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The Best Wines in Southern Italy

Italy is probably best known for its great northern red wines such as Chianti, Barolo, Amarone, and Valpolicella. But the south of Italy also makes some stunning wines that are well worth a try. There are five main regions of wine producing in southern Italy, Sardinia, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and of course Sicily.

This wine producing areas is one of the oldest in Europe and vines have been growing in southern Italy since the Greeks brought vines with them to this part of Italy over three thousand years ago. The climate of this part of Italy is most agreeable to the practice of viticulture as it is warm with plenty of sun.

The plains of Puglia produce the bulk of Italian table wines, but it is in the hillier regions that the best wines are made in southern Italy. From the stunning dry white wines around Naples and the equally dry reds of Sardinia.

Donnachiara Fiano Di Avellino

This top dry white wine from Campagnia is medium bodied. It is surprisingly fresh and full of citrus with lemongrass and mineral undertones. But this wine pulls a good punch as it is full-bodied with superb layering of tastes and flavors. A rich luscious wine that retains a vibrancy through it all.

Cantina Del Taburno Fiano

Yet another selection from Campagnia but this beautifully balanced wine is quite different to the first wine we reviewed. The overall flavor of this complex wine is very earthy, with hints of ash and smoke, but a definite peach overtone. The finish is long and remains on the palette to linger and titillate.

Argiolas Costera Cannonau

The first red on our list comes from Sicily and is a most intense wine indeed. The predominant overtones are spices and peppers with rich dark berry fruits. In a blind tasting this wine could be confused with a good Chateauneuf-du-Pape it is that fine. Look out for a hint of white chocolate also.

Dolia Cannonau Di Sardegna

This classic wine from Sardinia is made from the Cannonau grape that is often considered to be a clone of Grenache. So, you know what sort of flavors to expect. The wine has plenty of fruit packed into it, notably black berries, and it is extremely well balanced with a perfectly smooth finish on the palette. 

Palmalias Vermentino

Hailing from Sardinia this intense white has a powerful bouquet with clean and crisp citrus aromas such as grapefruit. There are also background hints of crusty bread and spices. This wine would be a perfect accompaniment to fish and seafood dishes and would most probably make an ideal aperitif as well.

Dolia Vermentino Di Sardegna

Our last wine in our top list of southern Italian wines comes once again from Sardinia. For those people that like their white wines crisp with citrus overtones this wine ticks all the boxes. The aroma is very floral and the overall taste on the palette is almost creamy which makes it great for grilled prawns, lobster or broiled fish.

The Best Wines of Northern Italy

Italy is the world’s biggest wine producer and grows in particular the trebbiano grape which tends to return high yields. Although it produces the most bottles of wine per year than any other country, Italian wine producing does not concentrate on large corporate wineries.

Italy turns its attention to making quality wines that come from small regional vineyards and wineries. And that is one of the great beauties of taking a wine tour in Italy as there is so much choice. There are six main wine growing areas of Italy and some of the very best Italian wines are produced in the north of the country where the climate is a little cooler. Perhaps the two best northern wine producing areas are Veneto and Piedmont, although there are some other great areas producing top quality wine. Among the best wines of northern Italy are:

Soave Borgoletto

Soave is a white wine made from the Garganega grape and is decidedly a light, crisp and refreshing wine that is excellent with fish and white meats. This particular soave is a classic dry white wine that is un-oaked, it is also full of aromatic flavors that are quite gentle, almost flowery.  

Valpolicella Classico La Corte del Pozzo

Valpolicella is one of northern Italy’s classic wines, it is famous all over the world for its subtle fruit flavors and robust finish. It is made in the Verona region which is mostly hilly and agricultural and mostly contains three grape varieties, Molinara, Rondinella, and Corvina Veronese. This particular Valpolicella is a mature wine, that has distinct cherry flavors with plenty of red fruit and berry overtones.

Amarone La Corte del Pozzo

Amarone literally translated means great bitter, and this is greatly misleading as most Amarone’s are far from bitter. They are rounded well developed wines that are really one step up on the taste scale to Valpolicella.  This particular Amarone is a powerfully tasting wine with strong overtones of blackcurrent, liquorice and spices. Really a delightful strong wine that is great for drinking with red meats and strong cheeses.

Fontanafredda Barolo

Barolo is a king among the red wines of the world, produced in Piedmont the wine is produced from the Nebbiolo grape which is high in tannins and acids and perfect for making strong red wines. There are no blends in Barolo, only 100% Nebbiolo grapes are used.

Barolo is Italy’s version of the great Pinot Noirs of France due to its bright acidity and color. The common aromas of Barolo feature dried herbs and rose flowers, with a distinct hint of tar. Top Barolos such as Fontanafredda have to be aged for a minimum of three years, one in the bottle and two in the oak barrel. Every true Barolo has to be a minimum of thirteen percent alcohol content. 

Chianti

No summary of the great wines of northern Italy would be complete without mentioning Chianti, and the original squat bottle wrapped in straw is one of the most famous in the world. Good Chianti’s are superb and can match any robust red wine made on the planet.