MAJOR ITALIAN RED WINES
full-bodied wine from partially-dried Corvina grapes, in
the Veneto region. Dry and firm wine, but its ripe,
concentrated fruitiness suggests sweetness. Needs rich,
savory foods or flavorful cheeses.
to Barolo, from the same grape in a nearby area, but
generally a tad lighter in body and slightly more
approachable. Drinks best at 8 to 15 years of age,
depending on the producer.
wine produced mainly in the Piedmont region. Dry, light-
or medium-bodied, with intense berry flavor,
mouth-watering acidity, and little tannin. Particularly
versatile with food. Many of the best wines are from the
Alba or Asti zones.
full-bodied, magisterial wine from Nebbiolo grapes in
the Barolo area of Piedmont. Has complex aromas and
flavors of strawberries, tar, herbs, and earth, as well
as a firm, tannic structure. Drinks best at 10 to 20
years of age, depending on the producer.
Brunello di Montalcino: Full-bodied,
intense, concentrated wine from Sangiovese grapes grown
in the Montalcino zone of Tuscany. Dry and quite tannic,
it drinks best when it’s at least 15 years old.
dry, medium-bodied, moderately tannic wine with lovely
tart-cherry flavor, mainly from Sangiovese grapes grown
in the Chianti area of Tuscany. “Chianti Classico” is
often the best. Some wines are good young; wines
labeled riserva, and
pricier wines, are generally more concentrated and
commonly a sweet, fizzy wine with delicious, grapey
flavors. Made from Lambrusco grapes usually in the
Emilia-Romagna region. Dry and sparkling styles also
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Generally
medium-bodied and flavorful with red fruits and a
slightly vegetal note. Lighter examples are smooth and
easy to drink; the best wines are concentrated and
denser in texture. From the Montepulciano grape, in the
Salice Salentino: Dry,
full-bodied wine from Negroamaro grapes in part of the
Puglia region. Generally has somewhat intense aromas and
flavors of ripe, plummy, baked fruit, and rich, dense
texture. Suitable with robust foods.
wine mainly from Corvina grapes in the Valpolicella area
of Veneto region. Dry, lean, and only moderately tannic,
with more or less intense cherry aromas and flavors.
Some versions, such as single-vineyard wines, are
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: Medium-bodied,
dry, and lean, with red cherry flavor, similar to
Chianti but slightly fuller. Made from Sangiovese grapes
in Montepulciano, in the Tuscany region.
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