comes from Piedmont, and it’s made with the Nebbiolo grape variety. The wine is more mellow than Barolo and is known for its earthy tones.

Best Barbaresco Wine: 

  • 2006 Gaja Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont, Italy ($300): This DOCG wine has an exquisite bouquet of black cherry, tobacco leaf, and leather notes. The palate has hints of cappuccino and a velvety tannin mouthfeel.

3. Brunello di Montalcino

Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino wine is made from the Sangiovese grape, and the wine is aged in new French oak barrels.

Best Brunello di Montalcino Wine: 

  • 2006 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy ($158): Here is a great wine with black fruit and rose petal aromas, along with blackberry and black tea flavors. The wine has incredible depth and intensity.

4. Valpolicella

Recioto Valpolicella

Valpolicella wine is produced with the indigenous grapes Corvinone, Corvina Veronese, and Rondinella. The Valpolicella DOCG has an annual wine production of 15 million bottles of the prestigious Amarone della Valpolicella (a wine made with partially dried grapes.)

Best Valpolicella Wine: 

  • 2011 Dal Forno Romano Vigneto Monte Lodoletta, Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG, Italy ($321): This wine has the aroma of sweet smoke and creme de cassis notes. Dark chocolate and ripe cherry flavors followed by a savory finish round off this rich wine.

5. Chianti Classico

Best Italian Wine, Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico is produced in the Chianti DOCG. It’s made mainly with the Sangiovese grape and small percentages of the Canaiolo grape varietal and other grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah.

Best Chianti Classico Wine: 

  • 2008 Felsina Berardenga Vin Santo Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy ($85): This Tuscan wine has notes of apricots, honeysuckle, and caramel aromas, along with candied hazelnuts, plum, and ripe fruit flavors.

6. Dolcetto 

Bartolo Mascarello Dolcetto d'Alba

Dolcetto (“little sweet wine”) hails from Piedmont and comes in a range of hues from deep ruby to purple.

Best Dolcetto Wine: 

  • 2018 Bartolo Mascarello Dolcetto d'Alba, Piedmont, Italy ($56): Here is a wine with black cherry, plum, and floral aroma notes. The palate is silky with red fruit flavors and a long finish.

7. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Azienda Agricola Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine is made from the Montepulciano grape variety in the Italian wine region Abruzzo. Be sure not to confuse this with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a Sangiovese-based wine from the Tuscany region.

Best Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Wine: 

  • 2012 Azienda Agricola Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Italy ($269): This wine has a seductive nose of sweet dark fruit, coffee beans, and mineral along with fine acidity, black fruit, and spice flavors. 

8. Cortese

La Scolca Soldati D'Antan Spumante Brut Millesimato

In Italy, nearly 3,000 hectares of vineyard lands are planted with the Cortese grape varietal. Cortese wine has a distinct acidity — perfect for any white wine lover.  

Best Cortese Wine: 

  • 2007 La Scolca Soldati D'Antan Spumante Brut Millesimato, Piedmont, Italy ($95): This wine has an incredible nose of cream, toasted bread, caramel and vanilla aromas. The palate is fruity and dry with a smooth finish.

9. Primitivo

Best Italian Wine, Primitivo

Primitivo is a highly alcoholic wine mainly made in Puglia. It’s also known as the Italian Zinfandel. 

Best Primitivo Wine: 

  • 2014 Gianfranco Fino 'Es' Primitivo di Manduria, Puglia, Italy ($86): Here is a delicious red wine with chocolate, dried plum, and red fruit aromas followed by a velvety tannin mouthfeel and a complex finish.

10. Super Tuscans

Best Italian Wine, Super Tuscan Tignanello

Super Tuscans are famous red blends made from Sangiovese grapes and other international grape varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot

Best Super Tuscan Wine: 

  • 2016 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy ($424): This exquisite wine has a fragrant nose of ripe cherry and barbecue spice notes. It has incredible fruit flavors and a long finish.

11. Nero d’Avola

Best Italian Wine, Nero d'Avola

Nero d’Avola is used to make fruit forward, full-bodied Sicilian red wine. This Italian grape was previously only used in wine blends, but over the past 20 years, winemakers have used it to make a single-varietal wine.

Best Nero d’Avola Wine: 

  • 2016 Tasca d'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali 'Riserva del Conte' Contea di Sclafani, Sicily, Italy ($132): Here is a delicious Sicilian wine with blackberry and wood aromas and black fruit, earth and oak flavors.

5 Italian White Wine Styles (Including Best Wines, Tasting Notes)

These are the best Italian white wines:

  1. Pinot Grigio
  2. Soave
  3. Vermentino
  4. Verdicchio
  5. Trebbiano

1. Pinot Grigio

Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo

Pinot Grigio is a famous wine that’s aromatic, refreshing, and dry.

Best Pinot Grigio Wine: 

  • 2018 Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy ($36): This wine has a light rose-gold hue with a delicate nose of sweet citrus and peach notes. The palate is fresh with a good structure. 

2. Soave

Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico

This dry white wine is popular in the Verona wine region. Soave wine is made mainly with the Garganega grape varietal and occasionally, small percentages of Chardonnay and Trebbiano di Soave grapes. 

Best Soave Wine:

  • 2006 Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy ($101): Here is a wine with nuts and tropical fruit aromas, fruity flavors, and fantastic acidity.

