“Life is made of moments, sip them slowly.”
-Aloi Luigi Giovanni
Discover our unique, hand-selected collection of wines.
Champagne, of course, is the undisputed champion of sparkling wine, but Italy’s diversity in this category cannot be brushed aside. Prosecco is not the “Italian Champagne” rather, that distinction goes to Franciacorta which has been made the same way since the 16th Century with a slight difference in grape choice. If a sparkling red is what you desire, dazzle your senses with a sweet Brachetto from Piedmont or a fresh Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna, a sure treat. Italian sparkling wine will be a very diverse, yet distinct pleasure to your palate.
These versions of Rose wine or Rosato as it is known in Italy, are examples of black grapes that can be gently pressed to allow minimal skin contact. The result? A brilliant and refreshing pink wine. Completely dry in nature with hints of fruitiness, they’re perfect as a way to begin a meal with friends on a warm day as an aperitif or to pair with lighter dishes and salads.
Often known for red wines, Italy’s northern region has a diverse offering of white wines. From the classically understood varietals of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; to more indigenous grapes like Gavi’s Cortese, Soave’s Garganega and the exotic Arneis grape from the land of Barolo and Barbaresco. The very northern reaches has more in common with Germany than what we classically associate as Italian. Aromatic grapes like Riesling, Pinot Bianco and Gewurztraminer lend a hand in creating a virtual cornucopia of options. The north has a little bit to offer for everyone’s taste.
Cortese and Arneis are Piedmont’s most well-known white varietals and they couldn’t be more different. Arneis with is smooth and round while classic Gavi has a bright, crisp tendency. The rolling hills and continental climate allow for these two grapes to flourish.
Aside from Pinot Grigio, Prosecco is probably the Veneto’s most well-known white wine. However, Soave is an Italian white wine made of Gargenega grapes grown around the medieval village of Soave and is known for its melon-and-orange-zest flavors as well as its ability to improve with age.
The comparatively small winegrowing region of Alto Adige with its unique variety has precisely the necessary character for unique wines to achieve great acclaim. In the foothills of the Alps, a blend of Italian and German culture find its way into the wines. Typically the varietals are German, but made in an Italian style. The high altitude of many vineyard sites allow for these grapes to become mineral driven and very delicate, yet complex and aromatic.
Nearly 90 percent of the wine made in Central Italy is red. After all, it is the home of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo; to name a few. Unique to Cortona within the region of Tuscany, aromatic Viognier can be made in this small hilltop town in eastern Tuscany.
Southern Italy is a major interval on the timeline that traces the history of wine. As the Greeks realized the trading potential of fermented grapes, they brought many nonnative varieties to the fertile soils of Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. Sunny southern Italy became a giant nursery. Genetic variations one generation to the next gave rise to one of the largest grape biodiversity hotspots on the planet. The influence of the climate tend to steer the white wines towards crisp and refreshing with little oak influence due to the Mediterranean climate.
The wine zones of Northern Italy cover some of the country’s most staggering diversity of terrain and culture. The glistening snow-capped peaks and harrowingly steep vineyards of Alto Adige are home to grapes with names like Müller-Thurgau and Gewürztraminer. They serve as regular reminders of this region’s long history as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. To the south and east gentle breezes from the Adriatic Sea soften the otherwise continental climate of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Their sultry and powerful red Amarone, mineral-driven white Soave and Lugana, graceful Friulano, and playful Prosecco keep the dinner tables of Venice among the world’s most elegantly appointed. And the visually stunning region of Piemonte, home to rolling green hills sitting in the dry shadow of the Alps, challenges any other location on the planet to match its breadth of wines made at the highest quality. This is the region where Barolo was once called the king of wines and wine of kings, but countless other appellations from Roero to Gavi give reason to believe that a wine-lover need never venture out of Piemonte to find a lifetime of happiness.
Piedmont – Barolo
The “King of wines” is 100% made from Nebbiolo, a late-ripening, thin-skinned, tannic grape that is best grown in the rich limestone, gypsum and marl soils found in the Langhe hills. It is aged for a minimum of 3 years (2 years in wood) and Riserva for 5. The wines are therefore not released until 4 years after the harvest. The DOCG zone comprises 11 villages: Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, Diano d’Alba, Grinzane Cavour, Monforte d’Alba, Novello, Cherasco, La Morra, Roddi and Verduno. Before a Barolo wine can be brought on the market it must have aged for at least 3 years (2 years in wooden casks and 1 in the bottle) for Barolo normale and 5 years for a riserva (3 years in wooden casks and 2 in the bottle).The wines will generally benefit from extended cellaring and the best can prove to be eternal.
