Top 6 Italian Wine Regions and Grapes
If you’re looking for quality wine, Italian wines are definitely some of the best to consider. Italy is a wine-making country on par with France and Spain, and is famous for having a wide range of grape varieties – nearly 400 in total!
This diversity is primarily due to two factors: the varied topography and climate, and the strong identities of each region – Italy was only united as one country in the 19th Century. As well as great diversity, Italy is one of the countries that can claim to produce the ‘best wines in the world’.
Italy is one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world, with regions that have produced wine at least as far back as the 2nd Century B.C. – more than 2,000 years! There’s a lot of demand for wine within Italy and internationally, so it’s no surprise that there are so many amazing Italian wines!
Take a look at this wine map of Italy, featuring all of the best Italian wine regions:
As you can see, a large portion of the Italian countryside is dedicated to producing Italian wines. Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the wine regions of Italy and the quality wines that come from these regions.
By the time you reach the end of this page, you’ll know exactly how to pick some of the best wines from each of these Italy wine regions…
Located in northeastern Italy, the Veneto wine region is one of the most important of the Italian wine regions. While not as large as most of the other wine regions of Italy, this region is famous for producing more wine than the rest of the country.
The Veneto wine region produces many styles of wines from many different grape varieties. The best-known appellations are Prosecco, a sparkling wine made from the Glera grape; Soave, a white wine made from Garganega grapes and Valpolicella, red wines made from a blend based on Corvina grapes and varying in style from light, racy wines to very full-bodied Amarone wines.
A few of our favourite Italian wines from the Veneto region include:
- Fasoli Gino DOC Soave Borgoletto, an unoaked, flowery wine with full aromatic flavours.
- Fasoli Gino DOC Valpolicella Classico La Corte del Pozzo, a mature, cherry fruit-flavoured wine with hints of berry jam, red fruit, and vanilla.
- Fasoli Gino DOCG Amarone La Corte del Pozzo, a strong-tasting wine with powerful flavours of liquorice, blackcurrant, and spices – this is the next step up from the Valpolicella above.
- Giol Prosecco Vino Spumante, a quality spumante tasting of white-fleshed fruits, yeast, and delicate blossoms.
Marche and Abruzzo
Marche’s winemaking heritage dates back to the Etruscans, and Romans, with a highly versatile terroir perfect for growing grapes. With more than 25,000 hectares of vineyards growing Trebbiano and Verdicchio grapes, it is famous for its high-acidity, crisp, green-hued white wines, and age-worthy sweet wines. The Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes produce amazing quality reds.
Directly to the south of Marche is Abruzzo, a region where winemaking has been in full force for over two millennia. The region has more than 89,000 hectares of planted land, growing native grape varieties such as Trebbiano, Pecorino, and Cocciola alongside Chardonnay and Merlot, but it is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that is the most famous.
We at Vintage Roots love these two quality wines from this region:
- Jasci DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a deep red tasting of mature red fruits, vanilla, and cinnamon.
- Pievalta Verdicchio Superiore, an unoaked organic and biodynamic white with flavours of nuts underneath acidic citrus fruits.
Of all the wine regions of Italy, none are as renowned as the Tuscany wine region. With its romantic landscape of rolling hills, country roads, and picturesque villages, it’s a wine lover’s paradise.
The Tuscany wine region is one of the most prolific in all of Europe, with internationally-recognized wines of all styles. From dry white wines and full-bodied red wines to sweet wines, a large quantity of Tuscan wine is recognized as DOC and DOCG, the top levels of Italian wine.
Sangiovese grapes flourish in Tuscany. Though it goes under a number of names (depending on the sub-region), it’s used in the production of a wide range of Italian wines – including Chianti.
Two of our favourite wines from Tuscany are:
- DOCG Chianti Tenuta San Vito, a savoury organic dark red wine with hints of fresh cherries.
- When We Dance Chianti, a high-class Chianti made with Sangiovese, Colorino, and Canaiolo grapes.
The Piedmont wine region is the primary rival to Tuscany, striving to claim the spot as Italy’s ‘top wine region’. It produces more DOCG wines than any other region and is home to some of Italy’s most famous wines and wineries – from long-lived Barolo to the delightfully light, sparkling Moscato d’Asti.
Its location at the foot of the Alps makes it prime grape-growing country. The region has been called ‘Italy’s Burgundy’ due to the diversity of small vineyards.
The Piedmont wine region is famous for the Barbera grape, with classic Italian flavours of sour cherries and high acidity. Nebbiolo is another famous grape and is used in the production of two of Italy’s finest wines: Barbaresco and Barolo. The Dolcetto grape is used for dry red wines, and the sweet sparkling reds made from Brachetto grapes are truly magical.
Looking for a good Piedmont wine? We at Vintage Roots recommend:
- DOCG Barolo Vigna Rocche, a Nebbiolo of a deep garnet colour and aromas of truffles, tobacco, and flowers.
- La Raia DOCG Gavi, a crisp white with hints of lime and greengage made from the Cortese grape.
Lombardy is one of the largest of the Italian wine regions, with the highest population. However, it only produces two famous wines, both of which are sparkling: Franciacorta and Lambrusco. Located in northern Italy, this landlocked region gets most of its water from four massive lakes.
One of the most famous sub-regions in Lombardy is the Lugana region, which straddles the line between Lombardy and Veneto. The Lugana wines are of particularly good quality, thanks to the fact that the vineyards surround the massive Lake Garda, which moderates the temperature. The region is known for its Soave, Bardolino, and Valpolicella wines.
Our Vintage Roots sommelier recommends:
- DOP Lugana ‘Catulliano’, an unoaked white made from the Turbiana grape with elegant nutty, citrusy flavours.
- IGT Benaco Bresciano Rebo Mille 1, a beautifully oaked complex red wine with rich blackberry flavours and appetising freshness.
As the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is the southernmost Italian wine region. For two and a half millennia, Sicily has been one of the primary hubs of Mediterranean viticulture. Thanks to its constant sunshine and reliable rainfall, wine production in Sicily has flourished.
Nero d’Avola is one of Sicily’s most famous wines, though the grape has only been imported to the island in the last century. It’s joined by the light, herbal Frappato, and Grillo and Fiano are some of the top white Sicilian varieties. The Syrah grown in Sicily is comparable to that of Southern France, particularly the Rhone Valley, with a lovely spice and softness.
For a bottle of good Sicilian wine, we believe you should try:
- Insieme Nero D’Avola No Added Sulphur, a top-shelf Nero d’Avola with excellent depth and a smooth finish of black cherries.
- Mont’albano Grillo, a dry, aromatic white with generous fruit flavours and a delightfully soft mouthfeel.
These Italian wine regions are some of the best, and they’re famous for producing top quality wines. If you want some of the best wine Italy can offer, these are the regions to consider, but there’s a vast range to choose from – keep an eye out for regions such as Sardinia, Puglia and Alto-Adige which can offer widely different styles, but plenty of excitement.
Looking for good quality Italian wines? Check out our full range of Italian wines to find your perfect match!