3. Vermentino

Cantine Lunae Bosoni Etichetta Nera Vermentino Colli di Luni

Vermentino is Sardinia’s signature white wine. It’s known for its refreshing, fruity notes.

Best Vermentino Wine:

  • 2019 Cantine Lunae Bosoni Etichetta Nera Vermentino Colli di Luni, Liguria, Italy ($25): This wine has yellow fruit and licorice aromas accompanied by cream, fruit, and mineral flavors.

4. Verdicchio

Villa Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva

Verdicchio is a dry white wine from the Marche wine region. It is among the best value white wines in the country.

Best Verdicchio Wine:

  • 2015 Villa Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva DOCG, Marche, Italy ($46): Here is a wine with light floral and fruity aromas followed by zesty acidity, dried herb, tropical fruit, and almond flavors.

5. Trebbiano

Azienda Agricola Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo

Trebbiano refers to a group of grape varieties (Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbiano Abruzzese, and others) grown all over the world. In Italy, the Trebbiano grapes are used in the production of fruity and fresh Italian white wine styles. 

Best Trebbiano Wine:

  • 2010 Azienda Agricola Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, Italy ($230): This wine has lemon and crisp apple aromas and a silky, complex palate with fantastic acidity.

4 Italian Sparkling Wine Styles (Including Best Wines, Tasting Notes)

Try some of these amazing sparkling wines:

  1. Moscato d'Asti
  2. Prosecco
  3. Franciacorta
  4. Lambrusco

1. Moscato d'Asti

Ca' d'Gal Vite Vecchia Moscato d'Asti

Moscato d’Asti is a low alcohol sparkling wine (with about 5.5% ABV) - a perfect addition to your brunch menu.

Best Moscato d’Asti Wine:

  • 2011 Ca' d'Gal Vite Vecchia, Moscato d'Asti DOCG, Italy ($90): This sparkling wine, made with the Moscato Bianco grape varietal, has an aromatic nose of sage, honey, and citrus fruit notes. The palate has salt and candied orange blossom notes.

2. Prosecco

Vest Italian Wine, Prosecco

Prosecco is made mainly with the Glera grape and is easily the most famous sparkling wine in Italy.

Best Prosecco Wine:

  • 2018 Bisol Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, Veneto, Italy ($40): This DOCG wine has fresh flowers and white stone fruit aromas accompanied by crisp acidity, white peach, pear, and vanilla flavors.

3. Franciacorta

Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi franciacorta

Often referred to as the Italian alternative to Champagne, Franciacorta is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Noir grape varietals. 

Best Franciacorta Wine:

  • 2008 Ca' del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi, Franciacorta DOCG, Italy ($98): This quality wine has rich fruit aromas, smoky flavors, and good acidity.

4. Lambrusco

Paltrinieri 'Radice' Lambrusco di Sorbara

Lambrusco sparkling wine grew popular in the 1980s, and today, winemakers produce it in bulk. 

Best Lambrusco Wine:

  • 2017 Paltrinieri 'Radice' Lambrusco di Sorbara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy ($20): Here is a sparkling wine with light effervescence, grapefruit and raspberry aromas accompanied by a distinct acidity, ripe cherry, and cinnamon flavors.

Best Food To Pair With Italian Wine

Best Italian Wines to pair with Food

Try these dishes with your favorite red, white or sparkling Italian wine:

1. Red Wine

  • Barolo: Parmesan cheese, truffles, prime rib, and meat ragu
  • Barbaresco: Pasta, meats, aged cheese, and roasted vegetables
  • Brunello di Montalcino: Steak, game, stew, pasta
  • Valpolicella: Poultry, seafood stew, salmon, and grilled vegetables
  • Chianti Classico: Tomato pasta dishes, leg of lamb, and roast beef in Madeira sauce
  • Dolcetto: Salumi, mushroom pasta sauces, and pizza 
  • Montepulciano d'Abruzzo: Beef brisket, beef bolognese, and hamburgers
  • Cortese: Soft cheese (goat and feta), chicken in white wine sauce, and grilled lemon fish
  • Primitivo: Grilled vegetable pasta, spaghetti bolognese, and lamb curry
  • Super Tuscans: Herby, spicy meat dishes, lasagna, filet mignon, and roast meats
  • Nero d’Avola: Oxtail soup, bereft stew, and barbeque bacon burgers

2. White Wine

  • Pinot Grigio: Salads, risotto, and grilled chicken
  • Soave: Roast chicken, asparagus, and cauliflower soup
  • Vermentino: Spinach, arugula, beans, and zucchini
  • Verdicchio: Pesto pasta, white fish, and savory souffle
  • Trebbiano: Light cream-based pasta, squid, poached fish, and lobster

3. Sparkling Wine

  • Moscato d'Asti: Crunch vegetables (carrots, cucumbers), pork tenderloin, and cured meats
  • Prosecco: Savory cheese, cured meats, sushi, and Thai food
  • Franciacorta: Soft cheese (brie, camembert), salted nuts, dried fruits
  • Lambrusco:Ramen, Korean barbeque ribs, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 

Indulge In The Best Italian Wine Now!

Piedmont Wine Region

Choose your favorites from the many fantastic Italian wines available in this guide. Whether you’re collecting, tasting, or celebrating, there is something for all Italian wine lovers here!

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