Piedmont – Barbaresco
Barolo’s counterpart is Barbaresco, with Nebbiolos of equal quality but a different style. Barbaresco wines are similar in many ways to those of Barolo, but less tannic and softer; some say more elegant and “fresher.” The Barbaresco DOCG is located near Barolo, just on the other side of Alba. It is about a third of the size and contains just three communes: Barbaresco, Neive, and Treiso. It tends to be ready to drink earlier than Barolo and requires less aging prior to release. Standard Barbaresco must age for two years, including at least 9 months of wood aging. The riserva designation for Barbaresco’s best wines requires two additional years of aging.
The blend of German and Italian culture is found in the region’s wines. Trentino Pinot Nero and Lagrein are two of the easiest wines to drink in today’s marketplace. While the Trentino-Alto Adige region boasts no DOCG wines, it does produce the largest percentage of quality wine in Italy. Nearly 80% of the wine produced in the region falls under a DOC designation.
This powerhouse region does not enjoy the same singular brand recognition as Tuscany or Piedmont, but it does offer numerous combinations of microclimates, indigenous grapes and wine traditions that hold their own in spectacular fashion. Its flagship bottle, Amarone, produced near Verona, is the result of a unique blend of grapes and an indigenous winemaking process. Thanks to appassimento, the fruit loses significant water mass, resulting in distinctive power and concentration. That extracted density is also found in the other red wines of Valpolicella such as Ripasso.
The central regions of Italy are responsible for the delectable Italian wine and food most recognized throughout the world. From rich cheeses and tomato sauce to excellent wine, central Italy is a mandatory stop for traveling food and wine lovers. Among the four geographic areas of wine-making (north, central, southern, the Islands), the central region is famous for many popular wines, including Chianti.
Tuscany – Chianti
Chianti is probably the best-known and most iconic of all Italian wines. Although a wine of ancient origin, Chianti has been recognized by its geographical area only since the Middle Ages. Chianti is characterized by its red and black cherry character, intermingled with notes of wild herbs, mint and spice, supported by a racy acidity and mellow tannins. It must be aged for a minimum of four months, and for the added designation of superiore, it has to age for an additional three months before release. The label riserva indicates that the wine has been aged for at least 38 months.
Tuscany – Brunello Di Montalcino
Brunello di Montalcino is made with a local Tuscan type of Sangiovese called Brunello. It’s noted for having larger berries and, because of this, Brunello produces wines with exceptionally bold fruit flavors, high tannin, and high acidity. The fruit is a highlight to the enduring popularity of Brunello di Montalcino, but it’s the tannins and acidity that extend the life of this wine so it reaches perfection a decade or more later. It’s worth the wait.
Tuscany – Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano
The wine is named after the ancient and scenic hill-top town of Montepulciano whose soaring Renaissance architecture enlivens the landscape of southeastern Tuscany. These wines have been admired for centuries and were held in such high regard that they were reputedly reserved for the tables of Tuscan nobility, hence “Nobile” included in the name. Not to be confused with Montepulciano the grape, these wines are made with Sangiovese known locally as Prugnolo Gentile. Regulations for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano require that they must be at least 70 percent Sangiovese with up to 30 percent other indigenous red varietals such as Canaiolo and Mammolo as well as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. If anything, there is a trend towards greater reliance on Sangiovese and some premier Vino Nobile wines today are made entirely of Sangiovese.
Tuscany – “Super Tuscans”
In the 1970s, some Tuscan producers came to believe that the legal rules governing the production of Chianti were too restrictive. They coined the term “Super Tuscan” to distinguish their wines from the inexpensive, low-quality wines that were associated with the term vino da tavola. Today, most super Tuscans use the legal appellation of IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta), which gives producers more flexibility than Chianti and other Tuscan DOCs and more prestige than vino da tavola. The wines tend to be modern, big and rich.
Southern Italy is a major interval on the timeline that traces the history of wine. As the Greeks realized the trading potential of fermented grapes, they brought many nonnative varieties to the fertile soils of Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. Sunny southern Italy became a giant nursery. Genetic variations one generation to the next gave rise to one of the largest grape biodiversity hotspots on the planet.
Dessert wines come in numerous styles, and there’s certainly at least one that will please even those who assume they won’t like any sweet wines. (After all, dessert wines can be serious stuff. For example, sweet and full-bodied Sauternes is one of the most sought-after wines of Bordeaux.) Dessert wines run the gamut from light, fizzy and off-dry to dark, full-bodied and fortified with a few extra degrees of alcohol. So pair accordingly, remembering that lighter wines pair nicely with light fare, and that more substantial wines are needed with richer, more deeply flavored desserts.
You may be tempted to finish off dinner’s dry wine with dessert, but that won’t show either the wine or the dessert at its best. The dessert wine should be slightly sweeter than the dessert itself to achieve the best balance of flavors.
Bottle Aged Port
Bottle-aged Ports are Ports that are bottled when young and are then aged in the cellar in bottles with a driven cork. They mature more slowly than wines in barrel.
Barrel Aged Port
Wood-aged Ports are Ports that are aged in contact with oxygen in small seasoned oak barrels or larger seasoned oak vats.